Tuesday, December 11, 2007

 

BC government claiming solicitor-client privilege over BC Rail documents

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Basi-Virk: BC government claiming solicitor-client privilege over BC Rail documents - fight for access resumes in BC Supreme Court Tuesday

The BC Liberal provincial government is claiming solicitor-client privilege over a number of documents connected to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail - documents that lawyers for three government aides say are needed to defend their clients.

On Tuesday morning lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi will argue that Justice Elizabeth Bennett should release the documents, while government lawyer George Copley will oppose that request.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend BC Supreme Court this morning - but Canadian Press reports today arguments were made in open court until noon before adjourning till Tuesday morning.

That also means the secret hearing about whether a police informant could be heard in-camera has ended but it is unknown if Bennett has ruled on that matter.

David Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton told the court that there is no basis for maintaining solicitor-client privilege, saying the BC government is hiding behind it. And he said former BC Finance Minister Gary Collins will be a key witness in the case.

"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, according to Canadian Press.

Collins denies any wrongdoing in the BC Rail deal but court has heard he was the subject of police surveillance when he met with officials from U.S. bidder OmniTRAX at Villa del Lupo restaurant in Vancouver in November 2003.

Copley, who is the lawyer for the executive branch of the government, told the court documents seized by police are protected by solicitor-client privilege and can't be released to defence lawyers.

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

Bolton said documents seized in the police raid on the BC Legislature on December 28, 2003 includes information he alleges show that Collins approved a "consolation prize" for OmniTRAX if they stayed in the bidding for BC Rail, CP says.

Canadian Pacific dropped out of the privatization bidding before the winner - CN Rail - was announced, complaining that the process was unfair.

[Bill Tieleman] will be in BC Supreme Court Tuesday - watch [his blog] for more coverage.

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[Note: there is an informative excerpt from Hansard on Bill's blog, provided by a commentor, following this report. It quotes the Premier Campbell view of his involvement in providing documents to the Basi Virk Basi / BC Rail Case.

Many thanks to Bill for his unfailing generosity in making his reports available.
- BC Mary. ]

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Comments:
So now, let me see. For months now the special prosecutor has been unable to get documents from investigators to forward to defence. Or he may just be holding them himself. We're not sure. The premier says he will not interfere. ACJ Dohm slaps a gag order on some material. So the defence has to ask for them in court. The judge has to have them released so the defence can do its' job. Now the lawyer for the EXECUTIVE branch is saying that the PUBLIC documents from the questionable sale of a PUBLIC railway is subject to solicitor client priviledge.
I am a member of the public and as such I am telling these lawyers to release the documents.
This has gone on far too long and in my opinion the lawyers are attempting to turn the elected PUBLIC officials away from the populace and into their own self-serving right.
"The PUBLIC interest is paramount"
The public (not a few MLA's) own this material. There is no issue of national security.
I wonder how many lawyers can go to jail for obstruction.
 
The moral of this story is (for those who can afford to, or have us footing the bill for them) don't do ANYTHING, without discussing it with your lawyer. I'm serious, don't even go to the bathroom without discussing the merits of #1 versus #2 - without discussing it with your lawyer. Then it "Ain't nobody's Bidness" what you did or is that "dooed?" Excuse me I have to consult with Eddie Greenspan for a moment.

Once you've discussed it with your lawyer, then even war crimes are privileged - or that's how it appears Gordo and his gang of thieves see it.

Then wasn't it a Shakespeare character who thought that killing all the lawyers would be a good beginning?

And maybe OT or maybe not, but who is Louis C. Webster?
 
kc--

Actually, based on what was reportedly said by Mr. Copley in Studio 54 yesterday, you might actually want to make sure you consult with your lawyer AND your banker before you head off to the water closet.

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re: the Hansard Transcript left by deep throat at Mr. T's.....

Who, exactly, is/was the Deputy AG that Mr. Campbell keeps referring to as the 'decider' and what ties does (or did) this person have to Mr. Copley (if any)?

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