Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Getting to know you ...
Today: William S. Berardino, Special Prosecutor and his team.
Bill Berardino was appointed as Special Prosecutor on Dec. 11, 2003 at the request of the RCMP to the criminal justice branch. Special prosecutors are appointed in cases where there is a significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice, the Attorney General Geoff Plant said.
Bill Berardino is a member of the Hunter Litigation Chambers established in 2006 as a "litigation boutique" (14 members) formed by the merger of Berardino and Harris with Hunter Voith Litigation Counsel which practices in the following areas of law: Civil and Criminal Litigation, Arbitration and Administrative Law. The firm practices exclusively in the field of litigation and dispute resolution. [From Canada.lawyers.com]
W. S. Berardino, Q.C. was born Vancouver, British Columbia,
July 29, 1940; admitted to bar, 1966, British Columbia; 1987, Yukon Territory.
Education: University of British Columbia (B.A., 1962; LL.B., 1965). Member, British Columbia Law Reform Committee. Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers. Practice Areas: Appellate Practice; Class Actions; Litigation; Product Liability; Professional Liability; Mediation; Criminal. Email: W. S. Berardino, Q.C.
Also on the Basi Virk Basi Prosecution Team: Andrea N. MacKay (Associate) born Vancouver, British Columbia, May 8, 1975; admitted to bar, 2000, British Columbia. Education: University of British Columbia (LL.B., 1999). Practice Areas: Appellate Practice; Class Actions; Litigation; Product Liability; Professional Liability; Mediation; Criminal. Email: Andrea N. MacKay
And: David C. Harris
Senior commercial barrister with Hunter Litigation Chambers, best known for acting for tobacco companies when they were sued by B.C. Government (Prosecution led by Tom Berger). David Harris is a graduate of Oxford University (Ph.D.) and UBC law. He practised 13 years with Russell & DuMoulin before forming the "litigation boutique" of Berardino & Harris in 2000 now called Hunter Litigation Chambers. Harris is also director of European business development for Russell/DuMoulin with expansion plans that will encompass Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Hard to believe one person can do all this and give attention to Basi, Virk, Basi, BCRail but see for yourself at: http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/PersonDetail.aspx?PersonID=87923187&QueryID=cf11c756-acaa-4499-823a-eabc36684692
And: David St Pierre who, before becoming a respected trial lawyer, was a high school football and basketball star, musician (recording, performing and touring with the likes of the Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Wailers, Buju Banton and more) and actor.
David St. Pierre attended Law School at the University of Calgary. He was fortunate to be among the last class to be allowed to specialize in Criminal Law (he spent an entire semester in an intensive criminal law practicum program).
Upon graduation Mr. St. Pierre articled in Vancouver with an accomplished criminal defence lawyer. In 1998 he joined the firm of Cobb & Co. (now Cobb St. Pierre Lewis), working closely with senior counsel, Neil Cobb and defending hundreds of accused persons against the allegations made against them. He has a keen interest in the law relating to search and seizure, drugs and driving.
Mr. St. Pierre defends people charged with all kinds of offences, such as extradition matters, property and currency seizures and money laundering allegations.
And: Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham, who Bill Tieleman described as "taking the lead for senior Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino, who is inexplicably absent from the entire hearing to date, gave for the first time a detailed accounting of what documents the Crown says were leaked by Basi and Virk to Bornmann and Kieran of Pilothouse Public Affairs, the lobby firm retained by OmniTRAX for nearly $300,000.
"Basi and Virk provided Mr. Bornmann with information from May 2002 to December 2003," Winteringham began and then outlined what else RCMP say they found and where.
It may be that early legal arguments will centre upon the Bornmann testimony when defence lawyers allege that the Crown has deliberately refused to disclose details of a secret immunity agreement with key Crown witness Erik Bornmann.
The lawyer for Virk, alleged in BC Supreme Court that Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino actually cancelled an immunity deal with Bornmann after the former provincial lobbyist implicated in the BC Rail deal told media he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the RCMP and Special Prosecutor.
But McCullough says that ultimately the deal was not terminated and alleged that both the RCMP and the Special Prosecutor allowed Bornmann to falsely claim he had been exonerated in order to continue his highly-paid business lobbying the Gordon Campbell government for corporate clients. McCullough alleged that Bornmann's statement to media that he had been exonerated was false.
"Mr. Bornmann had bribed public officials, had made submissions that he had committed criminal offences," McCullough alleged ... also that the Special Prosecutor had been "stonewalling" all defence requests for details about the deal, why it was apparently cancelled in a phone message to Bornmann's lawyer and why despite knowing Bornmann had not been cleared neither the RCMP nor Berardino corrected the record.
"When the Special Prosecutor chose to cut the immunity deal with Mr. Bornmann they were obligated to disclose the details," McCullough said. "It's an absolute stonewall to providing that information."
On Tuesday in court Janet Winteringham, Berardino's associate, had objected to McCullough's characterization of Berardino's conduct in the case, saying it amounted to an allegation of "prosecutorial misconduct."
So ... sparks may fly in this area of the Basi, Virk, Basi trial and if the missing Bill Berardino doesn't reappear in Courtroom 54 when the hearings resume, it will likely be Ms Winteringham who leads off for the Crown.
Meantime, it's interesting to note where and how Bill Berardino entered into the Basi Virk Basi scene right from the beginning - and before the beginning:
CBC News Online | September 14, 2004
On Dec. 28, 2003, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Victoria police raided two offices in the British Columbia legislature.
Police said little about the investigation at the time of the raid, only that it was based on information uncovered during a probe of the drug trade and organized crime.
The warrants the police used to raid the legislature were sealed and media lawyers, including those representing the CBC, applied to have them unsealed.
In March 2004, a B.C. judge released a summary of the sealed warrants, which said the police were investigating a possible breach of trust in the sale of B.C. Rail.
No charges have been laid in connection with the raids.
June 5, 2001 - A month after the Liberals sweep the B.C. provincial election, David Basi is named ministerial assistant to Finance Minister Gary Collins. Bob Virk becomes ministerial assistant to Transportation Minister Judith Reid.
April 2002 - RCMP and Victoria police launch a joint investigation involving schemes to trade B.C. marijuana for cocaine. The investigation also looks into organized crime and possible police corruption.
March 2003 - David Basi buys a house in Shawingan Lake, B.C., as a rental property.
Fall 2003 - Nine people are arrested in Victoria, Vancouver and Toronto as part of a 20-month investigation into drugs and organized crime. No one is formally charged.
Dec. 1, 2003 - B. C. Attorney General Geoff Plant is told by his staff that a case requires the appointment of a special prosecutor and may involve a search of the B.C. legislature.
Dec. 7, 2003 - Mandeep Sandhu is elected to the executive of the Liberals in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.
Dec. 9, 2003 - Police raid Mandeep Sandhu's home in Saanich. Police question Sandhu and seize a computer. Sandhu is later released. No charges are laid.
Dec. 11, 2003 - William Berardino is appointed special prosecutor to oversee an investigation involving a member of the Victoria police and appointees at the legislature.
Dec. 15, 2003 - Constable Ravinder Dosanjh is suspended with pay by Victoria police in connection with an ongoing investigation. Police Chief Paul Battershill later says the suspension is connected to a drug investigation and the raids at the legislature.
Dec. 27, 2003 - B.C. Solicitor General Rich Coleman calls Premier Gordon Campbell, who is on vacation in Hawaii, to tell the premier to expect an important call in the next days. Coleman says later he did not give Campbell any details.
Dec. 28, 2003 - RCMP and Victoria police execute nine search warrants at seven locations across the province, including two offices in the B.C. legislature.
Isn't it interesting that the Solicitor General's Asst. Deputy Min. was also on the hot line to RCMP Asst. Dep. Comm. Gary Bass, according to pretrial evidence?
As I recall these marching orders from someone - somewhere (hint: hulas, mai tais etc) through the good offices of the Solicitor General, directly to RCMP Bass - were to COOL the HOT investigation into Collins, who just happened to be in Hawaii with Campbell at that time. Cozy little huddle . . .
Lets see was he referring to things like the lead investigator debruyckere being related to a senior official in the bc liberal party who is then funneling information to campbell, and like the solicitor general who told the rcmp not to go and interview collins in hawaii because he might reveal some cabinet confidence.
Do you think these are the types of conflicts the special prosecutor was appointed to prevent?? Boy old bill is doing such a great job. I can see why gary collins, as the judge stated went from being a person under suspicion to "disappearing" into thin air as a suspect in December 2003. If old bill is reading this I just want to thank him for his efforts to ensure this investigation was tainted in any way shape or form. If I didn't know any better I would think the rcmp targetted the low hanging fruit and protected their masters and decided to give immunity to a "self confessed briber of public officials" to save their own hides. Nah, this would never happen with the rcmp!! Thats like saying an innocent person could be shot in the back of the head while in rcmp custody!! Or the house of a sitting premier raided with cameras in tow. This would never happen, never!