Friday, February 01, 2008
Massive, precedent-setting criminal trial fizzles due to lack of disclosure
Christie Blatchford in today's The Globe and Mail has a stinging column about a dragged-out trial which has just been stayed in Toronto. Her blast is titled "Police corruption case fizzles to an expensive end" sub-titled "Crown was 'sitting on its hands rather than actively assisting the investigation,' judge concludes. And yet, this was "a massive, Canadian precedent-setting criminal investigation leading up to "the largest police corruption trial in Canadian history."
I urge readers to search out Blatchford's essay, in The Globe and Mail, Page A17, February 1, 2008, for what it can tell us about the Basi-Virk / BCRail case.
I'll just give you the line which most impressed me, where Blatchford is saying that the case against the 6 police officers was "stayed and no one will ever know whether the officers were ... as alleged ... dirty cops. "The 6 veteran officers weren't convicted. They weren't acquitted. Rather, the case against them was stayed - stopped -- because it took so long to get to trial. How did it happen?"
Here's the line: "One part of the answer lies in the criminal justice system's version of what in the real estate industry is the hard truth known as 'location, location, location'
"In the criminal courts, the comparable mantra is 'Disclosure, disclosure, disclosure', that being the prosecutorial obligation to give, and in a timely manner, the accused man (in practice, his lawyer) all the evidence police have gathered against him. The prosecutors in [this case] failed to do that."
Lest anyone imagine that the six police officers "walked away on a legal technicality, Judge Nordheimer's sharp reminder that "disclosure is not an administrative annoyance created to increase the workload of prosecutors' countered that.
"The judge frankly admitted he could 'find no explanation for the glacial progress of this prosecution' and no evidence that the prosecutors were alert to the dangers of delay and ever tried to move things along.
"Rather," he said, "the record creates an impression of compacency or perhaps a lack of awareness."
"But, continues Blatchford, "the second part of the answer is arguably found in the fact that these were no ordinary Crown attorneys from the gritty trenches of Ontario's crowded courtrooms who oversaw this screw-up, but rather those with the Special Prosecutions Unit of the Ontario AG's office, the very branch tasked specifically to handle ... the prosecution of the province's police officers charged with serious crime. In a general way, the former are the grunts of the justice system ... learning the hard way the consequences of failure.
"In the same general way, the latter are the prosecutorial intelligentsia, or perhaps the technocrats: They typically have less experience in the muck and spend much of their time in appeal courts where the consequences of losing are usually less dramatic, and less severe, than those of losing a murder trial. The unit's record in rough-and-tumble criminal court in high-profile police prosecutions is spotty at best. Certainly by Judge Nordheimer's reckoning, the trio of prosecutors headed by Milan Rupic, the director of the Special Prosecutions Unit, seemed perilously, even carelessly unaware of the importance of their disclosure obligations."
Interesting, eh? Especially the Special Prosecutors. Our Bill Berardino, who celebrates his 68th birthday on July 29, is "a member of the Hunter Litigation Chambers established in 2006 as a 'litigation boutique' (14 members) formed by the merger of Berardino and Harris with Hunter Voith Litigation Counsel which practices in the following areas of law: Civil and Criminal Litigation, Arbitration and Administrative Law. The firm practices exclusively in the field of litigation and dispute resolution." [From Canada.lawyers.com]
Wouldn't you think that proven criminal lawyers would be absolutely essential as Special Prosecutors for such an entanglement of high-profile issues as the BCRail case? This isn't a "dispute" in need of "resolution", for cryin' out loud. The Ontario corruption case gives the appearance of an intentional failure. Lawyers would know: is this how these embarrassing trials get set up? - BC Mary.
As for the Toronto case, I lived there when the "Fink Fund" scandal broke. Cops were accused of pilfering only $11,000 from the fund, thus one would think that simple examination of their accounts would be enough to put the issue before the court. Cops insisted on conducting worthless interviews with everyone who might shed light, and endless Voir Dires polluted the useless evidentiary hearings process that followed to the delight of lawyers. Further, Toronto Police Services cops were accused of stealing from arrested persons. Either they did or they didn't. All that needed to be done was to determine if cops had a spike in personal income or spending. Without that proof, accusations were hollow, although the public airing certainly deterred further cop theft.
I haven't sat in arraignment court in Vancouver's Main Street court in over a decade. However, I recall repeatedly seeing prosecutors read from half page Form 1 police reports. Based on same, a target could spend the rest of their lives behind bars; the process is anything but impartial. Elitists who are accused of high crimes, receive exhaustive exculpatory evidence gathering service, at public expense. The more paper, the more concealment issues that may arise.
Anyone who doubts the ease in understanding the simplicity of Crown Counsel's charge standards may examine their "Manual" at the Smithe Street Law Library. As for cop arrest standards, most carry Carswell's "Police Officers Manual," which presents the elements of each offence. It isn't Rocket Science. Cops construct tangled weaves, so these unravel their usurpatious private agenda.
My belief is that obstruction of justice by BC elites is systemic, and paper minefields are intentionally created to shield protected persons - including those who could implicate others in crime - from justice.
It is a high crime for any person to intentionally falsify a statutory declaration. The Supreme Court of Canada clarified the offence in the "Wijesinha" case. Yet judges themselves routinely produce falsified judgments. As I write, the Canadian Judicial Council - a criminal organization - approaches the 10th anniversary of their move against Ontario Justice Paul Cosgrove, who dared to accuse police detectives of over 150 Charter violations during a Murder investigations. Cosgrove is now in his seventies, and there is no end in sight to that CJC atrocity. The CJC produces paper; Cosgrove produces counter paper. The real issues are lost as the public subsidizes the piecemeal overthrow of the rule of law.
I attended today's session of the Frank Paul inquiry. Cameron Ward (for the Paul family) conducted a vigorous cross-examination of Robert Rothwell, head of Vancouver Police's Internal Investigation Section, during the Paul atrocity. Rothwell admitted that VPD lied to the Paul family by saying that the man died after being struck by a car, when his death was actually caused by exposure to the elements, after he was dumped into an alley by cops while he was in a state where he couldn't protect himself. But Rothwell denied participating in the whitewash. He also admitted to producing a false report reference to a non-existent law suit by the Paul family, and using same as an excuse to conceal information from them. However, he had memory problems as to the basis of his concoction. Ward hammered Rothwell on numerous inconsistencies, all of which were explained by memory lapses over time. However, Rothwell was quick to deny that VPD has a "culture" of coverup and whitewash.
Note: with no basis in necessity, Sherrifs at the Inquiry insist that observers remove coats and personal items and place them in a controlled closet. That is done to show the below the law class, that we are under THEIR intimidation regime. Reminder: Hitler lost World War 2.
In the Conrad Black case, American prosecutors focused on what could be easily proved. Canadian prosecutors follow the cop imposed paper minefields, placed to defeat justice. See below only a PARTIAL list of results of published Motions hearing results (unpublished findings are in the dozens; a complex Motion hearing in BC costs $840 per half day). The Toronto cops are certain to recover costs and legal fees.
The Basi-Virk case was only prosecuted because 2 police services were involved, and there was no possibility of a coverup.
Oppal - a Sikh - was appointed AG after the case arose, and it is in his personal interest to ensure that racial politics continues to pollute BC politics.
Oppal WILL tank the case by invoking executive privilege, and put the issue in the hands of the Supreme Court of Canada (circa 2011).
Basi Virk are entitled to full answer in defence; Oppal will use denial of same in order to obstruct justice. There will NEVER be a trial. The issues will fade, and the wild animals who have overthrown the rule of law will be re-elected because Big Media insists on framing issues based on elite status defence. Truth has no currency in BC justice.
Posted by Anonymous February 3, 2008 at 3:23 AM
To our learned but angry friend 3:23,
Even when you're scaring me half to death, your views are very, very interesting. Thanks for taking time to comment. Just wondered ...
Do you see any connection between what you've said about "2 police forces" ensuring "that there was no possibility of a cover-up" on the raid on the legislature ...
... and the recent unexplained actions against the Victoria Police Chief who led that investigation at first, and was co-leader on the actual raid?
If you read up on Paul Battershill, he comes across as a straight shooter, just the kind of cop we want. Recently, however, he was relieved of his duties ... something to do with personnel issues, was all they said. His credit card statements (which looked perfectly normal to me) were published. Just hints, mumblings, and oh yes, a break-in at his lawyer's office ... all of which, to my mind, simply had the effect of reflecting badly on those pointing the fingers.
So, learned friend, do you see a connection?
I don't much about the Battershill case. But police services are competitive. Burnaby RCMP caught a West Van member driving drunk; she was arrested; generally, cops don't arrest their own. At the OPCC hearings after the Stanley Park 6 incident with Vancouver police, one of the convict-cops testified that posters with his face on it with personal info, were plastered on telephone poles in his Richmond neighbourhood. He blamed Richmond RCMP.
We all need to be afraid of the fact that CJ Brenner (Supreme Court) insists on judging the first Motion hearings in suits involving private individuals who sue government. He has rendered numerous questionable judgments. Justice in Brenner's hands, is justice defeated. And when these happen up north, Associate Justice Patrick Dohm does the dirty work.
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