Friday, February 08, 2008

 

B.C. Rail trial openness needed, says Victoria Times Colonist, Feb. 6, 2008

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Editorial

After police swept into the legislature seeking evidence of corruption in the B.C. Rail sale, Premier Gordon Campbell promised the government would co-operate fully with the investigation and be "open and transparent."

But four years later, and weeks before the trial is scheduled to start, his government is still fighting to keep evidence secret.

Not just material that might be relevant or that is being sought as part of a fishing expedition by the defence.

Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who has reviewed some of the potential evidence, says it has "significant relevance" to the trial that she is supposed to preside over next month. One e-mail could affect the finding of guilt or innocence, she said last week.

Yet the government is arguing that it has the right to keep this evidence -- almost 100 e-mails -- secret. It is claiming lawyer-client privilege, a legal principle intended to ensure that people can communicate freely with their lawyers without fear that any conversations or letters will later be used against them.

The principle is important to protect the rights of the parties in a legal case. But there is no requirement that solicitor-client privilege be maintained; it is not law. The government is not a defendant in these proceedings.

It could choose to be open, transparent and co-operative and provide the evidence.

Instead, it is seeking to withhold the evidence.

Bennett will likely make a decision after a hearing scheduled for Feb. 18. She can order the evidence produced if the defence lawyers convince her that continued secrecy creates the risk of a wrongful conviction.

But it should not be necessary for those arguments to be made or more time taken in simply attempting to have the evidence produced for the court.

The Crown's failures in this case, particularly in not meeting its legal obligations to disclose evidence, have already created significant delays.

Those have been unfair to all involved, particularly the defendants and British Columbians waiting for answers.

By fighting to keep evidence secret, the government is adding to those delays.

It is betraying the premier's promise of full co-operation.

And it is creating the appearance of a coverup.

The government should abandon its attempts at secrecy, waive its claims to privilege and release the evidence.

The court could then do its job, the three defendants can receive a fair trial and the public can finally get answers.


Posted in full by kind permission of Times Colonist Editor-in-Chief, Lucinda Chodan.

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Comments:
It isn't ground-breaking, what Lucinda says here. What is ground-breaking is the fact that a Can-West Paper is treating (at least for a day) the Raid on the Legislature and the resulting on again/off again legal dance as the significant, relevant, yes important news that it always has been. The next thing you know the T-A might be thought of as a newspaper, rather than an info-tain(ted)ment rag.

Has the Emperor realized he (or she) is naked after all this time of telling us about the new outfit?
 
There was an 'interesting' conversation on CBC AM (Victoria) radio this morning between Elizabeth Cull, Bob Plecas and Clark Roberts concerning the Basi case.

Roberts mentioned he's representing Collins and made much of the fact that Collins is nothing more than a 'witness' in the proceeding!

Plecas accused Carole James of 'politicizing' the affair by suggesting the Premier should direct his minions to release the emails and hinted the judge is about to throw the whole thing out.

Cull was ...confused.

I wish I could have phoned in a couple of questions - not least something about the fact that George Copley is rumoured to have been nominated for a certain award....

More later
 
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Serenity now ... Serenity now:

Bizarre indeed, when somebody like Bob Plecas can twist the facts so hard that the gentle Ms James' little press release is bandied about as "politicizing".

Clark Roberts, eh? Would he be the "Clark" in that fictional transcript of a conversation between the BC Premier and someone named "Clark", on Bill Tieleman's web-site? Good one, it was.

So give us a break: how about asking that big question here and now ... about George Copley and a rumour of an award?

I have a feeling it's worthy of a headline, right?


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My understanding Mary, is that George Copley, Esq., QC has been nominated for the Premier's Award in the 'legacy' division.

You can read about the award here:

http://www.bcpublicservice.ca/premiersawards/awards/legacy.htm

And, curiously enough, this self-same George Copley hasn't been a member of the civil service for some time.

George Copley retired from his position with the Attorney General’s Ministry on April 1, 2007and yet he has now been nominated as a Regional finalist for the Vancouver Island Region for the Premier's Award in the Legacy category.

A little strange - considering he's not even a regular member of the public service anymore and now serves solely to advance the arguments and the interests of the Executive Council in Elizabeth Bennett's Court.[Authority - ORDER IN COUNCIL 184 Statutory Authority: Public Service: The effective date for the retirement of George Copley as a public service employee is April 1, 2007]

Funny that he'd be tagged for the reward this year, isn't it? You think maybe he'll win?

Perhaps they'll have a picture in the press of Campbell giving him the award - just like he did to a group of highway workers last year....Remember?

Anyway, I'd very much like to hear Bob Plecas 'opinion' about such a strange set of coincidences, wouldn't you?
 
Lucinda 'gets it' - well done!

Noticed Keith B. wasn't on with Billy on the so called 'Cutting Edge of the Leg' - which has grown dull.

Maybe Keith ran away with his tail between his legs for writing such a silly spin in his recent column. He's the guy who is supposed to get the inside edge on the news from the Leg . . . what is he doing googling for it!! Oh well, at least your brain cells got a work out on BC Mary's site!

Time to sharpen up boys & start discussing the real issues that stand like a herd of elephants in the room.

I gave up years ago phoning in to the show: after one gets the third degree by the Producer on what you want to speak about, seems one is left hangin' to dry if it doesn't fit to Good's agenda - pathetic, really LOL.

I used to respect you, Keith until you lost your 'edge' many moons ago.
 
Members of the public think they are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, my survey of Provincial and Supreme court determinations reveals that Charter defences are only granted in 1 of every 20 applications. The Appeals Court rubber stamps lower court findings.

Prior to constitutionalization of the Charter, propaganda said that it would limit government power to abuse people. I kept every Charter brochure handed out prior to April 17, 1982. But what has happened? The Charter is an instrument of government for government. The Ontario judge who tossed charges against 6 Toronto cops did so after 1 suspect filed a 2-foot tall factum on Charter defences. Reminder: most of the 100,000,000 innocent civilians who were murdered by governments in the 20th century, were either murdered by or on the orders of officers of the court. Yet, the Charter protects only government workers.

Do Big Media and the Courts respect the rights of private individuals whose rights are violated? Hardly, for 2 days the Sun and Province have been vomiting outrage about a Supreme Court judge who issued a rare Section 8 toss of evidence, based on illegal procedures by Surrey cops. The case is on-line. At trial, the lead cop admitted that Surrey RCMP has no policy requiring prior "surveillance" and "risk assessment" of suspects, and possible accomplices. They entered that residence blind to what was before them, and made a "violent arrest." The cop admitted that he omitted to record the time lapse between "announcement" and "entry." And his testimony was inconsistent. The target testified that he was at the front door preparing to open same when the cops broke down the side door. Remember: cops had no idea who they would find in the residence. All Crown prosecutors would say is that subjective cop accounts of the "announcement" founded an alleged "presumption" that they were "denied entry." Unless the court determination is full of BS, only the morally bankrupt would ascribe propriety to the police conduct.

Who wants to hand cops uncontrolled powers to enter private residences while waving firearms? For all the Surrey cops knew, a baby sitter was on site.

Again, Canadian cops deliver per unit work product of 1 convicted person per month, and 1 incarcerated person per year. Who wants to give up civil liberties in exchange for that useless protection? I sure don't.

As for "officer safety" the worst dilemma that a cop faces on the average shift is: jelly or glaced?
 
I searched for a relevant case on Crown privilege. The case attached doesn't appear to be outdated. It isn't completely related to B-V-B because concealment was based on "security" concerns. At issue was the Prime Minister's role in giving orders that were taken by police as allowing use of toxic chemicals against protesters, at the APEC Summit in 1997. Later, after a Commission study, several cops were found to have violated the constitutional rights of protesters. Several law suits against the government were abandoned after the Hughes Commission's partial whitewash.

http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/en/2000/des-2-99_8517/des-2-99.html

I should add that none of the petitioning parties were under criminal charges, so answer-in-defence wasn't invocable. Still Liz Bennett will probably have to refer to the case.

For the record, I suspect that PM Chretien gave at least tacit support to the use of toxic chemicals. He is shielded from justice.
 
Sorry. Can't resist this Google War, because ANYONE can verify it.

Keith Baldrey: 1380 hits

Anne Mullens: 1190 hits

BC Mary: 5260 hits

Baldrey isn't making much of an impact on the huge audience that he has been permitted to perform for.
Anne Mullens nearly tops hubby Baldrey. Hey Keith: This page says your spouse was a PAID Liberal government worker, at least. You would have had an familial interest in her keeping that job. No conflict?
http://www.leg.bc.ca/CMT/37thparl/session-3/health/hansard/t21024p.htm

Enjoy your victory Mary; you operate anonymously and don't have your mug on Global TV, and you still whip Keith.
 
anon 10:06pm
Nicely done!

That's actually very funny.

I've often thought Keith seemed to be getting his information from the inside; how else could anyone that clueless always appear on TV waving hot copies of every new government plan or initiative?

I don't know who looks worse, Baldrey or Gordon? You can only fool the people for so long - begins to look as though the BCLiberal string has nearly run out...
 
annonymous - 2-8-08 7.54 p.m.
quote "Again Canadian cops deliver per unit work product of 1 convicted person per month and 1 incarcerated person per year - Unquote
Where in the civilized world did you come up with this crap. Please produce some research to back up this barnyard statement. Jo5ey
 
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