Monday, December 10, 2007

 

Basi-Virk-Basi-BC Rail Hearing confirmed for today, December 10, at 10:00 AM

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Case #23299 - 7 is shown: "Limited Access & others vs. HMTQ" and the following explanation is repeated, in total, 3 times:

"Application made by G. Copley for an order allowing Louis C. Webster, defence, access to records that are responsive to their requests under the Freedom of Protection and Protection of Privacy Act that are within the custody and control of a public body notwithstanding that those records contain personal information." - from BC Supreme Court Listings, accessible by clicking "Van Court - Direct" in the left margin of this web-site.

There's no hint whether or not the hearing may be in camera (secret) and closed to the public.

1:00 PM Update:

Supreme Court Listing for today has suddenly changed to 9 pages for Case #23299 for Aneal Basi, Udhe Basi, and Bobby S. Singh where the usual charges are set out again, with the George Copley Applications added at the end.

Still no indication whether the Hearing is closed (secret).

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For a further bit of mystery, citizens are advised to have a look at today's story at The Tyee.ca which tells us that the wily old fox, Bill Berardino, our Special Prosecutor in the BCRail Case, is also acting on behalf of Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver, concerning comments which have and/or haven't happened (i.e., possible defamation) in Vancouver City Council.

Citizens of British Columbia will have their work cut out for them today, if we want to stay in focus on the BC Rail Case. There's not just the Bill Berardino story (preview below). There's also the Vancouver Sun having a Pickton orgy. There's Conrad Black coming up for sentencing. There's the Mulroney-Schreiber Show.

And, oh yes, there's a pre-trial Hearing for Basi-Virk-Basi / BC Rail, too.

Bill Tieleman and Robin Mathews are on the job. Maybe CP too. Ttyl.

- BC Mary.

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More about Bill Berardino's other job:

Mayor Sam Says He Was Defamed

Sullivan's lawyer sent accusatory letter to councillor opponent.

By Monte Paulsen
The Tyee - Published: December 10, 2007


TheTyee.ca

A private lawyer writing on behalf of Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan has accused City Coun. Raymond Louie of making "untrue and defamatory" statements, and warned the opposition councillor to "be cognizant of" the mayor's view on such statements in the future.

The ambiguous letter neither cites which statements Mayor Sullivan regards as defamatory, nor threatens legal action.

Mayor Sullivan did not respond to The Tyee's questions about this letter over the weekend.

Coun. Louie said: "The letter is not asking for an apology. And I am not offering one."

B.C. Civil Liberties Association president Jason Gratl warned that such letters could have a chilling effect on future debate at Vancouver City Hall.

"Sending letters of this type is an unfortunate attempt to stifle public debate on an issue of public interest," Gratl said. "Trying to limit public discussion and criticism on election financing issues by sending out such messages is inappropriate in a democracy."

'Defamatory and untrue statements'

"I have been asked to write on behalf of Mayor Sam Sullivan," begins the Nov. 21 letter from William S. Berardino, Q.C., of Hunter Litigation Chambers .

Berardino states that he reviewed "materials" including an October media appearance by Louie and other city councillors, and a Vision Vancouver press release in which Louie was not quoted.

"There are in those materials a number of statements which are not only untrue but are defamatory of Mayor Sam Sullivan," Berardino asserts.

The "materials" cited contain more than 6,000 words, and are generally critical of Mayor Sullivan's fundraising practices. Berardino's letter does not specify which statements he regards as untrue or defamatory.

"I have been instructed to advise that although Mayor Sullivan does not propose to commence a court action at this time, nor does he even seek an apology, although one certainly should be forthcoming, his position on this matters [sic] is as follows," Bernardino continues.

"Criticism and constructive debate on issues of public importance should be encouraged," Berardino continues. "Defamatory and untrue statements should have no part in such legitimate debate. The Mayor hopes and trusts in the coming months you will not only share these views but will also be cognizant of them." {Snip} ...

Full story at http://thetyee.ca/News/2007/12/10/MayorSamDefamed/

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Comments:
So George Copley's back in court...on the face of this it looks like he's being cooperative relative to privacy issues.

I'd guess this pertains to government documents that contain personal information about 'individuals' and the disclosure thereof.

Webster - on the other hand, is a 'new' name to me - Is he with one of the defence 'teams'?
 
Let us not forget that Mayor Sam hired Geoff Plant to do the civil city project as well. Having Bill on the team is keeping with the hiring practices of Sam's friends.

Geoff Plant and Bill Berardino are former law partners.
 
Hmmmm......

Wonder if Mr. B. was writing Smilin' Sammy's letter while the Junior was invoking that infamous Section 37 in Studio 54 last week?

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A never-ending script. A small group of characters with recurring roles.

And speaking of studios -

Somehow the old Hollywood days of "studio monopolies" and "contract players" come to mind.

As a contract player they owned you. The upside was you got to play so many parts in so many productions...both supporting and major roles....for much moolah.

What we need to find out is who is directing and producing this shameless performance.
 
In other news, the in camera hearings are suspended and the remaining 9 court dates will be open to the public.
 
Mary,

The government is continuing to withold information about the conduct of the Campbell appointed cabinet!

Here is the CP Wire story from today.

Lawyers for government aides in legislature case want access to seized documents

VANCOUVER - Lawyers for two former government aides want access to documents police seized from their clients' legislature offices, saying important information involving former finance minister Gary Collins's involvement in the sale of B.C. Rail is needed to mount a defence.

Michael Bolton, who represents Dave Basi, told B.C. Supreme Court on Monday that crucial information about Collins approving a consolation prize for American company OmniTRAX to stay in the bidding process is relevant to the case.

Police raided Basi's and Virk's offices on Dec. 28, 2003, about a month after the provincial government completed the $1-billion privatization sale of Crown-owned B.C. Rail, which was bought by CN Rail.

Basi was then an aide to Collins and his co-accused, Bobby Virk, worked for then-transportation minister Judith Reid.

Bolton said the boxes of documents police carted away contain information pertaining to numerous phone calls on Nov. 17, 2003, in which Basi confirmed to Virk that Collins had dangled future opportunities for OmniTRAX to do business with the B.C. government if the company stayed in the bidding process.

"It's not just Mr. Basi talking but there was a high level of awareness and acknowledgment of this consolation prize issue," Bolton said.

But George Copley, a lawyer for the executive branch of the government, said the documents seized by police should be protected by solicitor-client privilege and can't be released to defence lawyers.

He said they include advice from lawyers and bankers on the sale of B.C. Rail and are therefore confidential.

Basi and Virk face fraud and breach of trust charges related to the B.C. Rail deal, while government communications officer Aneal Basi, Dave Basi's cousin, is charged with money laundering in connection with the case.

Bolton said he doesn't want the government to hide behind the shield of solicitor-client privilege because there is no basis for it.

"When the merits of the case come to be tried you will, of course, be hearing from a variety of witnesses, including Gary Collins," he said.

Collins has denied any wrongdoing in the railway deal.

Kevin McCullough, who represents Virk, said 17 documents from his client's office were seized, including 14 e-mails.

He said the documents pertain to issues involving political conflict that are important to the case.

For example, the government appointed a board member to the B.C. Investment Management Corp., which provides professional funds management services for public bodies and publicly administered trust funds, while the member was also on the B.C. Rail evaluation committee.

McCullough said another potential conflict includes Collins knowing that Basi and Virk went to Denver, Colo., - where OmniTRAX is based - six months before the B.C. Rail bid started and yet he appointed the two men to work on the B.C. Rail team.

Court also heard Monday that defence lawyers have nominated a Victoria lawyer to review the vast array of documents sought by them from various government offices, including the ministries of Finance and Transportation and the premier's office.

Bolton said outside court that while police searched only Basi's and Virk's offices, the B.C. Rail deal involved many other offices that would have contained important documents.
 
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