Tuesday, March 11, 2008

 

COURTROOM 65

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By Robin Mathews

"Premier Gordon Campbell To Be Called To Court?" That's only one of the headlines that could come out of the March 11, 2008 hearing in Courtroom 65 dealing with the BC Rail Scandal's tip-of-the-iceberg
charges against three Gordon Campbell cabinet aides - known as the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter.

But that was not the only headline material arising in the hour-and-a-half hearing attended by 10 counsel in court and about 10 observers in the gallery.

Justice critic and the NDP, were, apparently, treated somewhat less than helpfully by the deputy Attorney General when he was asked for copies of affidavits made by the Gordon Campbell government in relation to disclosure material. And so the NDP pursued the request to the presiding judge. She consulted counsel present and is releasing the affidavits to the NDP and the larger public.

Two counsel for the Defence made clear they believed that the shifts made in the disclosure protocol which had been in operation for three and a half years were political, were undertaken by the Premier without any consultation with counsel for the cabinet, George Copley, and suggest political interference with the court process.

If that, in itself, is not serious, Defence made clear that the matter would have to be litigated - which means would have to become a part of the process presently underway. From there it follows Gordon Campbell might be called to the hearings to undergo examination about the whole matter.

In a further complication, Defence alleged that the relation of the Deputy Cabinet Secretary and the Deputy Attorney General to the instructions followed by George Copley was not at all clear. At one time Copley appeared to be guided by one officer and then by another. Indeed, the interviews given by the Deputy Attorney General to the media in relation to political interference, will constitute, Defence suggested, a portion of its coming application alleging abuse of process.

As to disclosure asked for on January 4, Defence declared it unsatisfactory, and, indeed, the court agreed the March 17 meeting would be ineffective if held because the Crown has not supplied materials necessary and won't have done so by March 17, and so the next hearing date is April 14.

The one certainty that marks the procedures is delay. And the court's happy acceptance of delay is inexplicable (as I have said elsewhere). Since January 4, the documents not previously listed were raised by 457 for no legitimate reason, according to Defence. Defence Counsel McCullough expressed alarm at their appearance and the apparent nature of them. Later, Janet Winteringham, for the Crown, attempted to put his concern at rest by explaining they were mostly communications with RCMP, etc. that had been necessary to get disclosure material and such. But there were, apparently, other documents, too.

The innocent observer's question is why weren't copies of communications also sent to Defence as they were produced in order to save some of the anxiety expressed this morning?

A moment of TV-style drama occurred when Defence counsel Kevin McCullough was dealing with the secret witness speaking about two other (high Liberal?) witnesses. Spoken two weeks after the legislature raids, on January 12, 2004, the comments about two other people were described by McCullough as "very, very, very serious allegations". He was about to read some of the material to the judge, when Special Crown Prosecutor, William Berardino rose and interrupted with the effect that the paper McCullough was going to read from was handed to the judge that she might read the statements in secret.

It was at this point that McCullough reported that despite the weight of the witness statement, there was no RCMP follow up that any record shows. McCullough reiterated that the RCMP targetting of people to investigate is deeply disturbing. (I will say more about this in a separate piece.)

Defence alleged doubt about the relation of, and how much of the material seized by the RCMP has (perhaps by anyone) been seen, adding a note of darkness to surround all the activity seen in the light.

But not a lot of the activity in this matter is ever seen in the light. And the process today pushed the whole matter closer to the suspicions that have been felt and the allegations that have been made that we are seeing only a very small part of the BC Rail Scandal in court. The most important part of it, suspicion suggests, is being doggedly shielded from public scrutiny. That suspicion was actively fed through almost the entire length of the hearing today.

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Many thanks, Robin. It's beginning to sound dire, in that courtroom. Attendance is up a bit, which is surprising, given that it was hard to find confirmation of the date. Very glad you got there. - BC Mary.

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Comments:
Hi Mary,

Thank you robin for being the eyes and ears in the courtroom for all that cannot attend and thank you for making this complicated case understandable.

You are one of the true heroes in this sad mess!

W.H.
 
I read Robin and Bill T's material today and something occurred to me. This farce is again being put over for another month. That makes it approximately 1 year +/- a day or two since I sat in Courtroom 54. because of computer problems I reported my observations to Mary here on May 7,2007. Now I don't know about how the rest of you (but I sure know how Robin)feels. The answers we are finally getting after this past year are some of the same answers that were sought one year ago. One year to get answers that a justice required.
This crap flies in the face of everything I have been led to beleive my entire life. How can justice be heard, or seen to be heard when this type of BS goes on in our system.
The BC Railway was our railway. It was given to a former National Railway under dubious, no, illegal circumstances. This giveaway was condoned by the federal government. We are now seeing the fallout caused by the master plan and losing jobs here in the interior over this crime. And it is becoming more apparent every day that there is a huge cover-up going on. I personally have had it.

I am asking here if there is anyone reading this who is knowledgable in mass protests. We need one and we need it badly. This government just doesn't get it. THEY are OUR employees and THEY are not looking out for OUR best interests.
 
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We all know how you're feeling, gary e., and we're all scattered t'heck & gone around this glorious countryside.

I dunno how we organize the mass protests. I know how they begin, though: with small steps ... and we can take every possible opportunity to voice our concerns. Here's one (and don't give up, the link is right at the bottom):


CTV British Columbia

B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell speaks with Canada AM from CTV studios in Vancouver on Monday, Jan. 28, 2008.

Campbell denies interference in corruption trial

Updated: Tue Mar. 11 2008

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Premier Gordon Campbell denies there's been any political inference in the corruption trial of two former B.C. government aides.

The defence in the trial has accused Campbell of interfering in the handling of documents related to the case -- documents the defence has been trying to get its hands on.

They say last May, Campbell appointed the deputy attorney general to handle documents that had previously been dealt with by a cabinet secretary.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough calls that decision "troubling'' and he wants Campbell to testify about it.

But Campbell denies any meddling, saying the case is "unfettered'' by any political interference.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has agreed to allow the defence to submit questions on the issue to determine whether Campbell should testify in the trial of former ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bobby Virk.

They face breach of trust and fraud charges in the privatization of B.C. Rail in November of 2003, which triggered a raid on the B.C. legislature a month later.


Do you have more information for us on this story? Email us at bcassign@ctv.ca
 
As far as we know, there are four federal Liberal insiders who are supposed to testify at the Basi/Virk trial; Erik Bornman, Jamie Elmhirst, Mark Marissen and Bruce Clarke. All of these idividuals are somehow connected to former MP and cabinet minister David Anderson. Could David Anderson be the mystery witness with damning things to say about two of these witnesses?
 
I hope Anderson goes to jail. He's the puppet master. Basi and Anneal are just brown trash to him.
 
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Well, I was hoping that someone would pick up on Anonymous 11:40 and challenge the commentor to explain.

Yes, the name of David Anderson shows up now and then as mentor to various ambitious new-generation B.C. Liberals. But so???

I find the "brown trash" remark highly offensive; and the "puppet master" remark almost as offensive.

What exactly are you getting at, 11:40? Why should David Anderson go to jail????

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