Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Collins OK'd 'consolation' to railway: Lawyer

Keith Fraser
The Province - Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Former finance minister Gary Collins approved a "consolation" prize to be offered to the Denver-based railway company linked to the bribery case against three government aides, their trial heard yesterday.

Michael Bolton, who represents accused David Basi, told the court that it's a "big issue" as to whether OmniTRAX was induced to stay in the bidding process for the sale of B.C. Rail by a consolation that further business with the B.C. government was in the offing.

"You've already heard there are numerous telephone calls on Nov. 17, 2003, in which Mr. Basi conferred with Mr. [Bobby] Virk and others that minister Collins has approved the notion that there will be some form of a consolation in the way of future business with B.C. for OmniTRAX," Bolton told B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

"That, of course, is a very critical part of Mr. Basi's defence. Those calls were critical. But it will be even more critical to the defence to be able to demonstrate with reference to some of these documents, that it's not just Mr. Basi talking, that there was some awareness at a high level of some acknowledgement of this consolation." {Snip} ...

George Copley, a government lawyer, applied to have the documents declared off-bounds to the defence since they involve solicitor-client privilege. More arguments on the matter are expected today.

Yesterday, the judge agreed to appoint a Victoria lawyer to screen other documents in other government offices, including the office of the premier and finance minister. {Snip} ...



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