Thursday, February 28, 2008

 

Vaughn Palmer weighs in ...

.
Legislature raid case provokes a departure from tradition

Vaughn Palmer
Vancouver Sun - Thursday, February 28, 2008

VICTORIA - Deputy attorney-general Allan Seckel issued a rare statement this week ... {Snip}

Governments can assert the privilege or waive it. But for all cabinet material arising out of the legislature raid case, the Liberals have delegated the call to Seckel.

"As a result of this exercise of my responsibility," he wrote Tuesday, "I am satisfied that as of [today] there are no documents that have not been disclosed based on any assertion of cabinet privilege."

Seckel didn't say why he had not asserted cabinet privilege. But as I understand it, the key consideration is whether disclosure would harm the public interest by revealing confidential financial information or the details of a deal that was still in the works.

As most of the documents relating to this case predate the legislature raid in December 2003, Seckel concluded there was no longer any legitimate basis for concern about untimely disclosure. {Snip} ...


Over to you, Mr. Krog. He spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon after the Seckel letter was released to the public.

"I accept the face value of Mr. Seckel's reply," the NDP MLA told reporters. "I had no intention to attack his integrity."

As for Illington, Krog believes she is "an outstanding public servant," and "she would do absolutely the right thing."

So if Seckel is clean and Illington is clean, where's the opening for any political interference in the withholding of documents?

There was "the process" itself, Krog replied. Plus the Liberal delay in sharing information with the public. And the prospect, acknowledged by Seckel, that some material may be withheld on grounds of solicitor-client privilege.

On the latter point, Seckel says "there has been no attempt by anyone to influence my decisions on legal privilege, either."

Not good enough, Krog insisted. He says he may lay out his concerns in a return letter to Seckel, thus providing another episode in this never-ending story.

But in my reading, the deputy attorney-general's letter has diminished one of the outstanding concerns in this case, that cabinet secrecy would be invoked to prevent evidence from being aired in court.

vpalmer@direct.ca

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=e1742d10-fdf1-4057-acd6-4388f337ba2d

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Comments:
Express Collision Shop Said,

"Can anyone shed light on the hard drive at the registry?" "That's about the last place it should be."
asked Judge Bennet.

Who I ask,besides the special crown prosecutors would know that these emails would be at the registry? The Judges are even stumped. I believe we have some short term memory problems with all involved. I have some memory problems too. Can anyone help me with this. Would anyone else besides the special crown prosecutors know about this hard drive? Would the government lawyers know? or anyone else involved?

Still searching for answers
 
How about Judge Dohm who vetted all the boxes first, after the Raid?
 
& BTW, Vaughn: . . . . "So if Seckel is clean and Illington is clean, where's the opening for any political interference in the withholding of documents?"

. . . . the operative word is "if",.

I'm not so easily accepting as you, Vaughn, based on the high level attempts to coverup the truth to date & just WHO is making key decisions with the high political stakes/taxpayer interests at issue with this BC Rail & Raid trial. But I don't write for Canwest. It sure must be painful at times.

I'll be interested in seeing Krog's reply to his "face value" acceptance of Seckel's letter.

Can we take Seckel's assurances re: his somersaults to assure British Columbians that his sorting of these political Govt. files have NOT been part a backfield in motion?

As I understand the Govt. system - the only 'apolitical' branch of the AG that is is Criminal Justice.

Why isn't the Criminal Justice Branch more involved with the Special Prosecutor instead of the Dep. AG Seckel & George Copley - both receiving instructions from the Executive Council: read Premier Campbell????? Why the detour?

I just read the post by 'Anonymous February 27, 2008 3:06 PM' re: Seckel's past "decisions"/judgements as a private sector lawyer pre his Dep AG rise in the ranks - YIKES!

How DID Seckel land in the AG post? What law firm did he come from? Seckel's duty to his clients seemed to exit stage left.

I for one will keep Mr. Seckel under a magnifying glass re: how his "judgement" operates and the level of the 'sniff test' that satisfies Mr. Seckel while he sorts govt. files. P-L-E-A-S-E.

Does anyone have any answers to my questions above or to this questions asked re: the startling issues raised by Anonymous on Feb. 27th?

Finally, I agree with you, BCMary/Prof. Robin, that this limp noodle legal manoeuvre of Judges like Bennett making Orders then allowing those Orders to lapse into contempt of court without Citing the persons refusing to follow the Orders - is becoming tired if not verging on corrupt in itself.
 
First Mr. Smyth, now Mr. Palmer....Looks like the punditry have decided to buy in to Mr. Campbell's limited hangout otherwise known as 'cabinet' privilege.

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Re: Judge Dohm's 'vetting' of outstanding Emails that Judge Bennett now thinks are important, some of which are, apparently, still hidden under the 'solicitor-client' privilege umbrella, here is a tidbit from a Mr. T. post from three weeks ago:

The defence was previously seeking access to 17 B.C. Rail-related emails but Copley acknowledged in court that there are far more over which the government is claiming either solicitor-client privilege or cabinet privilege.

(Defense lawyer Kevin) McCullough again criticized the lack of disclosure to the defence.

“This process has fallen down so badly that we have 100 to 140 emails that no one has reviewed,” he said.

At one point Bennett contacted Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm, who initially authorized search warrants for the Legislature, to see if he had reviewed them. Dohm had not.

 
"As a result of this exercise of my responsibility," he wrote Tuesday, "I am satisfied that as of [today] there are no documents that have not been disclosed based on any assertion of cabinet privilege."

And Mr. Campbell obviously never misled the Legislature, Berisoff said so! The obvious next question after the statement quoted above is:

If it isn't "cabinet privilege, then why are there so many documents that HAVE NOT been disclosed? Or is it just a case of general, unspecific obfuscation?
 
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