Monday, January 07, 2008

 

More delays ahead in Basi-Virk case

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Paul Willcocks
Special to Times Colonist
Monday, January 07, 2008

More troubling developments in the Basi-Virk government corruption case. It's been more than four years since the raid on the legislature and the RCMP's warnings about the reach of organized crime. Things have dragged terribly.

Now, the special prosecutor appointed by the Attorney General's Ministry has taken his battle to have a witness testify in secret to the B.C. Court of Appeal. The trial date was set for March; that's now unlikely. {Snip} ...

... the appeal raises fairness issues. Prosecutors can spend endless amounts of public money on hearings and appeals; defendants are mortgaging their futures to pay their legal bills. For the prosecutors, delays have few consequences; for defendants they mean more months or years with unproven criminal charges hanging over them.

Another big issue is about to break. Premier Gordon Campbell promised complete co-operation with the investigation.

But now the government is arguing some documents should be kept secret, even though they are relevant to the case.

The government is citing lawyer-client privilege to keep the information secret. Anyone has a right to keep conversations or written communications with their lawyer secret. That's considered one of the protections needed to allow people the right to a proper defence. {Snip} ...

The Campbell government's effort to withhold evidence is a big mistake. The other interesting development comes courtesy of Bill Tieleman, columnist for 24 Hours, a free Vancouver newspaper. Tieleman, who has done a first-rate job covering the trial (and who is also a New Democrat), did a freedom-of-information request for the notes of a government public affairs staffer who had been monitoring the trial daily.

There's nothing wrong with that. Given the nature of the case, the government has reason to want to know what's going on. But there are a couple of problems. Attorney General Wally Oppal offered some quite goofy reasons for the premier's office watch on the trial when the news broke. The staffer was there to help the media and the public, he suggested. The FOI response shows that was not true.

And the documents Tieleman got were censored, with sections whited out. If taxpayers are paying for a government worker to report the trial, surely they have a right to the information.

This is all getting awfully messy. And much muckier days are ahead.


Full story at:
http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/sports/story.html?id=78c0ca57-3c4a-4aa2-9d51-18e4961eaa3c

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A comment from G West:

Remember that statement of Keith Baldrey's Mary?

The latest delay results from the Crown appealing a ruling that the defence can sit in the courtroom and hear secret testimony from a secret Crown witness. [Burnaby Now - December 29, 2007]

It's posted right here on the website.

I wondered then, and ask directly now, how Keith Baldrey had the information to make such a definitive statement more than a week ago and before any such information was disclosed in the media?

There is something rotten in the state of Denmark and in the province of BC.

Either someone is feeding information to Baldrey from the Prosecution - or someone outside the Justice system is determining the actions of the people in charge of this case.

Neither of which prospect makes me comfortable…in fact, quite the contrary.

I think a lot of work for pay journalists read your work Mary. Keep an eye on the IPs in the next few days, I bet there will be a lot of them originating at BC Systems Corp.

I just wish some of them would start asking their colleagues what exactly is going on here.

I think the people of BC deserve answers now - and not just whenever this case comes to trial.


Comments:
Remember that statement of Keith Baldrey's Mary?

The latest delay results from the Crown appealing a ruling that the defence can sit in the courtroom and hear secret testimony from a secret Crown witness. [Burnaby Now - December 29, 2007]

It's posted right here on the website.

I wondered then, and ask directly now, how Keith Baldrey had the information to make such a definitive statement more than a week ago and before any such information was disclosed in the media?

There is something rotten in the state of Denmark and in the province of BC.

Either someone is feeding information to Baldrey from the Prosecution - or someone outside the Justice system is determining the actions of the people in charge of this case.

Neither of which prospect makes me comfortable…in fact, quite the contrary.

I think a lot of work for pay journalists read your work Mary. Keep an eye on the IPs in the next few days, I bet there will be a lot of them originating at BC Systems Corp.

I just wish some of them would start asking their colleagues what exactly is going on here.

I think the people of BC deserve answers now - and not just whenever this case comes to trial.
 
I think Baldrey was just misquoting Bill Tieleman or one of the other journalists present when media lawyer Roger McConchie made his statements concerning what would happen if the media were excluded from in camera hearings. Baldrey probably didn't realize that McConchie was not one of the trial lawyers, but a lawyer representing CanWesr Global. Sloppy journalism by Baldrey, pure and simple.
 
Given the complete lack of news coverage by the Sun and the Province on this case and the fact that Keith was able to report a week ago that the special prosecutor was going to appeal Justice Bennetts' decision I don't think there can be any doubt as to: (a) the political bias of the CanWest news system. or
(b)the interference of government in the progression of this case.
There is now no doubt in my mind what-so-ever that this case has a massive cover-up going on. Anyone with half a brain can see what's happening.
And I'm sorry anon 7:32 the spin about a misquote of Tieleman or McConchie doesn't hold water. He knows full well who McConchie is. If he was present when statements were made he would have had a recorder. Or someone recording the scrum. But I have never seen him there and I don't think anyone else has either. No, he is definately being fed info from his buddy Gordo or the Premiers Office. That is the only way this could add up. And the more info he gives us the more I am heartened that this case will go forward at some point.
I personally think that the spin that comes from the Vancouver media is deliberately done to discourage others from keeping an interest in the case. Doesn't work for me. And I'm sure it doesn't work for others here either.
 
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Gary E,

Your thoughts got me wondering if this issue might be something to take up with that 11-member B.C. Press Council.

I have great respect for investigative journalism. But backroom feeds for toadies is something else.

Today might tell the story. What do you think?

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
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Anonymous 9:51,

I'm sorry to have to delete your comment as it started off in a very interesting way when you said "If only witnesses would give information to the accused so they can defend themselves ..." (I hope I got that right, from memory).

But the rest of your comment is off topic and argumentative. Not helpful to this discussion.

So I hope you will write again and stay on the topic of The Legislature Raids and the case before the BC Supreme Court right now.

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I agree Mary. I also have great admiration and respect for investigative journalism. My whole problem these days is that the only investigating journalist I see is Bill Tieleman. He is the only person doing any kind of footwork in this case. Everything else I read seems as if it comes from a journalism pool. And guess who the only one reporting is? We, as people outside the lower mainland,(and maybe some within) are getting a world of information from your blog and a few others. The mainstream of info coming from Bill. Although I see G West is doing a great job from his end.
Your site, Mary, has provided us a wealth of information with the help of a few others. But even some of the information we get here appears to be taken from you and re-spun by the MSM. So toadies is the word. Anyone can do that kind of work.
The only other journalist from the Vancouver area (where court is being held) that seems to be doing a little extra is Michael Smyth. Or is he in Victoria? And that is not really coming in print so much as when he is on CKNW covering for Bill Good.
I think that press council may be the way for the public to go. But do we know if anyone would sit up an listen?
As far as today telling the story. I'm not so sure. I remember back last April when Justice Bennett said "the publics interest is paramount" What happened there? More and more every day we see another stall or gag order or non reporting of pertinant facts.
Where the hell is Jack Webster? I'm sure Bill could use some help.
 
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That was an odd thing Paul Willcocks said about Bill Tieleman, wasn't it?

That part about Bill doing a first-rate job on the Basi Virk story but that he's also a New Democrat.

Have you ever seen a journalist identified in print by his political party membership? Like: Vaughn Palmer (also a Reform/Alliance), Or Keith Baldrey (Socred/Liberal), and like that?

Should that be part of a news report?

And if so, why?

If Paul Willcocks is suggesting that a journalist can't write good stories if he votes NDP ... how does this work for all the journalists who seem to be from the BC Liberal contingent?


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Mary. Over the last few years I have noticed one thing that really stands out. That is that when ANY information is let out by the Liberals in name only they will invariably attach the sayings "he/she is also NDP" or "just look at the Fast ferries shrink wrapped on the north shore".
They seem to be trying to make a dirty word out of "NDP". Or attempting to steer the public to some fault made out to be the NDP's. What they don't tell us is that they stole the party from a man who worked damn hard resurrecting that Liberal party from the ashes. Gordon Wilson. Campbell and his cronies saw a victory at hand so they changed to Liberal from Socred. Same thing actually. Then when they came to power they deliberately turned down sales of the fast ferries and kept them from being re-engineered just so they could shrink wrap them and say "look what the NDP did." But I would have expected no less from a man I once watched acting like a spoiled obsessed child whose sole purpose in life was to defeat the NDP. He succeeded. But almost everything that he promised he lied about. And the biggest lie of all was "I will not sell The Railway". The happiest day in my life will be the day the electorate wakes up and kicks his sorry ass out of office.
 
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Gary E,

That surely was was a sad, bad time in B.C. politics when West Coast headlines were screaming about Gordon Wilson and Judi Tyabji.

Sometimes it's a thin line between neutrality and bias, so I think we'll have to save our political views for another time, another place, and concentrate our minds on the central issue of this web-site: BC Rail and the Legislature Raids.

If the trial of Basi Virk and Basi is brought to its logical conclusion ... and if we eventually understand what led to the sale of BC Rail and the way it was sold ... then I think we'll understand a lot of other essential things about the provincial government as well.

That's why I really wish that cameras could be installed in Judge Bennett's courtroom so that all British Columbians, no matter where they live, can watch the process of opening up that BC Rail transaction.

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Hi Mary,

Has a request for cameras for Studio 54 been made already and Judge Bennett has turned it down? Or has she said something to make you think she'd be less than interested in having it televised (you tubed:) for the people of BC? Do we know the process?

I don't have a tv (correction, I have 2, I don't have cable) but I'd have it taped for me daily somehow if I could.

How do we approach Madam Bennett on this, for the people of BC? I know there are a lot who would watch, a tremendous lot.

It's the same as going downtown and being a live interested body in the courtroom. I wish I could. It's not so far really but I can't afford 2 zone bus tickets every day. I am supposed to get a break on a monthly pass but I have to pay for it first and then get something back. I think that's how it works. I'm not so good at this disabled gig yet. Fibromyalgia sucks, but I can sit and take notes just fine if I could just get there.

But by the time the trial does start, hopefully I will be sorted out a bit and can dance at the Studio too. In the meantime I read and I listen and I read some more. I made a list of names of people involved, one way or another, one degree or another, it is amazing how many people have dipped their fingers into this pie and left crumbs on their chins.

Oh yes, I'm also surprised that Paul Willcox would ID Bill as an NDP member. I'll need to find the article but unless it was actually pertinent ie. all the clubs Bill has belonged too; boy scouts, DCDT etc.

Here's to a good and happy and proactive 2008. May all the bad guys get shown up for what they truly are, and true rewards and great health for our good guys and heros.

Geo
 
Mary, I agree with you about:

"That surely was was a sad, bad time in B.C. politics when West Coast headlines were screaming about Gordon Wilson and Judi Tyabji."

I guess we don't hear much about Gordo and whomever, and the divorce and the love-child etc. because most of the reporters (sic) who get published seem to be:

"the journalists who seem to be from the BC Liberal contingent?"

And thus this WHOLE subject is treated as a family secret.

Even if Paul Willcocks (who is playing fast and loose with the credibility he has earned with me in the past) thinks party affiliation is only relevant if it is from the NDP (which must stand for the Natural Devil's Party, according to what I hear and read).

I find it interesting that Wild Bill Berardino can get things together in a week PLUS a couple of days. Jeeez, one would have thought a week AND a day or two would have been available sometime in the last FOUR years, but then IANAL!
 
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I looked it up. IANAL is NetLingo and it stands for:


A disclaimer which is usually followed by a legal opinion, you may see it as " IANAL, but I think you may have a case against him."

www.netlingo.com/lookup.cfm?term= IANAL


Koot, I've done my homework. Now it's your turn -- tell us when your Gyro honours will be announced at House of Infamy, OK?


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