Monday, September 17, 2007


Robin Mathews: Notes from the Courtroom today

Notes from Courtroom 74: the corrupt sale of B.C. Rail - court actions.

Proceedings began at nine a.m. - on a soft, sun-touched Vancouver autumn morning. Assembled for the deliberations on the lofty seventh floor were, in the court, eight lawyers, a clerk, and Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. In the gallery were probably four people (and a bulky sheriff, probably there to protect us all - but not, obviously, from Gordon Campbell). Such has been the success of "non-reporting, non-coverage, and failure to place the enormously important issues before the British Columbia people by the private corporate press and media of Canada" the gathering was smaller than a country tea party. More about that farther on....

The short session dealt with an update of information about the process of narrowing the needs of Defence for materials and pursuing search through the famous drug investigation cabinets ("We're at drawer 6 of 7 drawers" a voice reported electronically from a cybernetic box on the table, "and we should have the review complete in ten days"). The lawyer in charge of extracting materials from the legislature actors, Mr Copley, always unctuous, always deferential, reported categories of privilege and work going ahead...slowly.

Mr. Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor, surprised the assembly by announcing that material he had expected to have available was taking longer to assemble than he had at first believed....

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett entered the courtroom newly coiffed, looking younger than last time, and relaxed. She affirmed at a point in the deliberations - dealing with scheduling - that this case has to proceed! Some of us vaguely remember her saying that in 2006...or was it 2005?

Scheduling occupied some time. Racing to conclusion, the next gathering will be October 26. After that the parties will assemble again on December 3. Beginning on March 17 of next year, some time will be taken up hearing the Charter Challenge by the Defence, alleging wire-tapping that infringed the Charter rights of its clients, and other such invasions of fundamental freedoms. When that is over, the trial (if any basis for trial remains) will proceed at a date as yet not announced.

We have, some of us, berated Kirk LaPointe, managing editor of the Vancouver Sun, for writing to BCMary that the Sun wasn't covering (last session) because there was no news and it was summer and ...and...and. The Sun (and CanWest publications in general) have done a shoddy job, short-changing the B.C. public on the issue while stuffing pages with every brainless, salacious, non-news item possible. But perhaps we should be more humane. Followers of the stock market world will have observed that shares in the CanWest Propaganda Chain have been tumbling, and tumbling ... and tumbling - probably an indication of the high quality and integrity of the operation. One might imagine (in the famously staff-cutting CanWest operation) Kirk LaPointe sitting, alone, in a tiny cubicle, anxiously scanning the Semiamoo Sun and the Lion's Bay Chronicle for news to stuff into the British Columbia's Leading Newspaper, and too afraid of reality to venture out to Vancouver's Law Courts.

Indeed, absence from reality seems to mark the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter. If the functionaries in the courtroom are not complacent, they are so occupied with the limited scope of their own part in the intricately constructed world built to prevent justice being done that they increasingly forget where reality is. Reality is the corrupt sale of an invaluable asset owned by all British Columbians in a secret, clandestine, and possibly criminal way. Reality is a shadowy circle of actors who may be criminally involved in matters relating to that sale (and to other matters), and who are never mentioned, and who have not (of course) been charged. Reality is a judge who has never (in my memory) placed a deadline date on a demand for disclosure information, and who repeats the mantra that "this case has to proceed" rather like a character out of Alice in Wonderland.

On this soft, sun-touched Vancouver morning, I couldn't help thinking of 1905, St. Petersburg in Russia, and the Winter Palace. The Czar heard mutterings about a need for justice. The legal community and the judges continued in their comfortable suffocating way, believing nothing need change in this best of all possible worlds - in which they were - were they not? - delivering justice. Outside their offices many thousands marched to the Winter Palace to ask for justice. They were mowed down in hundreds. And what we know now as the move to the Russian Revolution began to take shape.

Justice delayed, they say, is justice denied. Does anything more need to be said?


Many, many thanks, Robin. At first, I didn't know whether to laugh or weep. Well, OK, at first, I did laugh as you described these speedy, meticulous proceedings. But then, omg, the sadness of it struck. The tragedy, really. So much is at risk here. Don't they understand? So, as you say, racing right along:

The next gathering in Supreme Court: 26 October 2007
The parties re-assemble: 3 Decembr 2007
The Charter Challenge: 17 March 2008
And as for the trial date, well, it's T.B.A. Let's hope.

- BC Mary.


I would most humbly suggest that, based on the ridiculously detailed updates we get of the Pickton trial, that the fact that 'the' Special Prosecutor actually showed up in court was, in and of itself, news.

Regarding the timing,and I know that I'm stepping over the non-partisan line there, there could be silver lining given the fact that we are moving ever closer to the spring of 2009.

Robin thank you for the update and Mary thank you for the posting.

Good of old Bill to show up and delay this trial yet again because "material is taking longer to assemble..."

What a joke. Get the RCMP and the Special Prosecutor to work overtime! The public demands that the comply with the court decision from June. It is now more than 3 months since her decision. Why did the Prosecution team not work over the summer to produce the disclosure? Why do documents that are in the possession of the RCMP and Crown take so long to disclose?
"Mr. Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor, surprised the assembly "

by actually showing up, and proving that he exists. Or was he a hologram and his

"voice reported electronically from a cybernetic box on the table,"

I mean, come on now, what's with that?

I loved the image of Pointy sitting in a cubicle poring over small papers looking for news. (Does he chew the heads off small animals while he reads, oh no, that's KKKarl Rove). In actual fact he was probably seeing who placed advertising in them so he could dispatch his own salesmen grab the advertising.

Old Pointy is so "outspoken" on what he believes IS the news and how it should be presented, that the old kootcoot might well have to devote a whole posting to "Journalism: According to Pointy"

Of course I will have to base it on materials in the public domain as Pointy would never grant an interview or even answer e-mail from someone called KootCoot! But I can easily compose a posting of public foot in mouth displays by his editorship. Indeed editing for brevity will be the challenge.

And if you are lowering yourself to read this Kirk, remember if I do, all quotes are for the purpose of "criticism." Indeed that is the only reason to discuss you or your ragship paper. It unlikely to be recommending something to someone to read.
Wonderful depressing stuff Robin...what can one say?

That even one of the mainstream (perhaps gutter-snipe would be more appropriate) should find the courage to write as thoughtfully about this farce would be an occasion for mild rejoicing. As it is, pretty much nothing to do but cry something obscene and throw objects at the dumb, unfeeling wall.

Thanks mary.
What about the Agricultural Land Reserve Trial, where Basi was alleged to have accepted a 50,000 bribe from two developers. I heard it was supposed to begin in September. Has there been any progess on that front?

I agree with Cuddles. The ALR issue is in my opinion of far more concern to the people of BC. It perhaps does not have the same Liberal bashing potential, but the thought that developers can bribe land out of the ALR impacts me more directly.
Anons 5:12 & 7:02 ...

Wasn't that A.L.R. issue folded into the current Case #23299 proceedings? Same process, on the face of things, it seems. When I get time, I'll try to track that down.

Also, wasn't Cuddles the faithful dog of Sergent Renfrew in their office on the umpteenth floor of Mountie Hq??
It was said in the courtroom back in June that the ALR trial would begin in September on the Island. What is interesting is that at the time the alleged bribes happened, Joyce Murray was the minister of land protection and Jamie Elmhirst was her special assistant. Does anyone know when exactly Elmhirst left his role as ministerial assistant and went to work for Pilothouse?

Looks like we'd better start checking the Supreme Court Criminal Listings for Victoria, too.

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