Thursday, January 31, 2008


Wait 3 weeks, hear 1 hour more

Basi-Virk Defence demands BC government disclose secret documents; says still more emails missing

Bill Tieleman - Thursday January 31, 2008

Lawyers in the B.C. Legislature raid case are demanding the provincial government waive assertions of privilege on a series of documents related to the $1 billion sale of B.C Rail that they says are critical to defend their clients ...

Read the full story at:


Canadian Press - January 31, 2008

Prosecutors in a political corruption case against two former BC cabinet aides have solved the riddle of the mystery hard-drive ...

Read the full story:

Breakthrough!! This CP article also appeared in Westmount Examiner, QC, Canada: Hard-drive mystery in BC corruption case solved but defence still complaining



Basi Virk pre-trial resumes today in BC Supreme Court, start-time 10:00 AM

Thursday, January 31, 2008 ... be there, if you can, so you can tell your grandchildren "Yes, I was there, in Courtroom 54 of The Law Courts building in Vancouver. Oh yes, I was there. I saw the famous Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. I saw the Defence Team of Bolton, McCullough, and Doyle. I even caught a glimpse of the Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino!! And Winteringham! And Copley! And MacKay!

"And yes, I was there when ..." and may the Saints preserve her " ... when the famous Judge ruled that, yes indeed, the historic trial would begin as everyone had hoped, on Monday, March 17, 2008 in that very courtroom! Yes, I was there ...! "

- BC Mary.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Railgate Just Got Weirder

Fast ferries, secret e-mails, mystery hard drives: Basi-Virk case's wild week.

By Bill Tieleman
Published: January 30, 2008

... Bolton argues that Basi and Virk merely facilitated a government-wide strategy to ensure B.C. Rail bidder OmniTRAX stayed in the dubious privatization process after fellow bidder CP Rail dropped out. Had OmniTRAX quit it would have left only the eventual winner CN Rail as a bidder, causing political turmoil for the B.C. Liberal government.

"What they did was critical to the survivability and electability of the [provincial] government," Bolton said in May, arguing that Basi and Virk are fall guys for politically more important or more connected players ...

Full report at

Don't miss one of Tieleman's best reports. Many thanks, Bill.
- BC Mary.



No BC Supreme Court listings today (Wed., Jan. 30) for Basi Virk Basi

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Courtroom 54, January 29

The news from courtroom 54 was as bad today as yesterday.
By Robin Mathews

Yesterday Defence counsel cut the rope holding up a large chandelier - and it crashed to the floor. E-mail lists, in short, were proved to be incomplete. 120 to 140 were set aside as "privileged" without government lawyer, Mr. Copley even knowing, apparently, that they weren't covered in lists and summaries. Finding the mess was a matter of stumbling in relative obscurity. (One might say the Crown and the government rarely - unasked - turn on lights to remove obscurity.)

Today was spent (mostly) by lawyers and the judge with brushes and dustpans in hand sweeping up the broken glass.

And it got worse. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett discovered a hard drive apparently seized by the police at the "raid" time, residing in registry (where it shouldn't be). The hard drive, needless to say, might contain important evidence. Was he concerned there might be other evidence, unrecorded, lying about, Defence counsel Michael Bolton was asked. He expressed concern about the integrity of evidence in relation to the discovered hard drive, of course, but did not signal concern about other possible evidence.

On the claim of "privilege" government has agreed that material needed by Defence will not be branded "cabinet privilege" but - so far - solicitor/client privilege holds. That means, in layman's language, that the Gordon Campbell government is still, in short, frustrating the movement of the legal process.

Mr. Copley's "mistake", handled with lady-and-gentlemanliness today, nonetheless is costly in dollars and puts the hearings back something like three days. But of course the error wasn't intentional and so all British Columbians are to feel fine about it.

It is at this point, however, a people's reporter parts company, perhaps, with many of the others. Sitting at sessions with journalists of great capability, watching the movement of a Supreme Court alleged to be a principal guardian of justice in the province, a people's reporter cannot pretend that what you see is always what you get. Sadly.

Put briefly, the journalists for the Corporate Monopoly Press and Media will tell you that there are X number of people on the deck, that they relate in several ways, and that they are all singing a song together, and that some of them met years ago in quite different capacities. What it takes the people's reporter to point out is that he is pretty sure they are singing "Nearer My God to Thee" and is pretty sure the name of the ship is "The Titanic". But since no one can actually SEE the ship's name, how dare the people's reporter suggest such a possibility - say upright and careful and scrupulous others?

Not long ago on this site, "three concerned Canadians" wondered if the murky days of November/December 2003 might have allowed certain interested parties to destroy evidence. The musings of the three were not universally smiled upon - for what basis could they have for wondering in such a way?. Others have wondered if the continual shadow boxing about privilege and disclosure and lost-and-found evidence and delays and in camera (secret) testimony and such like have something to do with a major activity of protection and the shielding of people who should be on the accused list and are not there. But since that cannot be positively attested there are many (among them most of the excellent journalists of the Corporate Monopoly Press and Media) who simply scoff at such ugly innuendo and insinuation.

They may be absolutely correct. Or - contrarily - they may be massively failing the people of Canada by not presenting all of those possibilities for people to consider.

Today the Vancouver Sun carries a story about ugly dealings in B.C. Hydro. Almost no major news media has reported Gordon Campbell (against all protestations) is cannily destroying B.C. Hydro and handing gigantic water energy profits (in perpetuity) across the province to private corporate interests. Today the same paper carries a big story about the Gordon Campbell government about to pay out 85 million dollars to Hospital Employee workers with whom it broke election promises and (according to the Supreme Court of Canada) violated those workers fundamental rights. Late, and unrepentant, B.C. government is making some amends to people at the lowest earning levels whom it wilfully damaged - and only now - six years later - because B.C. government has to. Today in B.C. Supreme Courtroom 54 an interminable trial process was engaged in largely because Gordon Campbell broke a solemn promise not to sell BC Rail and then did so secretly, (and, apparently evidenced by the very processes before us), corruptly, and with a follow-up that is murky and questionable in the extreme.

That same Supreme Court now has to face and work with an Attorney General whom, I insist, no conscionable premier would have appointed to cabinet as AG. Wally Oppal cannot avoid suspicions of being an entity who might involve any Supreme Court judge in conflict of interest with whom he was a colleague over many years.

Not without relevance, some lawyers point out that the Special Crown Prosecutor status, set up to guarantee appointment of Prosecutors totally independent of government, has now been violated so obviously by the Gordon Campbell government that it has become a joke.

I could go on, but won't. My point is that the Gordon Campbell government has proved itself untrustworthy on matters of deepest concern to all British Columbians.

Are we to presume - in the face of those indisputable facts - that every aspect of the charges laid against Gordon Campbell cabinet aides resulting from the corrupt sale of BC Rail will be handled with scrupulous honesty by everyone touched by the power and influence of the Gordon Campbell cabinet? Are we really? Or should the columnists of the major Private Corporate Press and Media and reporters on the case be digging and prying and uncovering and investigating and researching and reporting in ways that they seem - in fact - to be actively prevented from doing?

I suppose I could close by pointing to the obvious fact that the so-called "major" press and media are failing so seriously and consistently that this site was created to repair - in some small degree - the failure. And I could add that the people writing for this site, some of them, have also been produced by the tragic failure of what is humourously called Canada's major press and media.

Thanks, as always, Robin. - BC Mary.



Basi-Virk headlines 29 Jan. 2008

Judge discovers mystery computer hard drive in Supreme Court Registry containing BC Legislature raid emails; defence raises fast ferries politics
Bill Tieleman - 29 Jan 2008

A case involving allegations of political corruption got more bizarre Tuesday when B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett revealed that a computer hard drive seized in the B.C. Legislature raid in 2003 is sitting in the court registry.

And defence lawyers said up to 140 emails the provincial government is trying to keep secret include information about the “running orders” of an ex-ministerial aide regarding “political initiatives” around three fast ferries sold by B.C. Ferries for a fraction of their initial cost.

Read more at:

Courtroom 54 - January 28
Nobody can say it was a good day in Courtroom 54. It wasn't.
Robin Mathews
The Legislature Raids

Undisclosed e-mails delay Basi-Virk proceedings
Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - January 28, 2008

Disclosure of e-mails slows corruption trial
Neal Hall
CanWest News Service (Victoria Times Colonist) - Jan. 29, 2008

Defence wants e-mails opened
Bill Tieleman
24 HOURS - January 29, 2008

More than 100 e-mails missing, Basi's lawyer says
Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - January 29, 2008

E-mails jam corruption trial
Keith Fraser
The Province - January 29, 2008

More questions raised in Legislature raid
Official Opposition

MEDIA RELEASE - Jan. 29, 2008


VANCOUVER – {Snip} ...
“People of B.C. deserve to know exactly why an institution like the B.C. Legislature was forced to become the subject of a police search. And the B.C. Liberals’ failure to cooperate with the investigation could potentially derail a trial that must go ahead in the interest of the public.”

To explain: this News Release is included here for three reasons: 1) It comes from a member of B.C.'s Loyal Opposition, and 2) It comes from an M.L.A. who was in BC Supreme Court today. 3) Big Media rarely picks up and publishes Opposition news. The full report was sent to me by a Nanaimo constituent and is well worth reading. - BC Mary.

Hard-drive a surprise in Basi-Virk pre-trial

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - January 29, 2008

Search for missing e-mails in BC corruption case turned up mystery hard drive

Canadian Press - January 29, 2008
Excerpt: Evidence seized in a criminal case normally is kept in a police property room until it is formally entered as an exhibit at trial, when it goes to the court's exhibit lockup.

Police and court officials are supposed to be meticulous in documenting the continuity of control to avoid any chance evidence becomes vulnerable to tampering.


An important announcement (maybe)

Basi-Virk pre-trial hearing today, Tues. 29 January 2008, 10:00 AM.

And there is something in the wind. Not since the day police raided the B.C. Legislature has there been a news event so widely published. True, yesterday was only a partial exception. True, lawyers still outnumbered journalists in Courtroom 54. But there is a Basi-Virk hearing report in each CanWest newspaper in B.C., as well as in The Globe and Mail. That's unusual.

That means something.

My guess (and it's only a guess) is that the usual mysterious forces which inform certain media as to when to show up in Supreme Court, appears to have told them that The Trial of the Century may be getting under way. Hence the unusual number of news items, often the same CanWest story with a few line expanded or deleted. But it's CanWest acknowledging, finally, that "when there is news, we will print it." (quote from a CanWest Editor-in-Chief).

I think it will turn readers off to see virtually the same story over and over. So unless a news article provides new information, I will be posting the headline and link only, under the date on which it appeared. Readers can then follow up as they wish. - BC Mary.



More than 100 e-mails missing, Basi's lawyer says


B.C. Supreme Court judge telephoned fellow jurist asking about documents during disclosure arguments

VANCOUVER -- A legal battle over the disclosure of government documents took an unusual twist in the Supreme Court of British Columbia yesterday when one judge questioned another about more than 100 missing e-mails.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett of the B.C. Supreme Court, who is hearing pretrial arguments in a case that involved a police raid on the B.C. Legislature, told court that during a morning break she'd called Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm to ask him about the missing files.

"There are no documents related to this case in his office," she assured the court.

Judge Bennett said Judge Dohm, who handled the case before it was assigned to her for trial, told her that "nothing he received did not go back into the box," to be returned to the Crown.

Judge Dohm first became involved in the case when he issued search warrants for police to raid the legislature officers of Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi and Bobby Singh Virk, in December, 2003. At the time the two men, who subsequently were charged with fraud, money laundering and influence peddling, were ministerial aides involved in the government's plans to sell BC Rail.

Early in the proceedings, Judge Dohm was also responsible for vetting government documents, seized during police searches and over which privilege was claimed, to see what was relevant.

Defence lawyers have been arguing for more disclosure by the Crown, and yesterday Kevin McCullough, who represents Mr. Basi, told court that some possibly important e-mails appear to have gone missing.

He said the Crown's list of e-mails seized from computers in Mr. Basi's and Mr. Virk's offices does not match the record of documents sent to Judge Dohm by George Copley, a lawyer representing the Executive Council of the B.C. government.

"There are at least ... somewhere between 100 and 140 e-mails that Mr. Copley asserted solicitor-client privilege over that have not been reviewed [by the court]," Mr. McCullough told Judge Bennett.

Mr. Copley said he thought all the Basi/Virk e-mails had been put before Judge Dohm for review. But he couldn't explain the discrepancy pointed out by Mr. McCullough, except to suggest the judge saw all the files but only returned some.

"To say that Justice Dohm got over 200 [files] and didn't give them all back is outrageous," replied Mr. McCullough, who asked Judge Bennett to dismiss that idea out of hand.

She said she would check and made a call during the morning break.

"I don't think those e-mails ever went to Justice Dohm and that's the problem," Mr. McCullough said.

He reminded Judge Bennett the defence application is seeking disclosure of all the material seized from their clients by police.

"Those documents should be here right now," he said of the missing e-mails.

Judge Bennett agreed, telling Mr. Copley she wanted to see the material as soon as possible. Mr. Copley promised to get her a disk containing all the e-mails in time for the hearing to continue today.

Outside court NDP MLA Mike Farnworth said the case is an important one because it deals with allegations of political corruption in the Ministry of Finance, which typically works in lockstep with the Premier's Office.

"The Premier's Office and the Finance Minister are traditionally always very, very tight," he said. "That's why it's all the more important that this ends up going to trial."


Monday, January 28, 2008


Courtroom 54, January 28

Robin Mathews

No one can say today was a good day in Courtroom 54. It wasn't. The events of the morning erupted in the apparently unexpected, and culminated in the postponement of proceedings until tomorrow at nine a.m. (Perhaps.) (Lawyer for the government, Mr. Copley has to get materials from Victoria to Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett by nine a.m. tomorrow.)

People involving themselves as onlookers in events such as the BC Rail scandal court matters tend to see themselves sometimes as relevant. I don't. But today's events just might have been staged as a comment on the piece I wrote, published here yesterday, called "Time to Demystify Canada's Judiciary".

In short, with 10 lawyers in court and, at most, about 7 in the gallery, Kevin McCullough, for the Defence, threw (as the English say) "a spanner in the works". How can I report the matter clearly and simply?

(1) Counsel for the Defence asked for all the e-mails that had been generated by the accused or to the accused in B.C. government holding. (2) Correpondence with Mr. Copley (govt. lawyer) went on for about three weeks. (3) About 78 e-mails were identified - some irrelevant, some (17) being claimed as withheld on the basis of Cabinet privilege or solicitor-client privilege. Mr. McCullough remarked for the Defence that government has not claimed "privilege" on the basis of "harm" that will be done if the e-mails are released. It claims to be withholding them on the basis of "principle" - whatever that may mean.

[Readers may interpret that as meaning they cannot say the disclosure of the e-mails would do damage to public policy. But, rather, disclosure might advance the argument of the Defence, and so since precedent has made it possible to hold material from public examination on the basis of cabinet or solicitor/client privilege - and so on that basis, so-called "principle", the materials are being withheld.]

[Note: Both of those claims - in the real world - may be specious. Does either kind of "privilege" cover a government serving the people when it is called upon for documents in criminal matters?]

(4) Apparently there exists an inventory of e-mails in question. (5) But only apparently. Though Mr Copley has had, literally, months to look ahead, see what will be asked for, arrange materials, make inventories of them, and proffer them when requested, he has not done that.

What follows is hard to believe.

(6) Some (but by no means all) of the e-mail material was sent (uninventoried!!!) to Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm for vetting: irrelevant; relevant; okayed for cabinet or solicitor/client privilege. What was Mr. Copley doing sending ANYONE an uninventoried batch of e-mails? No answer.

(7) Upon return of the material from Dohm, it was inventoried. (8) But no information was communicated to Defence that, in fact, perhaps 140 e-mails had already been extracted, were not on the inventory list, were not - it seems - sent to Patrick Dohm, and were not reported withheld and individually summarized for the Defence's use.

(9) Apparently, the RCMP was asked to vet some of the e-mails, a most extraordinary request since the RCMP has no place checking solicitor/client or cabinet privilege. (10) That action (not quite clear to me) seems to mean (a) the RCMP was improperly used in the matter and/or government had complete confidence that the RCMP is an extension of itself.

[Note: A very serious problem asserts itself here. Defence made an application for all e-mails. The affidavit from Copley says they received all e-mails, apparently. They didn't, demonstrably. Mr. Copley's response to that was unruffled, apparently, reporting that the disparity "simply means more work will have to be done". In short, government said that Defence had all materials accounted for when, in fact, they had less than half.]

(11) At about this point, McCullough for the Defence remarked (gently and in an understated fashion) that the "Court must be somewhat frustrated by this protracted application". The court in the person of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett did not show the slightest frustration, from what I could observe.

[Note. If Mr. Copley were an ordinary Canadian acting under requirements of a court order brought about by an Injunction that had been sought by a large Private Corporation and all the above mess was discovered, Madam Justice Bennett might well, by now, have sent him to the lock-up that held Betty Krawczyk for several months. The granting of the application by Defence for disclosure of all the e-mails is much the same as a court order. But - What the hell! Copley's a member of the club. He works for Gordon Campbell. Was Madam Justice Bennett annoyed? Not as far as I could see. Please consult yesterday's article: "Time to Demystify Canada's Judiciary".]

(12) In addition, the Defence had to make itself very clear that the e-mails involved were not separate items, were not stand-alone events, but were very likely meshed into related events about which Defence needs to have clear knowledge.

[We may wish to remember a time line. Dave Basi may have been engaged in the writing and receiving of e-mails in connection with the Agricultural Land Reserve matter which is a part of the sprawling set of actions, BEFORE the corrupt sale of BC Rail. Land was removed from the ALR for Development, money is, I believe, alleged to have passed hands. Environmental ministry people may have been involved, one of whom left that ministry and joined the Pilothouse lobby organization and was connected to "star witness" Erik Bornmann whose testimony is believed to be that he was involved in the passing of a bribe. The time line may - through e-mails - suggest connections between the accused and others in government not heretofore imagined.]

Defence argued that it cannot continue until all the e-mails are accounted for. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett stopped the hearing for a half hour to look at the submission made by Defence and the materials related. She returned to postpone proceedings until Tuesday at nine a.m. when Mr. Copley will have assembled all the necessary materials.

[An ordinary, concerned Canadian cannot find much humour in today's events. What I record is what appears to be a contemptuous attitude displayed towards Canadians who depend upon the courts to guard the sanctity of their society, to proceedings of the gravest seriousness, and to the concept of justice in Canada. Times are not good in Canada's highest courts.]

Some are already calling this "the trial of the century". I realize now they mean "the trial that will take a century ... at least".

Very special thanks for this, Robin.



He doesn't recall ... and she'll do it tomorrow

Virk/Basi trial adjourned to study e-mails

Neal Hall

Vancouver Sun: Monday, January 28, 2008

VANCOUVER - B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett had a hint of weariness in her voice today after learning the B.C. government has found more than 100 e-mails that were seized during a raid on the legislature more than four years ago

The documents have never been reviewed by the judge to decide whether the e-mails are relevant to a pending trial, slated to begin March 17.

The judge adjourned the matter over to 10 a.m. Tuesday to allow government lawyer George Copley to retrieve about 140 e-mails from Victoria and provide a written summary of each one.

The e-mails were seized in 2003 from the computers of Dave Basi and Bob Virk, two former government aides accused of accepting a benefit, fraud and breach of trust in relation to the $1-billion privatization sale of BC Rail freight operations in 2003 to Canadian National Railway. {Snip} ...

Up to now, the defence lawyers were still seeking to obtain 17 documents that the government's lawyer asserted should not be disclosed because of solicitor-client privilege or cabinet privilege.

But Copley revealed in court today that there are about 140 e-mails that the government is asserting should not be disclosed to defence.

The trial judge, Bennett, took a short break this morning to check with Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm to see if he ever reviewed the 140 documents. Dohm was the judge who initially authorized police to search the legislature.

Bennett returned to court and told the lawyers that Dohm does not recall ever reviewing the 140 e-mails.

The judge said she will review the documents Tuesday morning before deciding how many are relevant to the trial. {Snip} ...

Full story:


Sunday, January 27, 2008


Today Jan. 28 at 9:00 AM confirmed

for the next BC Rail pre-trial hearing in Room 54, B.C. Supreme Court, Vancouver, "to resolve all disclosure issues." Star performer is Special Prosecutor who is called upon to provide documents in almost 8 pages of Court listings for Case #23299 (Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, Aneal Basi).

Use LINKS in left margin, click on "Van - Court Direct" to check the listings (pdf).


Time to Demystify Canada's Judiciary

Time to Demystify Canada's Judiciary.
Time to (re)Open Canada's Courts.

Robin Mathews

Canada has long protected - by giving them a large measure of trust - a few special forces in our society. As long as they warranted the trust, the protection was well given. For Canadians have known that trust is the glue that holds difference together in democratic societies.

Canadians have trusted the RCMP, for instance, until recently when the brazen arrogance and privilege of some RCMP officers have broken the spell. From Guiliano Zaccardelli (former head) in his expensive, collector boots, involved in the tragic torture fiasco of Maher Arar - and more -, to the astonishing shooting death of Ian Bush (and cover-up) in B.C., to the RCMP-involved, world-watched death of Robert Djiekanski in Vancouver International Airport (strangely misreported by the RCMP), the veils have not fallen but have been torn from the eyes of Canadians. Demystification.

In that last case four RCMP officers tasered and physically subjected a man they had never laid eyes upon before in his first confused hours in Canada. Djiekanski died in their hands. Now the RCMP plans to visit Poland "to gather evidence on Mr. Djiekanski's life that may be germane to an investigation by the RCMP Integrated Homicide Investigation Team" (Globe and Mail Jan.18 08 S2).

Pardon? Does the RCMP think that even if they find evidence of quick-temperedness, easy anger, and on and on and on that it will make the slightest difference to their disastrous behaviour with Robert Djiekanski? Is the RCMP really going to send officers (on taxpayers' money) to Poland in an attempt to throw sand in our eyes? Please.

It was Gary Mason, in the Globe and Mail, moreover, who studied Paul Kennedy's (Chair, the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP) 86 page Report on the RCMP investigation of the RCMP shooting of Ian Bush. Mason described Kennedy's approving Report (in gentle words) as not credible. Demystification.

As I write, Tamara King (Globe and Mail, Jan 21 08 A9) reports a record number of perjury charges now being brought against police officers. James Morton, Toronto lawyer and adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall remarks revealingly: "it used to be that people just didn't believe policemen would lie". What a pity people have been forced to change that belief.

The Report of the Task Force on Governance and Culture Change in the RCMP (submitted in December) gives plenty of reason for the change in people's attitude. The Task Force was set up by Stephen Harper, partly to prevent an investigation on the scale needed. Nonetheless, the Task Force found "there is a need to radically overhaul the way the RCMP is governed". It records "major problems with the discipline system, recruitment, performance evaluations, promotion and personal development". And the Task Force didn't even ask to hear from ordinary Canadians - the victims, often, of a broken and decaying force.

The judiciary in Canada's higher courts, sad to say, is traveling towards the condition of the RCMP. Given admirable discretionary powers, judges now sometimes abuse them. Permitted to withhold information on public record from the public in order to protect the innocent, they now frequently enforce irrational and unjust information bans denying information absolutely essential to the conduct of a free society. Given positions of special trust, they sometimes turn them into positions of special privilege, making class-based decisions on behalf of wealth and power. Altogether too free of public examination, they sometimes form bastions of "class correctness" in which top positions are gained sometimes questionably and in ways that are far from democratic or open. Their "oversight" body, the Canadian Judicial Council, is a toothless tiger pressed into an operational space suitable for a small house kitten.

Consider the seemingly endless series of "hearings" purporting to lead to the trial of B.C. Gordon Campbell cabinet aides, Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi. Accusations against them arise out of the corrupt sale of BC Rail by the Gordon Campbell cabinet - involving the now-famous legislature search warrant "raids" of December 28, 2003.

Four things are striking about the court processes. (1) They never stop. They never get anywhere. (2) Increasingly, the Special Crown Prosecutor (appointed, effectively, by the Gordon Campbell cabinet), the government lawyer George Copley, the RCMP, and BC Rail seem - to some observers - to be acting very strangely, almost as if working to prevent justice from being done. William Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor, applied for in camera (secret) processes to hear testimony from a witness - without even Defence counsel present. Denied that request by Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, Berardino will drag the request through the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Making a tattered claim of "special privilege" concerning some cabinet documents wanted by the Defence counsel, George Copley evoked a question by Vancouver Province columnist Michael Smyth: "don't the people of B.C. deserve to know the whole truth after their own house of democracy was raided by the police?" (Province Jan 20 08 A4) Apparently not.

If refused his claim for special privilege, will George Copley, like William Berardino, head to the B.C. Court of Appeal? (Remember that both lawyers have access to bottomless pockets perpetually filled by B.C. taxpayers.)

Smyth asks the question about what the B.C. people deserve, and he continues by saying Defence "lawyers suggest [the accused] were just following orders from their bosses in Victoria". If that is true, of course, a lot more (and highly placed) people should be in the dock with Basi, Virk, and Basi. "It is easy to imagine," Smyth writes, "why the government wants to keep the lid screwed down tight on this particular can of worms".

(3) Following that, it is easy to imagine the avalanche of "disclosure" material dumped on the Defence may be part of keeping "the lid screwed down tight on this particular can of worms". Defence has commented that it now has more pages of material than the nationally famous Air India case.

(4) Key to the movement of the court processes is, of course, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. So far - so far, she has the confidence of the journalists from the monopoly corporate press. Recently she was described warmly by the Globe and Mail's Norman Spector. Michael Smyth tells his readers that there is "hope for the truth in the person of Justice Elizabeth Bennett".

'The public interest in having this case heard outweighs just about everything else,' she has said."

Smyth doesn't report that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett made that statement a long time ago. Nor does he report she has denied documents on public record (to the public) as an almost unbroken rule. She has closed the court (unnecessarily I believe) to argument for and against in camera (secret) testimony being permitted. She has failed, I believe, to demand expeditious delivery of materials from the Special Crown Prosecutor, the RCMP, and others. She has failed to require "rules of relevance" so that Defence can protest when it believes materials have been delivered, not relevantly but dumped on Defence like garbage. Finally, she has never hinted that what looks to some observers like intended obstruction will be disciplined if it does not cease. She has very large discretionary power which she has not used, I believe, to move the processes speedily, efficiently, and fairly ahead.

All that makes me look again at her statement quoted by Michael Smyth. "The public interest in having this case heard outweighs just about everything else." Are we getting closer and closer to adding "except the wishes of the Gordon Campbell cabinet"?

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is not in an enviable position. The Supreme Court of British Columbia of which she is a part is not held, universally, in high esteem. The criminal Practice Direction protocols set out by Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm - as I see them - deny the fundamental principle of open courts, and appear as if they are intended to do so. The selection of top judges needs serious restructuring to bring the ablest and most effective people forward. Lawyers will whisper about that need, but - having to appear before the judges - they don't usually trumpet the message.

Conflict of interest, I believe, is a permanent resident in the B.C. Supreme Court because Wally Oppal, judge for many years, stepped away from the court and his close colleagues there to become the highly political Attorney General in Gordon Campbell's government. In the action before Chief Justice Donald Brenner between the town of Kitimat and the combined forces of Alcan and the B.C. government, just for instance, Wally Oppal was a named respondent. Donald Brenner was a long time colleague of Oppal.

I believe the decision of Brenner on the case is questionable. I believe the statement by the Canadian Judicial Council in response to the complaint in that matter on the basis of conflict of interest is equally questionable. I have a perfect right to believe those things because Wally Oppal should never have been permitted to leave the B.C. higher courts and take the highly political position of Attorney General - a position closely connected to the operation of the B.C. higher courts filled with his former, long-time colleagues.

Where do we go to have all of those and such like matters widely, thoroughly, and publicly debated and examined. We go nowhere. And because there is nowhere to go, the Supreme Court of British Columbia (and some other Supreme Courts in Canada) will face growing problems of credibility.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is a part of those problems or she is a victim of them. Whichever is the case, she can't escape involvement.

The time has come to demystify the judges of Canada's Supreme Courts, to make them much more responsive to the sense of justice possessed by the larger population. Indeed, the time may be upon us when Chief Justices should be ordinary, responsible citizens never before connected to the Supreme Court, acting in rotating five year terms. In that way, the public sense of justice would be injected into the court operation and administrative decisions. And - for instance - if a Patrick Dohm attempted to close off matters on public record to the public, the Chief Justice would say something like "that might help your friends Patrick, but it doesn't assist the pursuit of justice. So lay off."

If you say that ordinary intelligent Canadians can't understand the reasons for law and legal decision making, you are surrendering to the mystification. When I ask to see sworn affidavits of police officers sought by the Crown and filed with the court and I am refused access to them, I am not fooled. I know there is a charmed circle, a club, that wants to hold power over the information that should be available to any Canadian. And I have every right to suspect that I am being kept from seeing those affidavits because someone or some people are being especially protected from public surveillance by the very people who are supposed to be the insurers of the just administration of the legal system.

We do not have a "justice system" because it is impossible to systematize justice. We have a legal system which faultily fumbles towards justice. And until we re-think and re-structure our Supreme Courts, re-introducing genuine openness, introduce on-going checks and balances and publicly open reviews of judicial behaviour we will have murky and depressing and intolerable processes like the one that is presently being conducted as a result of the corrupt sale of BC Rail by the B.C. Gordon Campbell cabinet. And we will have an ever-enlarging public that - with perfect legitimacy - suspects the Courts are the playthings of the wealthy and the morally dubious.

"With perfect legitimacy" because if information on public record is kept from the public, suspicion is ignited. If court processes are increasingly shut away from the public which, in principle, they are intended to serve, suspicion is ignited. And if the processes of the legal system are used as obstructive instruments, the public will finally say "Enough!" and pull the system down.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


27 Questions: a raid on BC Legislature

Most readers will quickly remember the dramatic front page of Vancouver Sun on January 2, 2004. In big black type, those 27 questions took up the whole front page, just as those questions dominated our thoughts that day and have echoed in our hearts ever since. Please follow me down memory lane. There are surprises.
- BC Mary.



Vancouver Sun - January 2 2004.

Six days after the shocking raids on the legislature, citizens still have been told next to nothing about the RCMP actions that have shaken the province's political life to its core. Here are 27 unanswered questions:

What triggered this investigation? - How closely linked is the drug investigation led by federal prosecutor Robert Prior to the investigation led by special prosecutor William Berardino? - What if anything is the link between drugs, organized or commercial crime to staff in the B.C. legislature? - To the federal Liberal party? - Who are the nine people recently arrested and why have none of them been charged? - What premises were searched on Sunday? - Who was arrested Sunday and then released? - Have other arrests been made? - Were other search warrants executed prior to Sunday's action? - Have any criminal charges been laid in either investigation? - If so, when and against whom? - Does the government know more than the public is being told? - How is the suspension of Victoria police officer Ravinder Dosanjh linked to this investigation? - Why would RCMP spokesman Sergeant John Ward choose a press conference on the raids at the legislature to say that "organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia"? - Does the fact so many individuals have connections to the BC Rail deal mean anything? - Has the investigation uncovered evidence that government policies or decisions may have been illegally or inappropriately affected? - Were phones at the legislature or politicians' private phone lines tapped? - Are there connections to Indo-Canadian gangs? - Other criminal groups? - Does it mean anything that so many of the individuals have links to the federal Liberal party, Prime Minister Paul Martin's organizing team in B.C. and his leadership campaign? - Why did a 20-month investigation come to a head on a Sunday between Christmas and New Year's? - Why was Dave Basi fired and Bob Virk only suspended? - Why would the government fire someone who has not been charged with any crime? - Have the province's $28-billion operations been compromised? - How long will this investigation cast a shadow over B.C.? - With so many unanswered questions, can the citizens of this province be confident in the government's ability to function effectively? - Will this affair adversely affect the province's economy and reputation?


BC Mary:

Here come the surprises: there was considerable effort required to find this famous Vancouver Sun item. I could scarcely believe what I was actually seeing. Or, rather: not seeing.

Google "Some questions for British Columbians" --- the headline for the original Vancouver Sun story -- and you get 598,000 hits ... not one of them, so far as I could see, is the original Sun story.

Google "
Some questions for British Columbians + Vancouver Sun + January 2, 2004" -- and you get 575,000 hits -- not one of them, the original Sun story.

I wouldn't have believed it possible. But I did find this (more surprises!)


Glen Robbins of Robbins SCE Research is doing a re-issue of his polls focused on the police raid on the BC Legislature. So this poll is among the 575,000 hits. I hope readers will check out the findings by clicking on the link below.

Glen Robbins does have a strong political leaning but perhaps not what might be expected: He had a brief stint with the BC Liberals in 1994, but left the BC Liberals in 1996 when he was one of the few Reformers who, he said, would not capitulate to the BC Liberals' last minute push for Reformers to join. He now describes himself as "probably Democratic Reform". This would suggest that his views might align with the current B.C. government which is made up of former Socreds, Reformers, Alliance, Conservative, and now Liberal.

But Robbins provides one more surprise. Four years after the police raided the B.C. Legislature, his 2008 views are summarized in this poll:

" ... Addendum: Jan 11, 2008. Think about this-the average British Columbian likely pays 40-50% of income (all inclusive) to pay for government, courts, police etc. Why? Where is the value? ROBBINS is no anarchist-but certainly any right thinking individual can begin to see that in BC there really is no democracy, simply the illusion of it. The Courts are ornate, the architecture compelling. The lawyers wear robes and everyone rises when the Judge walks in. Is there any justice for the average taxpayer/citizen? Look at the numbers---we've been polling this stuff for many years (1998).


Politicians-I need not make my case. A low majority of citizens vote--turn-out constantly decreases. Even dutiful Ontario's recent provincial in the 50's. Why? people are finding out it's corrupt---likely even crooked/criminal.
There are very few citizens (not hooked up to a party or other benefit) who believe in the system. BC is beautiful, but as a democracy it is a 'dump', a toilet. Can the average person do anything about it? Not really. To get involved you need to be connected---to run you need to be in on the inside. There is nothing you can do, and you and I both know it. You are trapped into paying taxes.

Many of you who write in tell me story after story about how the government doesn't work. Government in BC (Canada?) is based upon the illusion of working, because most people don't actively use government services.
The bottom line, police protection---are you really safe? Many BC governments in the past decade or so have been awful.

As partisan as this is---the BC Liberal government under Gordon Campbell is awful. The businesses who support him with large donations should be boycotted. In the coming months ROBBINS will be posting the names of BC business that support this 'sick' regime, and will ask you whenever possible to not support these businesses.
Try within the law to limit to the extent you can, the money the government takes from you.

If you vote, don't vote for any incumbents-make a point of voting for any other person or party who is an outsider. This is how we send a powerful message.
The Government of BC is in our opinion-(Constitution Act, 1982 Schedule B Constitution Act, 1982; Part 1 Charter of Rights and Freedoms-Fundamental Freedoms (2) Everyone has the following freedoms (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; essentially an organized institutionalized 'mafia', to the extent that we understand what mafia is---organized crime. If you are one of the tens of thousands of Americans who come to this site-tell your friends and pass this around. BC is crooked government for decent (but docile) people. Don't spend your money here. Not a dime.

Glen P. Robbins."


One more question:

If you, Dear Reader, could have just one question answered about the police raid on the BC Legislature, what question would you ask?

Please let us know. We plan to circulate a few questions amongst B.C. journalists, editors, publishers. You just never know what might happen. - BC Mary.


Saturday, January 19, 2008


Bill Tieleman stirs up a discussion

Bill Tieleman commented on Before police raided the B.C. Legislature, there was time to destroy evidence by Three Concerned Canadians. This provided a good opportunity to widen our discussion by showing Bill's comments to the Three Concerned Canadians and a few others, and to give them time to reply to Bill's views. So here is Bill's commentary accompanied by some of their responses. I hope others will add more thoughts, questions, feelings on these important issues in a very important B.C. trial. - BC Mary.

Bill Tieleman wrote:

While I appreciate that the lack of complete information and even more importantly, lack of a trial, four years after the raid on the BC Legislature is highly frustrating, it is critical that the facts be examined before conclusions are drawn.

Unfortunately the Three Concerned Citizens have made some errors in their posting here.

First, the Crown Counsel Act is clear about Special Prosecutors – they are appointed by the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Justice Branch.That lawyer must not be in the employ of the Attorney General – i.e. an outside counsel is required, as we’ve seen previously. The idea that Geoff Plant appointed Bill Berardino is therefore wrong.

Secondly, the fact that Bill Berardino and Geoff Plant once practiced law at the same very large law office – years before Plant went into politics in 1996 – is meaningless. Most obviously, if the defence team who have been exceptionally vigilant in pointing out the flaws in the Special Prosecutor’s approach and that of the RCMP investigators thought Berardino was in some conflict, they would have filed an objections years ago. They have not.

Thirdly, David Harris is a law partner of Berardino and was originally appointed Special Prosecutor, with Berardino later taking over. Nothing unusual here. Andrea Mackay, also with the firm, has taken over the case at times in Berardino’s absence. It simply seems to mean the firm is acting as Special Prosecutor. Janet Winteringham, who is not part of the firm, is also a senior lawyer acting as part of the Special Prosecutor team.

Fourthly, the publication of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor in the Gazette may “delayed if to do so would be in the interests of the administration of justice.” This makes sense, as media immediately begin speculating and investigating whenever a Special Prosecutor is appointed.

Lastly, the Three Citizens write: “Look: There was time. There was a motive. There was opportunity. There was a team. There was the quietness of the Legislature at Christmas when many people were off duty.”I’m sorry but the idea that a group of politicians and political staff subverted the course of justice by sneaking around in balaclavas shredding evidence and no one to this day found it simply beggars the imagination!

The real “conspiracy” if there is one is that the defence has been consistently frustrated in receiving evidence that truly exists and is in police files; that documents were marked by RCMP “do not disclose”; that 100,000 pages or more of evidence has been produced, swamping the defence in paper; that the RCMP has a series of conflicts of interest to explain on the stand in front of Justice Elizabeth Bennett; that key political figures have to explain their actions in a court of law regarding the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail and much, much more.

Allegations of shadowy men in a shadowy Legislature shredding documents and Special Prosecutors who are connected to government figures are not helpful to figuring out what happened.


BC Mary replies:

Bill, thanks as always for joining in our discussion. But on this occasion, I think I'm going to see your balaclava and raise you a couple of brown paper bags with eye-holes cut out.

The political atmosphere of that time, December 2003, featured a 77-member Campbell government relishing power for the first time, feeling answerable to nobody. Remember how they refused to allow the two member Opposition to have a research budget? Those weren't Boy Scouts running B.C. Not by a long shot.

I'm pretty sure you would agree, Bill, that the Campbell government (in whole or in part) knew for 28 days that the police raid was coming to the Legislature. What I'm trying hard to understand is how you can imagine that for 28 days they all played harps and polished their halos, with brown paper bags over their heads, until the police came to collect evidence against them. Never mind mysterious men in balaclavas. They didn't even need balaclavas. They were on home turf, most people on Christmas holidays, no problems. What the Three Concerned Canadians are saying, in my opinion, is that sometimes the simplest answer is the answer.


Lynx comments:

Well, I'm afraid I don't agree with Bill Tieleman. I don't think there is anything wrong with questioning or surmising "how things were handled", especially considering the lack of investigative light shone on the sale of BC Rail and the subsequent raid on the legislature. Any good citizen would question and challenge the fog of obfuscation that has hung over these proceedings from the beginning. While I don't think documents were necessarily shredded, (tho' it is a possiblilty considering the lack of oversight) and I hope for the sake of BC they still exist - I think what Joy MacPhail was saying was very important - that some "BIG Behind the Scenes" things were happening, including the appointment of special prosecutors that no one knew about it . The government had an opportunity on the Dec.16 legislative special session to inform the legislature about the SP appointments but they did not.

These are questions that need to be asked. Just as Joy MacPhail questioned the "how and why" of the appointment of the office of the Solicitor-General, a new office to government and yet as she states there was no clear delineation of what his (Coleman's) role actually was in government....quite convenient, don't you think, as it seemed to be made up along the way.... the reason some have questioned why Coleman had to accompany the police to Kamloops to inform the Speaker, Claude Richmond

So why when there was opportunity to inform did the government not inform the legislature? As Joy MacPhail said: "The Legislature was sitting while the special prosecutor was appointed. We had a special sitting to deal with ordering IWA workers back. Cabinet was meeting, the building was busy, and there'd been a special prosecutor appointed that no one knew about — no one knew about....."

" What exactly did the police tell the Solicitor General? Did he have any words with the Attorney General about lack of information on his side? If the Solicitor General is truly the chief cop, chief police officer — sorry, Mr. Chair — shouldn't those details have been known between the two at least? What if files went missing? What if activities were put at risk while the Legislature was actually sitting?...."

So considering "how things were handled" the questions surrounding the possibility of files being shredded or "gone missing" seem actually very good questions to me. Good enough for even the leader of the Opposition to query over as a matter of utmost significance - as was the appointment of an SP in this matter. This was an investigation of some significance, no small potatoes. But the public seemed to have been intentionally left uninformed though there was plenty of opportunity to do so. Why? How ? And who made these decisions?

J. MacPhail: I'll go in exactly the opposite direction of the Solicitor General. I think the public should have been informed that a special prosecutor was appointed. In fact, I'm appalled that the government didn't let the public know that a special prosecutor had been appointed. I can absolutely guarantee that if the previous administrations — any previous administration — had kept the appointment of a special prosecutor secret, this member and his leader would go absolutely nuts in crying foul.

And finally this from the June 4, 2007, BC SC, application by the defense for production of records in possession of The Province of BC - listed under the grounds for application: (note points 5 and 6). Two points that bring into play the very thing MacPhail was questioning which is "What exactly is the role of the Solicitor-General?" " Who defined and determined the parameters of that role?" "Why are those parameters not clear - why don't we know what the parameters are for this newly created role of Solicitor-General?"

5. There was considerable strategic discussion and planning by the R.C.M.P. in the preparation, application and execution of the Search Warrants. The R.C.M.P. consulted and liaised with the Solicitor General and his Assistant Deputy Minister before and during the execution of same.

6. The involvement of the Solicitor General and Assistant Deputy Minister in the criminal investigation continued after the search of the Legislature and until at least February 13, 2004, and this involvement consisted of collaboration with, and direction to, the R.C.M.P. with regard to the timing and content of the R.C.M.P. interviews of Ministers Collins and Reid.


Serenity Now writes ...

The thing is Bill, I think you’re suggesting that this case has been, and is being, run by the book.

However, I’m afraid there’s enough broken china on the floor to make me wonder why you’d still hold that point of view.

There are just too many anomalies between what I’d say is “normal practice” and the way the investigation, the surveillance, the raid, the charges and the disposition of those charges have proceeded for me to sustain your opinion – much as I respect it and the job you’ve done in reporting the case for your readers.

The special circumstances of the relationship(s) between the accused individuals and the democratically elected premier of this province are bound to create a lot of speculation; not least because of the obvious fact, despite your colleague Vaughn Palmer’s suggestion that the case is being well-covered by traditional media, that there has been little or no speculation in those traditional media outlets.

So, I’d suggest that you might want to look a little more closely (as I’m sure you will do) at some of the ‘speculation’ that appeared in the piece Mary posted yesterday from ‘Three Concerned Canadians’.

Because, and I’m sure you know this, although things are often meant to be done according to protocol and ‘by the book’ – a general knowledge of the way things are ‘done’ in British Columbia leads any prudent student to conclude that they often aren’t.


earseyeswideopen responds to Bill Tieleman's comments:

Whoa Nelly . . . . .on this one, Mr. T, I'm a little puzzled by your comments re: the Three Concerned Citizens editorial perspective having made "errors", in your opinion. This trio's meaning was crystal clear to me, about the events in Dec. 2003 & they are entitled to their perspectives as you are - their opinons echoes with truth in the dark recesses of my mind! I have always respected your 'take' on politics but lets get real here! The 'raid' on your office must have been unnerving, but hopefully that or something else has not caused your usual astute perspective to lose its sharpness.

With all due respect, some of your comments are splitting hairs on specific words written rather than the overall picture they painted in bold strokes. You appear to come from a perspective that all is tickety boo re: the the public systems that were originally set up to protect the best interests of the public, but in fact, NOW have become increasingly suspect re: the inappropriate injection of politics into their proper operations.

Lots of things are written in Acts, legislation & due process but what happens can be a whole different pile of rot. You know the saying about 'power' corrupting . . . . . Honestly, what you wrote verges on being naive which you are NOT

Bill you have been involved heavily in all things political as you matured into the measured, informed thinker you are today. I have a lot of respect for you. That background has allowed you to have a well rounded view of the very real, high profile connections that pull the strings in BC often crossing poltical 'label' boundaries; where politics & BIG business make strange bed fellows. It is all about control & money. You have also worked in government & surely saw the politics that operate in the buildings, up close & personal. So what's up Mr. T?

Strictly speaking, Bill, you are correct of course re: the Act re: Special Prosecutors: it is the Asst. Dep. AG who appoints the Special Prosecutor not the AG. The operative question here, is whether strong suggestions/events were made/set in motion, even not fully appreciated by the Asst. Dep. AG at that time . . . given the ticking time bomb of this politically sensitive matter where politicians/aides in powerful positions are the focus of allegations of corruption: e.g. drugs, money laundering, & the selling off British Columbia's assests are ALL involved under the roof of the Leg???? You think that great lengths would not have come into play to protect certain people??? - Puh - lease!

You stated: "the fact that Bill Berardino and Geoff Plant once practiced law at the same very large law office – years before Plant went into politics in 1996 – is meaningless . . . NOT!

Do you really believe that old ties are not meaningful in the justice system including the AG's Ministry & the BC Supreme Court or any number of bodies where key decisions are made that affect people in lofty positions and/or huge vested interests are at stake? Say it ain't so, Bill! There are a small number of big law firms in Vancouver which rule the roost & want to maintain control. It is a highly coopertive set up. Circumstances like this operate far & wide in most countries like this: Big Government - Big money & tried & true connections. I believe it is naive to believe otherwise.

No, the defence team hasn't filed objections re: conflicts. My guess is that they know to file an objection to these 'too close for comfort' ties would be useless technically: AG Plant was not at the firm anymore etc. . However, perception IS 9/10ths reality - when there is a stink it's a stench & often, in peoples assessment, THAT is what counts in the final analysis. Big changes in directions can turn on perception - especially in politics when people are caught with their pants down, like in this case.

Re: your statement: "the publication of the appointment of a Special Prosecutor in the Gazette may “delayed if to do so would be in the interests of the administration of justice.” . . . . . or, could it be as a cooperative move to try to coverup for as long as possible - while some cleanup takes place LOL? Good grief, why shouldn't the media/the public be in the position to speculate on the monkey business within the Legislature when a Special Prosecutor is appointed - it is OUR 'House' - people are weary of coverup, my friend, including from the MSM.

Your fluff off of: "I’m sorry but the idea that a group of politicians and political staff subverted the course of justice by sneaking around in balaclavas shredding evidence and no one to this day found it simply beggars the imagination! . . . . One only has to look at the huge ramifications of this trial poltically speaking & the perception of the Three Citizens perfectly realistic. Have you never sat in on a trial where there was key missing evidence? Don't you think your imagination seems to need some flexing with a dose of real life here, Bill?

Further, re: evidence. . . it can only be in police files if the police were able to obtain them in the first place & we saw that they were stymied in being allowed to investigate the politicians and secondly, as Barbara McClintock wrote: " all 37 boxes, along with material seized from computers and hard drives" . . . . "went back to the Supreme Court judge who issued the search warrant. It will be the judge's job to go through all that material without the police or Crown counsel being present. . . . Only when that is done will the remaining material be turned over to the RCMP officers for their further investigation."

Right, like so many people have unbridled faith in certain BC Supreme Court Judges "sorting" selections to be "sorted" solely with apolitical eyes/ethics in the best interests of the rest of British Columbians . . I don't think so, sir - more like sanitizing to suit the desired outcome of poltical masters maybe?????

When you wrote that "documents were marked by RCMP "do not disclose" ... yes, once again, the possibility exists that is based on the instructions from Sol. Gen. Coleman (former RCMP) - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, - who seemed to insert his views a lot to the RCMP's work, e.g. travelling with the RCMP to Kamloops to visit the Speaker of the House Richmond through to the diclosure that the Solicitor General's staff person, Kevin Begg, got on the blower to Acting Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass on Dec. 29, 2003 suggesting NOT to interrogate Collins in Hawaii etc. ... what else was suggested by this cozy connection at the top layers of the RCMP?

How interesting that we further learn, in a report by Neal Hall, that Mr. Begg got a big promotion to Assistant Deputy Minister on Feb. 1, 2004. - one month after the Raid! Could that be a pat on the back for a job well done the 'team'? Isn't that the way the 'game' works guys? Just think of what this staffer, Kevin knew . . . .

Finally, when you wrote: "that key political figures have to explain their actions in a court of law regarding the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail and much, much more". . . . Yes, indeed . . . . This is exactly the message the 3 Citizens were saying in the Editorial: these low lifes & their minions were hard at work to plug & coverup the flow the the truth, everywhichway, once they learned the police were hot on their trails. This political bunch of theives under the Leg's roof, are conniving but they are not very smart, in my humble opinion. They always have the advantage of using the power of their offices to coverup & manipulate but to further their private agendas NOT British Columbians.

BC Mary again:

Nobody picked up on this paragraph, where Bill Tieleman writes [guesses?] that "it simply seems to mean" that "the firm is acting as Special Prosecutor" but then he stretches the point even farther by saying that "Janet Winteringham, who is not even part of the Berardino's firm, is also ... acting as part of the SP team" ... how weird. Look again:

Thirdly, David Harris is a law partner of Berardino and was originally appointed Special Prosecutor, with Berardino later taking over. Nothing unusual here. Andrea Mackay, also with the firm, has taken over the case at times in Berardino’s absence. It simply seems to mean the firm is acting as Special Prosecutor. Janet Winteringham, who is not part of the firm, is also a senior lawyer acting as part of the Special Prosecutor team.

We've grown accustomed to NOT knowing if our very special Special Prosecutor is even going to make an appearance in this important case in B.C. Supreme Court. Nobody asks. And nobody ever explains where Bill Berardino -- our specially appointed Special prosecutor -- is. I've often thought how disrespectful that is toward everyone connected to or concerned with this case.

I absolutely do NOT understand how Berardino's firm could act as Special Prosecutor. Law firms run to many, many persons. Dozens, sometimes hundreds. And this is a complex case.

But I had no idea that Janet Winteringham, who often steps up in Bill Berardino's place, has not even that much of a loose connection to our actual Special Prosecutor.

So where did Winteringham come from anyway? Was the appointment for an individual? - or for the firm? - or for anyone else Berardino decides to shove into battle when he's out defending cigarette companies?

Bill, here's another question: Is Case #23299 being handled properly? Serious.


Bill Tieleman checks in again ... and says:

Thanks for posts on this debate.

Regrettably, I simply do not have time to respond at this point and may not be able to for a day or two.

I will simply say this - I have helped uncover and report many important pieces of information about this complex case.

And I am a very notable critic of the BC Liberal government who pulls no punches.

So if I felt that the prosecution and/or the government were involved in a serious conspiracy to secretly destroy evidence and create a special team to hide the facts, I would have said so a long, long time ago.

And I have never said this case was being handled "by the book"!!

Rather, I have repeatedly shown that some of the RCMP's actions are highly questionable, if not downright improper, based on testimony and facts.

Lastly, I think the facts speak for themselves about problems in this case without presuming clandestine shredding of unknown evidence and other conspiracies.

I regret if anyone took offence at my questioning their conclusions but that is also my job, as it is in Courtroom 54.

See you there soon!

Many thanks, Bill. It was good to have you here to take part in this discussion. It helped each of us strengthen our understanding of this important trial. We reached no conclusions but sometimes it's important just to ask the right questions. Certainly, no offence was taken by any of us here, and certainly none was intended. Quite the opposite. We'll be reading every word you report. Stay strong. Thanks again!

- BC Mary.


Kootcoot from the House of Infamy has written about Bill Tieleman's commentary too. Koot's essay is called "Another One Bites the Dust".


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Before police raided the B.C. Legislature, there was time to destroy evidence

By Three Concerned Canadians

During the month of December 2003, key people in the B.C. legislature knew that an unprecedented police raid was coming. The public ever since has been asked to assume that the Campbell government and staff sat meekly for 28 days, doing nothing to protect themselves. We question that assumption, in the light of the Special Prosecutor's continuing refusal or inability to disclose documents required by the Basi, Virk, Basi Defence.

Dec. 1, 2003 - B. C. Attorney General Geoff Plant is told by his staff that a case requires the appointment of a special prosecutor and may involve a search of the B.C. legislature.

Dec. 7, 2003 - Mandeep Sandhu is elected to the executive of the Liberals in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.

Dec. 9, 2003 - Police raid Mandeep Sandhu's home in Saanich. Police question Sandhu and seize a computer. Sandhu is later released. No charges are laid.

Dec. 11, 2003 - William Berardino is appointed special prosecutor to oversee an investigation involving a member of the Victoria police and appointees at the legislature.

From: IN DEPTH - B.C. RAIDS. CBC News Online, Sept 14,2004.

This CBC snippet says that the appointment of Berardino on December 11, 2003 involved a member of Victoria police (since charged and convicted of obstruction of justice); and that it also involved "appointees at the legislature". Does it matter whether the Special Prosecutor was David Harris or William Berardino? The point is: a special prosecutor was appointed without public knowledge of it. Hansard records the Opposition Leader's protests in the legislature, which will be mentioned later.

Complicating factors not yet mentioned by the Basi Virk Basi Defence team entered this scene in December 2003.

Bill Berardino was appointed by then-Attorney General Geoff Plant with whom Berardino had formerly been in practice. Is this an arm's length appointment? Or was it the basis for building a collegial team?

Special Prosecutor for the different set of events leading up to the Legislature “raids” was David Harris (p.8, item 57, Application for Disclosure). He was not at arm's length, either. Harris was the law partner of Bill Berardino. Harris was the one giving legal advice on the day of the raids. Was this a collegial team beginning its work?

And then there is the intersecting relationships between Plant, Berardino and Harris....when presto! Harris is strangely supplanted by Berardino. When? Why?

But then Harris seems to have disappeared. Bill Berardino, apparently, added matters concerning the Legislature raids to his responsibilities.

When? Why? asks Robin Mathews.

"Can we see a pattern in the extraordinary Application for Disclosure of February 26, 2007? To an average, concerned, and reasonably intelligent observer, a pattern seems to appear throughout which suggests the Special Prosecutor has been utterly unable or unwilling to fulfill his responsibilities, and that the RCMP has been careless or purposefully obstructive in producing essential materials. I would say it also reveals that the presiding judge has failed to be in control and to insist upon the speedy, competent, fair, and full opening up of materials essential to a trial of integrity." - Robin Mathews. Vive le Canada, March 5, 2007.

The word "collusion" springs to mind. In the month of December, 2003 -- even though the legislature came together on a special sitting of December 16, 2003 -- not a word was said about the appointments of two special prosecutors for two ongoing and intertwining investigations.

The list gets longer about the number of people who knew these investigations were underway before the raid on the legislature even took place. And it is really hard to imagine that the ever-controlling duo of Gordon Campbell and Martyn Brown were kept out of that loop. What it looks like -- dare we say it? -- is a team seemingly coming together ... doing what??

Now we should look at Hansard Debates.
This quote from Hansard Debates is an important part to take into consideration. MacPhail begins a series of questions about what she calls the "secret appointment" of Berardino in early December.

From line 1920 to the end of the page is very interesting - (Coleman constantly tries to skirt the issue of the exact date of the appointment of Berardino). MacPhail does remember and she is clearly tying it into a memory of a special meeting of the legislature called about the IWA.:

J. MacPhail [Leader of the Opposition]: Yes, I know. The special prosecutor was appointed in early December, and clearly, the Solicitor General is saying that the Attorney General didn't tell him anything about that. What role, if any, is then required of the Solicitor General? The Legislature was sitting while the special prosecutor was appointed. We had a special sitting to deal with ordering IWA workers back. Cabinet was meeting, the building was busy, and there'd been a special prosecutor appointed that no one knew about — no one knew about.

The Hansard debate list for December 2003 reveals that the legislators break for Christmas holidays on December 2. Hansard clearly shows them wishing each other happy holidays, the Lt-Governor Campagnolo is called in to formalize the closure of the sitting, etc.

But then you will notice a "special" return of the legislature on Dec. 16 (just as Joy said) with the forest issues clearly on the agenda. (That may have been an oh-so-convenient excuse that allowed some of the BCLibs to assemble without people wondering why. This may be cynical - but on the face of it, the people of B.C. have lots of reasons to be cynical.)

Isn't it the appointment itself, without public knowledge of it, (and taking place before the raids) that is the essential question here? And that there was time to have tampered with documents held by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport, or their Ministerial Assistants before the raid took place?

Because to launch their unprecedented raid, the RCMP had to seek the consent of the Speaker of the House in order to enter "his" House. Solicitor General Rich Coleman was aware of that.
But it is not clear why he felt he had to accompany the RCMP on a flight to Kamloops to obtain Claude Richmond's signature. What was his role in this trip? Whose side was he protecting?

So a special prosecutor could have been appointed on or around Dec. 11, 2003, which is 17 days -- more than 2 weeks -- before the raids.

This was a government 2 years into its 4-year mandate with a massive majority of 77 Members and a 2-Member Opposition. Had they grown sloppy? Possibly. For example, Notice of Application for Disclosure, para 53 ... without specifying where the information came from ... does say this: "On the application for the search warrants, they advised Mr Justice Dohm that Minister Collins was not a target of their investigation." The astute observer might doubt that such a statement could have any credence on that date (December 12, 2003).

So if they had made some errors in judgment, would a powerful sitting government be eager to help in revealing any shocking displays of its own dirty laundry? We don't think so. We think there more likely would have been an almost irresistible urge to cover up evidence.

Look: There was time. There was a motive. There was opportunity. There was a team. There was the quietness of the Legislature at Christmas when many people were off duty. Survival -- even political survival -- creates strong temptations. The human mind might well consider tampering with documentary evidence in the offices of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transport, or their Ministerial Assistants with so much quiet time before the raid took place. Who would ever know?

The facts show that the police raid on the B.C. Legislature could not possibly have been a surprise to the sitting government for a full 28 days.

The facts show that the sitting government did not maintain an arm's length approach.

Consider this, by Robin Mathews:

"More important by far are the substantial reasons Defence counsel give for the Application [for Disclosure]. I will cite only some of the most revealing ones.

(1) They state that (item 38, page 5) “On November 17, 2003, the RCMP learned through a series of intercepted communications that Mr. Basi advised OmniTRAX that Minister [Gary] Collins, [minister of finance] had authorized a consolation prize [perhaps a veiled bribe?] for Omnitrax in exchange for them staying in the bidding process…”[for B.C. Rail]. [Negotiations with OmniTRAX for the Roberts Bank spur line were terminated later on advice from the RCMP that the matter was tainted.] Minister Collins met with omniTRAX representatives on December 12, 2003, (page 8, item 62) but “the RCMP elected not to conduct any further investigation of Minister Collins”.

So one day after the appointment of Berardino on Dec. 11, Collins is meeting with Omnitrax on Dec. 12 - and even with a special prosecutor in place, and the wiretap tip about Collins and the "consolation prize".... no further investigation of Collins is decided. (And it is quickly said after the raid that no government officials are involved.)

The heart of these questions: Could such matters be causing the bewildering efforts by the government, 4 years later, still desperately seeking to avoid disclosure?

Isn't it logical to assume that the same sitting government in 2008 would quite honestly be unable to provide documents which had been destroyed in December 2003? Do Basi, Virk, or Basi know? And if they know, will they break the logjam by giving that evidence?

The people of British Columbia must judge these matters for themselves as the pre-trial hearings continue: January 18, January 28, January 29, 2008. The trial for the 3 lesser players in these scenes, may begin on March 17, 2008. We hope so.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008


BC Rail sale trial delayed two more weeks

The defence is still trying to obtain 17 documents that government won't disclose by citing solicitor-client privilege
Neal Hall
The Vancouver Sun - Monday, January 14, 2008

VANCOUVER - The pre-trial proceedings involving three former B.C. government aides accused of corruption has been adjourned until Jan. 28.

The matter was briefly in court Monday, when B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett ordered the special prosecutor to respond by Friday [Jan. 18?] to a defence request concerning documents related to the controversial privatization of the freight division of BC Rail, which was sold in 2003 to Canadian National Railway.

The defence is still trying to obtain 17 documents that government lawyer George Copley asserted should not be disclosed because of solicitor-client privilege. The defence position is the documents should be disclosed because the judge has found that they were relevant to the case.

The trial was scheduled to begin in 2005 but has been adjourned more than half a dozen times because of pre-trial disclosure problems. The new trial date is March 17.

The judge said Monday she is prepared to "sit as long as we need to" on Jan. 28 and 29 to resolve all the disclosure issues before the trial starts. {Snip} ...

MLA Leonard Krog, the New Democrat's attorney general critic, said outside court Monday that the government should disclose the 17 documents sought by the defence. Some of the documents are believed to be legal opinions concerning the sale of BC Rail operations.

"The government's position asserting solicitor-client privilege I don't find acceptable," he said.

"The taxpayers paid for those legal opinions. Claiming solicitor-client privilege is ridiculous at this stage."

Bill Tieleman:

Basi-Virk delayed yet again - until January 28

In an all-too familiar move, the pre-trial hearing on the BC Legislature Raid case has been adjourned yet again - this time until January 28.

I was unable to attend BC Supreme Court at 10 a.m. but the session was so short that there wouldn't be much more to report here even if I did.

The Vancouver Sun's Neal Hall was there and reports that Justice Elizabeth Bennett gave Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino until this Friday to respond to a defence request regarding documents connected to the BC Rail privatization.

Hall says Bennett told the defence and Crown she is prepared to sit "as long as we need to" on January 28 and 29 to resolve disclosure issues.

The trial is scheduled to begin on March 17 but an appeal by the Special Prosecutor over Bennett's ruling that the defence could be in court to hear testimony from a secret witness could - guess - delay it again.