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.
I would like to include it here as a thank you to Robin, for his attendance at court, for his incisive reporting and for the way his writing is able to smash through and penetrate a court mirror seemingly designed to confuse.
Your work is much appreciated by many of us, I'm sure, who have come to depend on the revealing court coverage at BC Mary's excellent blog.
Thanks, Mary - and thanks again, Robin:
"When we look into a mirror we think the image that confronts us is accurate. But move a millimetre and the image changes. We are actually looking at a never-ending range of reflections. But sometimes a writer has to smash the mirror - for it is on the other side of that mirror that the truth stares at us.
I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man."
The failure of the fourth estate to rise to even the most elementary and simplistic standards of critical analysis is stunning.
I cannot but recall that glaring headline - now well over a year old - on Gary Mason's interview with one of the accused:
THERE IS NOTHING TO THESE CHARGES!
I don't know where Gary is now...but I wonder how proud he'd be of that statement today.
The lies, the half-truths and the elbows in the ribs keep on rolling out of Madame Justice Bennett's court.
This was the same woman who said, just days ago, We'll sit "as long as we need to..." on January 28 and 29 to resolve disclosure issues...
Does no one give the public credit for any intelligence, any knowledge or even a decent memory?
The statement, 'As long as we need to' - like most everything else in this case - is meaningless.
This crap happened so long ago that the "prodigal" hard drive that turned up today was probably out of a 286 with .5 MB of storage (run by a processor humming along at less than 10 MHz.
This legacy machine probably still has more "intel" resources than the failed sports writer, Gary Mason. Thank the lord Gary ain't building buildings with masonry, they would fall down and hurt people. Sticks and stones may break our bones but GM couldn't write his way out of a soggy paper bag!
BTW - guess who the judge that ruled on the injunction affecting the Glacier/Howser Creek IPP access road worked for before he was on the bench of the Supreme Court? This relates to a story over at the House of Infamy from October 2007 called One One Justice System for All, Apparently Not - particularly part two sub-titled "On the Other Hand."
Perhaps I should disclose here that Bill Tieleman called me on this story almost as soon as I posted it, because it wasn't really important, or comparable, according to Bill, anyway. Well, it's the same Gordo Gang following the same empty failed ideology and trying to give our money and resources to their cronies as the BC Rail case is appearing more and more to be each day. It also questions the levelness of the justice system and how it treats most of us compared to THEM.
I've never thought that Dave Basi (and probably Bobby Virk - I haven't quite decided about Aneal Basi) is blameless in this.
I think there's 'something' to these charges all right and I'd be more than happy to have the allegations tested in court...but, the real question is not so much about what the boyz did - but under whose direction and control they acted.
Do you think for a moment that these guys are/were exceptions to the Campbell rule of management?
You know the one - dating back to the earliest days - that directed every minister of the crown to step back and be a good little cipher while Martyn Brown put in Campbell's chosen team of OIC appointments in every ministry – corporate vice-presidents I’d call them.
The one that says the 'boss' pulls all the strings and that ever one of his ministers better remember that and not start acting as if they had any authority.
Because I don't - Basi and Virk were Campbell operatives and Nuremburg established forever the principle that it's not just the foot soldier who will take responsibility. Dave Basi and Bobby Virk were loyal foot soldiers.
Are they still?
I really wonder; if they were, I think they’d have done a deal and fallen on their swords for the glory of the king before now.
I think the recent heavy hitting by a old actor called George Copley (the same George Copley who told the court last spring that he’d released ‘everything’ to the court) indicates quite clearly that the Boyz are on their own and they’re not batting for the Campbell team any longer.
Now Erik Bornmann, that's another matter, I think it's almost certain that he's being 'protected' because he knows where the real goods are hidden; he was the paymaster and the capo di tutti capo 'needs' him onside if and when this really comes to trial.
There's plenty to these charges...and don't forget the Elmhirst/ALR connection either. That little matter sits in the weeds as well and it certainly ‘does’ implicate Dave Basi.
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