Thursday, July 26, 2007

 

Five days in December 2003

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On December 11, 2003, Bill Berardino was appointed Special Prosecutor. His instructions were to oversee the case of Victoria Police Constable Ravinder Dosanjh charged with obstruction of justice (later found guilty), and to look into some issues surrounding appointees at the B.C. Legislature.

That point needs to be emphasized: some issues surrounding appointees at the B.C. Legislature.

This was 16 days after the B.C. government completed its controversial sale of B.C. Rail on 25 November 2003 amid allegations by CPRail that the bidding process was unfair. Another bidder, OmniTRAX, had also complained. The 4th bidder had dropped out much earlier in the process. And there were only 4 bidders. Quite the auction.

The public was mostly opposed to the sale, particularly in the northern areas dependent upon B.C. Rail for timely shipment of their products. In fact, many believed that the premier had won his election on his promise never to sell B.C. Rail. Tensions ran high.

Geoff Plant, then Attorney General, was told on December 1, 2003 that a case was coming up, requiring a special prosecutor and possibly would also involve a search of the B.C. Legislature.

This seems important: five days after the sale of B.C. Rail, the outline of a special case requiring police investigation was known to concern people inside the Legislature.

Eleven days later, the Attorney General appointed Bill Berardino as Special Prosecutor on that special case.

William S. Berardino was once a law partner of Geoff Plant. Bill was actually appointed, though, by Robert Gillen, Plant's assistant deputy, so that makes it all right. Or does it?

Was Bill the best choice for such a delicate yet deeply significant investigation? Wouldn't we want an Eddie Greenspan? Maybe even a James Bond? Or both?

However, we got Bill Berardino and he was on the job (we assume he was on the job) mere days after that controversial deal was signed. He must've heard the chorus of complaints, allegations and public protests. But Bill sees nothing. Bill hears nothing. And by gosh, Bill tells us nothing.

In fact, British Columbians should bear in mind that Bill's specialty is mediation. Not trials, not criminal actions: mediation. Making nice. Making it so that everybody goes home happy.

In Case #VA23299 this could mean that if somebody doesn't yank Bill's chain hard, soon, he and his team just might go home happy, as might all the witnesses, and certainly the Accused. But not so much, the voiceless general public, still waiting to hear the evidence under oath, as to what happened to B.C. Rail.

So, tell me again, why is it that people are trying to heap the blame on the RCMP for delaying this case?

- BC Mary
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Comments:
I think the problem with blaming the RCMP comes from visibility. People need someone to blame and if Berardino is invisible the next on the list is the RCMP.
The problem here is that the Cops only feed their info to the prosecution. It is the prosecutor who decides what chaff is separated from the wheat. And let's not forget that the Special Prosecutor take his direction from the Assistan Deputy Attorney General, and on up the ladder.

So I would suggest that people who want to blame the RCMP take a longer look at the government that has the means to manipulate these hearings. And let's hope that a public or judicial inquiry is forthcoming. The sooner the better.
 
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Thanks, gary e:

While searching for something else recently, I came upon this gem:

January 11/04 (14 days after the raids on the Legislature), Carole James called for a Public Inquiry on (get this) "Police raids and related matters".

Haven't had time to check whether this was a call from the floor of the Legislature ... and if so, what was the response.

And before anybody says "Yeah but ..." my view is that FIRST we get the Inquiry, THEN we fight the suppression of the findings.

Or, perhaps by then B.C. will have had a change of government more willing to be "open and transparent". (I hope too that a new government would swiftly release the findings of the Nanaimo Bingo Inquiry.)

Always great to hear from you, Gary.

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Maybe you should read the judge's decision and that will answer your question. It seems as clear as daylight to me. The judge repeatedly blames the rcmp for not providing documents.
While you are at it please explain the blatant debruyckere conflict (which the judge mentions in great length) in PARAGRAPH 49.
You may then want to explain the document marked "NOT FOR DISCLOSURE" Paragraph 51.
After that maybe you could then tell us why, when we have a special prosecutor, would the rcmp be communicating directly with campbell and his cronies when they are supposedly being investigated for their role in the sale of bc rail (or were they being investigated, sorry only the team leader debruyckere was under this impression PARAGRAPH 50.
Then there is the fact that notes from the now infamous "Bud Bishop" suddenly appeared out of nowhere after a witness stepped forward complaining his concerns were never adequately followed up by - you guessed it - the rcmp. And what happened when these notes "suddenly" appeared, they turned out to be a treasue trove (bill tieleman's words) of information about the bc rail deal and concerns expressed by private citizens who had taken the time to call cabinet ministers PARAGRAPH 34/36.
Then hopefully somebody could tell us why the rcmp would brief the solicitor general coleman and his deputy in october 2003, if you have a special proseuctor why are you talking to the solicitor general about an investigation involving HIS government - hmmmm very interesting way to go about it PARAGRAPH 47/48.
Then there is the fact one of the key investigators bought a house from basi, something which appears to have been mired in controversy PARAGRAPH 52.
Paragraph 26 of the judges decision "material in the possession of the police is deemed to be in the possession of the crown". This is the theory, the rcmp are required by law to turn everything over to the prosecutor. The problem, as the judge has ruled, occurs when the police (rcmp) decide to become the gatekeepers and make decisions on what they will hand over and what they will withhold by marking it NOT FOR DISCLOSURE Paragraph 51.

"There has been a substantial failure to respect the disclosure rights of the accused in this case" PARAGRAPH 28. The says it all. WE, meaning the public, have a right to all this information.

The fault lies entirely with the rcmp. The judges decision was harshly worded and very broad.

I can't wait for the next court appearance and a report from bill tieleman. thats when we will found out how many documents were withheld and what they contained.

Its interesting how much clarity a judges decision can bring to an issue as murky as this. Are you listening debruyckere, its time to make the phone call to your boss campbell and tell him its over, you can't protect him anymore.
 
Many thanks again, John.

But still ... where there's conflict between the police and the Crown ... who is in charge? That's the point which still isn't clear to me.

I think there's a clear answer to another point you made: "why the rcmp would brief the solicitor general coleman and his deputy in october 2003, if you have a special proseuctor why are you talking to the solicitor general about an investigation involving HIS government - hmmmm very interesting way to go about it PARAGRAPH 47/48."

As I read the situation, there was no special prosecutor in October 2003 ... and the Solicitor General was the logical person to seek out, wouldn't you say? Isn't he nominal head of the B.C. police?

but ... BUT ... the main point seems to be that the Coleman meeting strengthens the point of view that it was known even then (before the BCRail deal was finalized) that the deal might very well have been tainted by someone working within the legislature itself, therefore flawed.

I'd say that's one good place to look for evidence that the BC Rail deal should never have been finalized, eh?

It would help me a lot if I could attend some of the Basi-Virk sessions in Supreme Court, I'd like so much to see the interaction when the Prosecution stirs itself, and when the RCMP is there, with their notes. Who hesitates? Who turns purple?

I wish Judge Bennett would order cameras into the courtroom, to serve the public interest, especially the people who live along the northern routes of the old B.C. Rail and have been impacted by the changes.

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"So, tell me again, why is it that people are trying to heap the blame on the RCMP for delaying this case?"

I'm kinda EPU'ed here (a firedoglake term for coming late to a thread) but:

I'm not trying to heap blame on the RCMP for "delaying" the case.

However, I do blame individual RCMP officers (some of whom may have been pictured here at TLR) for diverting the investigation,illegally alerting suspects, avoiding obvious suspects and burying evidence that might implicate relatives, in-laws or the BC LiEberals.

I also blame Justice Dohm for keeping the bulk of the information for the warrant sealed apparently in the interests of the current criminal organization being re-elected as government of BC.

Justice Bennett is sitting on the edge and will be judged by how much of this obfuscation and out-right obstruction of justice she continues to allow, or hopefully by the way she forces open the doors of the hidden players and lets the sunshine illuminate the crimes.

Bill Berardino is a cipher too, is he the special pros. or not? Or is he in an unspecified location manipulating behind the scenes like Darth Cheney? Or is he spending his time on the beach while his underlings deal with the case and rare court appearances?

This whole trial becomes more of a joke everyday and the trains just keep running off the tracks and/or blowing up. We need our own Gitmo, located on an island off the north coast for Gordo the Greedy, Norm the Developer, Colin the Sneer, Abbott the BobbleHead, Barry Penner the Minister in charge of disposing of industrial waste, Ding-Dong deJong, the CEO's of CN, Kinder-Morgan, Accenture and so many more. Make it big to accomodate many, many crooks. This is BC and Crooks 'R Us!
 
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