Saturday, November 17, 2007

 

Lawyers tussle over evidence disclosure

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LAWYERS IN LEGISLATIVE RAID CASE TUSSLE OVER EVIDENCE DISCLOSURE

Canadian Press
19 hours ago

VANCOUVER - Lawyers keep wrangling in B.C. Supreme Court over disclosure of evidence in the massively complex corruption case stemming from a raid on the B.C. legislature four years ago.

"There are some monumental disclosure problems," defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told Justice Elizabeth Bennett in a hearing Friday.

But special prosecutor Bill Berardino rejected McCullough's complaints the Crown was dumping thousands of documents on the defence without an easy way to sort through them while not disclosing other relevant files. {Snip} ...

McCullough represents Bobby Virk, who along with Dave Basi is charged with fraud and breach of trust related to the privatization of Crown-owned BC Rail.

The two were ministerial aides when the provincial Liberal government sold everything but the railway's right-of-way to CN Rail in 2003.

Police raided the men's legislature offices in December 2003, about a month after the $1-billion deal closed, carting away boxes of documents.

Disclosure has been a sore point with both McCullough and Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton.

This week, McCullough sent Berardino a letter detailing what he said were the Crown's shortcomings and demanding what the prosecutor said was a huge list of items.

Berardino said he will address the demands in the letter at a hearing scheduled for next Friday.

The case is expected to go to trial early next year, with three weeks of pre-trial motions scheduled to start Dec. 3.

Bolton said he is still sorting through 25,000 pages of documents disclosed Oct. 3 from an overlapping drug investigation.

There are also 800 pages of wiretap logs and Bolton said the defence got thousands more pages on Wednesday. They include an e-mail account belonging to Eric Bornmann, a lobbyist for failed bidder OmniTRAX, who has admitted bribing Virk and Basi but is apparently co-operating with the Crown.

"It's important material," said Bolton. "He's a central witness in this thing."

A package of several thousand pages from a government proceeds-of-crime investigation has also come as a surprise, Bolton said.

"That's new material," he said.

McCullough said the defence is only just finding out about several other RCMP files, including one known as the headquarters file, another on legal applications and one know as Special I (intelligence).

"We are still reliant on the RCMP on what is supplied and not supplied," he said.

Bennett, who has expressed frustration at the pace of the case, ruled earlier this year there was a substantial failure by police and the Crown to disclose evidence.

The defence said last month it planned to file an abuse-of-process motion that could derail the case altogether on grounds the delays have violated the accused men's constitutional right to a speedy trial.


Once again, thanks to Bill Tieleman who forwarded this CP story to me (which, to this time, I've been unable to find). - BC Mary.
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November 16, noted in passing. It was 122 years ago, 1885, that they hung Louis Riel.

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Comments:
From the CP article:

"McCullough said the defence is only just finding out about several other RCMP files, including one known as the headquarters file, another on legal applications and one know(n) as Special I (intelligence)."

Are we using the word "special" here the way we used to apply it to mentally challenged children by referring to them as "special." Just saying..........

As to the mention of Louis Riel, it just goes to show that Canadian state sanctioned murder has been going on for well over 100 years and as events at YVR the other day demonstrate, the practice is alive and well today as is land theft, especially from indigenous or part indigenous folks! Today of course farm land and forest land is in the cross hairs of greed as well, even when it is "owned" by white folk!
 
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