Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Basi-Virk, a case that points to rot at the very core of the Campbell government

Noted in passing, this letter-to-the-editor which indicates that the Basi-Virk Trial is slowly but surely integrating its dubious values into the substance of British Columbia life. It's disturbing, it's destructive, it's gone on far too long and it must stop. Opposition critic for the Attorney General, Leonard Krog, said yesterday that there may not be time to launch the trial before another provincial election in May 2009. It's a safe bet, however, that the people of BC -- as they step into the voting booths -- will be thinking of Basi, Virk, Basi, Campbell, Collins, Elmhirst, Kierans, Bornmann, Berardino, and a dozen other players, and asking themselves if they want another 4 years of that. - B C Mary.

Cone of silence is disturbing

A letter to the editor,

SurreyLeader.com - September 30, 2008

What a sorry state of affairs when the first words out of an aspiring politician’s mouth are, “I can’t comment. The matter is before the courts.”

But that is exactly the line we are getting from Conservative candidate Dona Cadman in Surrey-North. Where did she learn the trick? Stephen Harper and his advisors of course.

Tory party flaks used it last Wednesday to explain the bully-boy tactics at the Sheraton Guildford and now Dona Cadman is using it to fend off questions about an alleged bribe offered to her late husband.

Politicians have jumped on this argument as if it were manna from heaven. What better way to avoid commenting on issues than to throw the issue before the courts and then refuse comment. We have seen this tactic from Gordon Campbell on numerous occasions in order to avoid comment on the Basi-Virk trial, a case that points to rot at the very core of his government.

And now Stephen Harper has responded to serious allegations about money offered to Cadman by his staff.

So what does Harper do? He launches a lawsuit against the Liberal Party of Canada, then has the proceedings delayed because of a federal election. An election which just happened to be called by him. What better way to fend off questioning from the media and more particularly from defense lawyers when under oath.

Now the Tories are using the RCMP to make sure the national media don’t have access to one of the key players in the “Cadman Affair,” and Mrs. Cadman is responding to local reporters with the standard “no comment.”

In the United States there are Constitutional provisions that protect the rights of freedom of speech even when matters are before the courts.

In Canada, the tradition developed around criminal cases where the right of the accused to due process of law might be subverted but now we see the courts being used as a shield in civil cases to prevent elected politicians from having to answer tough questions.

The cone of silence now surrounding the “Cadman Affair” is beginning to make me feel extremely uneasy. Like the “Watergate Scandal” of the 1970s, will the truth only come to light long after the damage has been done.

It is small wonder that the public has little trust in our elected leaders. They don’t deserve it.

Norman L. Nichols


Monday, September 29, 2008


Spec Proc to turn over privilege documents!

BASI-VIRK - Special Prosecutor to turn over solicitor-client privilege documents
Bill Tieleman

The Crown in the BC Legislature Raid case today announced it will disclose to the defence documents which the provincial government has long claimed solicitor-client privilege over.

{Snip} ...

New Democratic Party MLA Leonard Krog said outside the court that releasing the material is long overdue.

"The good news is that the Crown is disclosing the documents, as they should. The bad news is they should have done so ages ago," Krog said.

Bolton said the next court appearance will be an update Monday October 20 at 9:15 a.m.

Full story at: http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/


Political corruption case to head back to court in October
Neal Hall

Vancouver Sun - September 29, 2008

The case involving three former provincial government aides accused of corruption was briefly in court Monday to review the process of how documents are being disclosed to the defence.

The trial judge, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett, said she hopes the disclosure process can be resolved by the end of November so a date can be set for January and February to deal with the defence arguments concerning the admissibility of wiretaps and evidence obtained by police execution of search warrants, including the one on the legislature on Dec. 28, 2003.

The Crown and defence lawyers agreed to return to court Oct. 20 for an update on what undisclosed documents remain outstanding.

{Snip} ...


Just wondering: could the October 20 hearing reveal who will be testifying at trial about those "wire taps and evidence obtained by police execution of search warrants"? Could the witnesses include former VicPD Chief Paul Battershill? I kinda think that might be so. - BC Mary.

BC Rail case inches ahead

By Tom Fletcher
BC Local News - September 29, 2008

The fifth anniversary of the police raid on the B.C. legislature is likely to come and go at the end of December before the trial of three former B.C. Liberal political staffers gets underway in earnest.

And that's assuming it gets underway at all, says NDP attorney general critic Leonard Krog.

Krog attended Monday's session in the trial of Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, Bobby Singh Virk and Aneal Basi, who face charges including fraud, breach of trust and accepting a benefit in connection with the sale of BC Rail operations in 2003. The Crown agreed to turn over documents related to the police investigation to defence lawyers, but Krog says that step took so long that there is now a significant chance the case will be thrown out due to delays.

"If the defence delays, that's one thing. You're not going to get your case dismissed," Krog said. "But when it's the Crown, the RCMP, in this case the provincial government, and it all leads to the delay of a trial date, then that becomes a real issue."

{Snip} ...



Defence allowed to view documents
Pact with prosecutor could expedite trial

The Globe and Mail - September 30, 2008

It's been 1,737 days since British Columbians were shocked by the sight of RCMP officers hauling out government files and computers in an unprecedented raid of the provincial legislature in a political corruption case.

{Snip} ...

In a 14-page submission Friday to the Supreme Court of Canada, Mr. Berardino emphasized that the issue was of national importance.

B.C. courts have made a change in law by sanctioning the disclosure of an informant's identity to defence counsel at this point in a trial, he stated in response to a submission by defence lawyers. Only the Supreme Court of Canada should effect such a fundamental change to the law of informant privilege, "and only after the most careful consideration of the likely impact on the informant system," Mr. Berardino stated.

Judge Bennett set Oct. 20 as the next court date for the case. She initially had suggested Oct. 15 for an update on the process of disclosure of documents, but defence lawyer Kevin McCullough said he required more time.

New Democratic Party critic Leonard Krog said afterward outside the courtroom he was "very doubtful" that British Columbians will see the start of the trial before the next B.C. election on May 12.

{Snip} ...




Fiddling While Rome Burns

Courtroom 62.

Robin Mathews.

A beautiful Fall day. I walk past a homeless man sleeping in the shelter of my entrance gate on my way to court. Welcome to Gordon Campbell's British Columbia. The day is balmy. Courtroom 62 is clean and regal - scarlet carpets, light panelling of natural wood, North windows reflecting the rising sun from the glass highrise across the street. Male lawyers are mostly in black. (Eight counsel present) Six others sit in the gallery, among them an NDP MLA and the CanWest reporter.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett wears severely dark hair, a gray houndstooth jacket under which is a black vest and gold locket. Everything in the room is colour-coordinated and ... tasteful.

Except the events in the room. After two years of fighting about disclosure of materials needed by Defence counsel, after application upon application by Defence counsel asking for disclosure - fiddled and blocked and obstructed and apologized for, and....and... then this morning Janet Winteringham (on behalf of Special Prosecutor William Berardino) announced the availability of several binders of materials in question.

Discussion was of Boardroom meetings to go over the materials, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett - one more time - expressing a desire to fix a schedule that will work over the next months. Next "open" court appearance will be October 20.

Defence made very clear that it could not proceed with Charter of Rights and Freedoms application, nor can it proceed on the wiretap matters and search warrant matters (all calling into question the basis of the charges) until absolutely essential material is disclosed. They said, in fact, to Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett that there can be no schedule, as such, unless those things are disposed of. She agreed that is true.

At one point a well-informed attender of the sessions was being asked (outside the courtroom) by the Globe and Mail reporter why the delay has been so outrageous (nearing a five year anniversary since the search warrant raid on the legislature on December 28, 2003)? The well-informed attender listed the RCMP, the Special Crown Prosecutor, and another reason. He left out Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett who, I assert, is a key to the delay, an absolutely essential component.

Her attempt at dispassionate balance is becoming a joke - a joke which reared its head again today.
Delay was mentioned. The desire to forge ahead was mentioned by Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. In defence, Defence quite properly made the point that delay has been the instrument of the Prosecution, of William Berardino and George Copley (counsel for the Campbell cabinet) - not the instrument of the Defence which has been fighting years for mere information it must have and which Berardino and the RCMP and some government sources hold.

At which point Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett would not admit the truth that screams from every session in the pre-trial hearings. Instead, she lifted a magisterial hand in an enfolding gesture and spoke of "delay generally". The Defence, having made its point, said no more. Finally, finally (to be sure probably in the next weeks accompanied by cunning delays, missing documents, staged misunderstandings about necessary disclosure - and more - by the Special Crown Prosecutor) materials that Defence has been calling for (and that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett has refrained from insisting be brought) will be delivered up.

Already, she is designing a schedule leaning into next year. And already the mutterings are that she is - one more time - dwelling in Cloud Coocoo Land. She sat, some will remember, for almost 136 days turning over what I call non-evidence in the process that helped destroy the political career of Glen Clark and the future of the NDP. Then she declared him innocent of all charges, when I believe she should have shut down the trial early as vexatious and without merit.

If I am correct, she is working true to form in the Basi, Virk, and Basi pretrial hearings.

When I returned home, the sun had climbed a little in the sky, the homeless man had gathered his things and departed in the morning warmth, except he left a pair of cotton work gloves on the grass. I don't know how to reach him to return them. Perhaps I will send them to Gordon Campbell.

Wonderful, Robin. The velvet scream. Thank you. - BC Mary.



What I know about Battershill

Anonymous left a new comment on "Battershill saga: what happened to the police chief ...":

From what I know about Battershill. He is a honest, caring guy who is well known over the last 30 yrs of being a top notch person and a true leader.

Not only was he the best police chief Victoria ever had but most likely in the country as well. He did not micro manage and everyone had a voice. It was unfortunate he was surrounded by small minds.

It is now finally out there the complete lack of professionalism that is in the upper ranks. It is a true embarrassment to the department. The majority of the department had the upmost respect for the man. The good decent people do not run to the media to force their propoganda.

We wait and hope for the right thing. It did not happen. Instead the mayor was manipulated by the wrong people.This could have been stopped at the beginning, instead the 4 at the top have made this into a media circus for their own personal gain. Its disgusting.

The irony is that Battershill was a good guy who truly cared about people and SHOWED it consistently. They used that agaist him in the end. Shame on them.

The VICPD is completely poisened as a result of the 4. Get rid of them so the Vicpd can get on with their work.All the police board has to do is start asking the other 90% of the department. But they all know they will be retaliated against by the 4.



Posted as received, September 29, 2008. Someone risked everything, to get this message out.

The following reports are included as a reflection of the Victoria Police Department itself as it works its way through a painful transition period. They have nothing to do with former Chief Paul Battershill.

Louise Dickson's article in today's Times Colonist, Police Deputy Investigated, which mentions this blog, is at:


Canadian Press article in The Globe and Mail is entitled Second high-ranking Victoria Police officer faces Police Act investigation. Read this story at:


- BC Mary.



Today 10:00 AM Vancouver Supreme Court

So it's on again, the Basi-Virk Gong Show starring (if we're lucky) the people's advocate and Special Prosecutor (ta daaaa!), Mr William Berardino!

And presiding ... [drum roll please!] ... Madam Justice the Honourable Elizabeth Bennett!

And in this corner, wearing black robes (they're all wearing black robes) an assembly of other lawyers who will argue with the Spec Proc and the judge and with the law itself. To no avail, of course. That's what the Gong Show is all about.

Show starts at 10:00 AM sharp. Free admission. Decorum is appreciated.


Sunday, September 28, 2008


Why the Basi-Virk trial is important to us

Tomorrow, September 29, 2008 Justice Bennett and legal teams for the Crown (the people) and the Defence (Basi, Virk, Basi) will solemnly gather once again in B.C. Supreme Court, Vancouver, to pirouette around the topic of having an actual trial. It is a farce. It is disrespectful of the voting public. It is a travesty of justice. No, I do not refer to the 3 accused who have waited years to have these accusations heard. I refer to the long-suffering people of British Columbia who pay and pay, wait and wait, without knowing the simplest facts of government. It's been 5 years and 9 months since the historic police raid. We still don't know: was BC Rail sold legally, or not?What were the terms? Is Organized Crime integrated with our elected and appointed forms of government? If corruption is proven, can it be stopped or is it already too late? And why can't the Court understand the critical need to move ahead with this case? - BC Mary.

Why the trial of Dave Basi and Bob Virk is important to us

First posted here May 8, 2006 as we approached the first trial date: June 6, 2006
By BC Mary

When police entered the B.C. Legislature with Search Warrants on a quiet Sunday morning, 28 December 2003, they made history. Never before in Canada had police breached the sanctity of the people's parliament.

Public shock deepened over 6 days. TV News cameras had shown the 20 uniformed sergeants carrying 32 boxes of confidential cabinet documents away from the B.C. Ministries of Finance and Transportation. But no premier, no prime minister stepped forward to explain the meaning of this shocking event. Both Premier Gordon Campbell and Prime Minister Paul Martin simply said, "I know nothing."

Had it not been for RCMP Sergeant John Ward, the public would have been adrift. But Ward spoke directly to the people of British Columbia, recognizing the public's need to know. As if he knew nobody else would tell us much.

He said a drug probe had triggered the raid on the legislature. He said that the suspects are alleged to have been involved in an organized crime network exchanging BC marijuana for U.S. cocaine which was then sold throughout Canada. The public later learned that cocaine profits buy guns - guns for the international arms trade selling into Afghanistan for example. [Rich Coleman]

Sgt Ward estimates $6 billion a year is sucked out of British Columbia in marijuana traffic alone. Organized crime has so much cash, it's weighed, not counted; money-laundering is a major concern for the criminals.

Sgt. Ward added "... the spread of organized crime in the past 2 years has been like a cancer on the social and economic wellbeing of all British Columbians ... it has reached critical mass." There's so much more to this story.

" ... the rot is deep and ugly," wrote Robin Mathews in The Columbia Journal. "It suggests devious tampering with the very fundamentals of B.C. and Canadian democratic society."

Since the raid, almost two dozen criminal charges have been laid. Dave Basi and Bob Virk face 12 indictments, 9 of them linked to the bidding process for BC Rail operating rights. New charges have been added against Basi concerning Sooke property removed from the ALR for development. There are 10 drug-related charges against eight individuals.

David Basi, was a senior government aide to Gary Collins, Minister of Finance. Basi and his brother-in-law, Bob Virk, are charged with influence peddling, accepting a bribe, breach of trust, and 2 counts of fraud over $5,000. Basi was hoping for a Chief of Staff appointment with the new Paul Martin administration.

Aneal Basi, Dave's cousin, also faces a charge of money-laundering. It is not clear yet, if the sale of B.C. Rail was influenced or who offered money to influence the sale. The sale agreement is still secret.

Constable Ravinder Singh Dosanjh now suspended from the Victoria police force, is charged with obstruction of justice in connection with this investigation. [Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun.]

Three B.C. Cabinet Ministers have resigned (Christy Clark, deputy Premier; Judith Reid, Minister of Transportation, and Gary Collins, Minister of Finance at the time of the police raid; Clark & Collins have left politics completely, they say.)

David Basi had a top-level insider's knowledge of every decision made in the B.C. Legislature. He had influence over both the provincial and federal wings of the Liberal party in B.C. A passionate supporter of Paul Martin, he'd been deeply involved in ensuring that several B.C. ridings returned Martin delegates. Liberal membership jumped from 4,000 to 37,000., a $330,000 annual boost in revenue.

Norman Spector and Gordon Gibson both made the connection that the kind of organization employed by the Martin forces “requires minions and millions. Even if rumours of drug money prove false,” TV commentator Spector said in January 30, 2004 Sun, “$12 million is an awful lot to raise for a leadership campaign.” Spector refers to “membership lists that include dead dogs - and people who can’t speak English, haven’t paid for their membership, and don’t know they’re members of the party.”

All B.C. ridings except one were "Martinized." A former Liberal executive officer added, in the December 29 Sun, that “They wouldn’t have had Herb Dhaliwal taken out without the Basi Boys.”

Elections Canada has warned that those who engage in “bulk purchase of party memberships could face fines and jail terms of up to five years.” If that places David Basi in peril, it also places Paul Martin, Gordon Campbell, and their Liberal campaigners in peril. The electoral process itself is in peril. This is why David Basi is so important to every British Columbian. And to every Canadian.

The Liberals "admit privately, the B.C. business is a time bomb for Prime Minister Martin. Up to now, the raids have been virtually ignored by media east of the Rockies ..." [Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, 24 Feb. 04]

Properly understood, the threat is to the nation's ability to govern itself. British Columbians need to know whether Organized Crime is at work within their government.

"The topic is too radio-active to touch," one Sun reporter told me.

In his book about organized crime operating out of Vancouver, Terry Gould says " ... Interpol was now issuing warnings to the press and national law enforcement agencies that the criminal underworld seemed to be entering a new phase, one that darkly mirrored the transnational corporations leading the way in the trend towards "globalization." [Paper Fan, p.244]

Another book, The Road to Hell by Julian Sher and William Marsden, describes biker crime in Canada. To understand what organized crime means to the ordinary citizen even in Canada, these are basic reading.

The United Nations has warned the world that organized crime -- once it gains a foothold in any country -- is capable of destroying a nation's sovereignty. When that happens, the UN says there's no going back.

Citizens know there's something wrong. The public is not stupid, not apathetic. But they're frustrated when they want to find out what's really happening, and how to respond intelligently.

Saddam Hussein was arrested a week before the RCMP raided the B.C. Legislature. Was his case simpler than Dave Basi's? No. But Saddam came to trial weeks ... was found guilty ... was hung and buried ... while British Columbia still waits to hear Basi & Virk's side of this story. It's been 2 years and 3 months.

What were the police looking for when they raided the B.C. Legislature? Was the sale of BC Rail legitimate? When other public assets were sold, were those deals tainted? Can the democratic process function if the public is kept in the dark?

It looks as if the next chapter of the RCMP's historic raid will begin with the trial of Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on 5 June 2006.

Such high hopes, we had then! But we're still at the pre-trial hearing stage. Next pantomime for Case #23299 is scheduled for Monday morning, September 29, at BC Supreme Court, 800 Smythe Street, Vancouver. People should try to attend. Perhaps if the public gallery filled up, the black-robed performers at centre stage would better understand who they are working for. - BC Mary.



Victoria Police Board's Letter-to-the-Editor

Search for a new chief adheres to established process and is not politically driven

From the Victoria Police Board
Times Colonist - Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Victoria Police Board does not usually communicate through letters to the editor. Recent events and media coverage of the board suggest that a response is appropriate.

We have been variously cast as everything from rubber stamping all decisions of an uncommunicative chair, Mayor Alan Lowe, to incompetent amateurs, dabbling in worldly affairs where we lack expertise. ("Civilian oversight lacking: experts," Sept. 21.)

The extensive coverage of the Paul Battershill story has regrettably missed several foundational characteristics of the circumstances that must be aired.

{Snip} ...

We finally note the suggestion that the hiring of a new chief should be delayed until a "new" police board is in place. The suggestion is absurd. There is no "new board" in the works. The chair will change with the election of the successor to Lowe. The vice-chair is seeking re-election in Esquimalt. A new member has been appointed by provincial order in council to begin in January, replacing a board member who is completing his term. The remainder of the existing board will continue to serve until the end of their respective terms.

The process and timelines of the search committee are not politically driven, but rather follow an established process used by other agencies seeking to replace a chief constable. Furthermore, the process is led by the human resources committee, on which neither the chair nor the vice-chair of the board serve. Continuing this process in a timely manner is the most responsible course of action.

What is missed in all of this is that the citizens of Victoria and Esquimalt continue to be served by a strongly committed and dedicated police force whose hard work is all too often taken for granted or dismissed by the same media.

The police board is proud to congratulate the men and women of the department for their steadfast attention to duty during these very difficult times.

This submission was prepared on behalf of the police board by the following board members: Ralston Alexander, Lindalee Brougham, Catherine Holt, Ken MacLeod, Kathy Mick and Christine Stoneman.



Perhaps others can help me understand what these six Victoria Police Board members are getting at. "We have no role in discipline matters," says their letter-to-the-editor. Is this code, or something? Was someone found guilty of something and left unpunished? What are they talking about?

Rob Shaw's article in Times Colonist Sept. 21, 2008 spoke of the Police Board seeming unaware of the personnel problems within VicPD. This is the important issue; but their letter evades it. As if they still don't recognize that duty. .

Another example, this self-serving line: "The process and timelines of the search committee are not politically driven ..." That's almost unbelievable, in a town like Victoria, in a province like B.C. Then they use a word like "absurd" to describe the legitimate concerns of the public. This is from the "Me=good, you=bad" school of brainless debate.

I think I'd rather have seen a reasoned statement written by one of their lawyers on behalf of these six people. I think I'd rather know that Times Colonist had taken them seriously enough to invite them to comment as an editorial. I don't feel one whit better after seeing this response from the Victoria Police Board.

Something is lacking. - BC Mary


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Failures in the Battershill Case

[Click on the headline to read the original Times Colonist editorial. Sorry for the technical difficulties I'm having this morning, which you'll see in the formating of the story below. Hope to be working more smoothly later. - BC Mary.]

Yesterday, on The Legislature Raids, a cop told us how officers in Victoria Police Department feel about the big newspaper story on "The Battershill Saga". Not good at all, he said.

Yesterday, on this blog, I mentioned that I had written to Times Colonist, pointing out the errors of their ways, beginning with "Why wait a year to begin looking at this tragic situation?"

Today, as this editorial (below) appears in Times Colonist, I have to ask that question again: "What's going on, that the same TC version of this tragic situation is laid out for viewing ... one year later?" This isn't investigative journalism. This isn't even good journalism. This is a rehash of a particular point of view. It reads totally unlike the message from the VicPD cop yesterday.

Alarm bells should be ringing all over Victoria right now, just as they are within VicPD. You be the judge: is the capital city safer today than it was a year ago? Are there fewer homeless on the streets? Are the citizens better informed? And who exactly is running things these days ... is it anybody we know? anybody we elected? hired? ... or what?

- BC Mary


A series of failures in Battershill case

Times Colonist

The saga of former police chief Paul Battershill, as recreated Sunday by reporter Rob Shaw, is not merely a story of hubris, human frailty or departmental infighting.

Those were all factors. But more alarming, it is the story of an inattentive police board that failed to provide proper oversight, inadequate leadership from Mayor Alan Lowe, who chaired the board, and flawed provincial legislation that reduces the chances of proper civilian oversight of police.

The police board's performance was dismal. The members -- Lowe, Esquimalt Mayor Chris Clement, a non-politician appointed by each council and additional representatives appointed by the province -- relied almost entirely on limited information from Lowe and Battershill.

They approved severance agreements that cost taxpayers some $600,000, in at least one case without reading the agreement. That basic step could have led them to intervene much earlier, perhaps even in time to salvage the situation.

The board failed to ensure Battershill's job performance was being evaluated on an annual basis -- a requirement for the head of any well-managed organization. It was sluggish in following up reports and rumours of problems.

And it was content to rely upon assurances that nothing was wrong, rather than establish facts.

Consider the final chapter. Police board members did not read the RCMP report on the case. They relied on a verbal summary from Lowe as the basis to approve a negotiated severance agreement with Battershill.

After all the damage done to Battershill, other officers, the department and public confidence, the board members should have read the 12-page report for themselves. That's especially true given Lowe's role as both chairman of the police board and a champion of Battershill. He thought so highly of the chief that he made Battershill both chief of police and acting city manager in 2005.

Mayors and police chiefs work closely together. That raises the risk of real or perceived conflict of interest.

Again, consider two examples. In May 2007, Lowe signed a severance agreement that provided Battershill's former executive assistant with more than two years' salary. It included a secrecy clause that barred her from communicating with the police board. This agreement was approved by the board without reading it. It was drafted by a lawyer working for the department who was also in a relationship with Battershill. How could it be in the public interest to accept an agreement that prevented a departing employee from sharing concerns with police board members? Why demand -- or tolerate -- such a clause?

On Oct. 7, 2007, Lowe was briefed on concerns about Battershill -- including the relationship with the lawyer and deep distrust within the department -- by businessman Gerald Hartwig. Lowe met senior officers the next day. And on Oct. 9, he received a letter on the issues. But Lowe did not raise the concerns at a police board meeting that day, although two senior police officers were waiting to provide information.

{Snip} ...

Ultimately, this is a great loss for all concerned, not least because Battershill was in many ways an innovative and effective police chief. The force has been damaged and divided, taxpayers have faced huge costs and public confidence shaken. Reputations have been left in tatters.

The board and the province must act to ensure that such a case could never spiral so far out of control again.



"The board and the province must act ..." Note the omission. What about the media, which should be the eyes, ears, and conscience of society. The media must be held to account for the way it has failed in this case, too. Repeating the same story two days in a row -- one year after the real story erupted -- leaves more doubts than it answers in the Battershill Case.

- BC Mary.



CFAX - Sep 24, 2008



{Snip} ...

This CFAX report has been published nowhere else. Apparently no CanWest news service wants the public to start thinking that if Victoria Fire Department had any doubt about Ms Rusen's integrity, they would have hired a different lawyer. So does Victoria have a fair, impartial, all-seeing media? No, I don't think so. - BC Mary.


Monday, September 22, 2008


From inside VicPD, I think ...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Battershill saga: what happened to the police chief":

The story was read all weekend by department members. There are a couple of things really bugging people. Why do these "sources" keep going to the media ? We deal with sources all the time and the first question we have to consider is why they are bringing forward the information. Dealing with sources is never pleasant and you feel like you need a shower to get the slime off after you debrief one because they are knifing their own in the back. They never come forward because it is the right thing to do. Second, nobody knows a lot but it seems like dozens of the complaints were false and the one thing they did prove occurred years ago for a short period when he was separated and they just waited for the right time to bring it up. Maybe we're wrong about that but nobody thinks so. And why are all these civilians like Hartig involved, why would people go outside to do something like this, we never do that. The article last weekend completely pissed everybody off, nobody should have their spouse ghost writing in that way, that's just ridiculous and contrived.

We're not that happy with the leadership right now. There have been some good things happen (they do happen anyway at a street level no matter how senior management behaves) but the lack of consultation on our strategic plan was tragic. People don't feel supported and a small group definitely is in control of the department. If you don't agree with them completely you are a bad person and find out quickly there is something "wrong" with you. There are stories coming out about investigations being interfered with by senior management. If they're true, and everybody is talking about them, its really bad.

There has alway been a tension here between people from outside and people who have always been in VicPD. The jealousy goes both ways. This issue is breaking down that barrier, we're all getting really mad.

I never really dealt with the Chief much, there are a lot of people who say he was amazing when they needed his help like after a shooting or if a family member was sick. He was supposedly really fair with discipline and transfers. There are also people who felt he was getting ready to leave and that would be a good thing since he'd been here long enough and we need change at the top too.

If this keeps up in the papers the membership is going to revolt, we just want to do a good job and be left alone now.

Posted here, exactly as received this morning. Nothing added, nothing deleted.

A good friend of mine who lives in Victoria recently said to me, "Whenever I see a VicPD cruiser going by, I want to have a chat with them. Just a chat, to ask how things are going. I never feel sure how to go about that."

Perhaps the person who wrote the message above, could tell us how to go about that.

Perhaps it's up to the citizens to make our wishes known. How about a smile and a thumbs-up next time we see a VicPD police cruiser?

Meantime, I've written to Times Colonist this a.m., pointing out the errors of their ways, beginning with "Why wait a year to begin looking at this tragic situation?" - BC Mary.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


Battershill saga: what happened to the police chief


Today, for the first time, Times Colonist reporter Rob Shaw reveals the events that set in motion Paul Battershill's downfall.

Rob Shaw, Times Colonist, File
Published: Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just a year ago, Paul Battershill was the highly regarded police chief of the city of Victoria. He had a reputation as a progressive police officer -- Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe called him a "New Age kind of guy."

Then suddenly, on Oct. 11, 2007, he was placed on administrative leave, and on Nov. 6, he was suspended with pay while the RCMP investigated allegations of misconduct against him.

Eleven months later, Battershill resigned, five days before a scheduled disclipinary hearing. His resignation was accepted because the Victoria Police Board had suffered a "loss of confidence" in Battershill, Lowe said.

Until now there has never been a public airing of the allegations against the former chief. But today, for the first time, Times Colonist reporter Rob Shaw reveals the events that set in motion Battershill's downfall. Using sources who were present at the time, he has pieced together the heretofore secret events that led to resignation of the police chief.

The fall of Victoria police chief Paul Battershill started, oddly enough, at a meeting about crime in the city's downtown core. It was Aug. 29, 2007, and Mayor Alan Lowe was facing tough questions from the business community about rising petty crime and whether the police force had the money to continue boosted downtown police patrols.

Business owners told the mayor they loved seeing extra officers walk the beat to tackle the city's chronic street problems. But the mayor and the department warned that those extra bodies had to come from other units, and the budget was stretched thin.

Among those attending that night was businessman Gerald Hartwig, who owns numerous downtown buildings. Hartwig believed there was more money in police coffers than the mayor was suggesting and wondered how much had been spent on a series of severance packages for high-ranking officers in the last few years.

{Snip} ...

Some board members had already heard rumblings about what was about to occur. The rank and file of the department had expressed displeasure toward senior management and Battershill after the suicide of a constable in September, sources said. The officer had killed himself after being informed by senior managers he was to be investigated for alleged misuse of a Taser.

The suicide seemed to bring the crisis between Battershill and his senior managers to a head, even more so than the FOI request from Hartwig, sources said.

"It was precipitated by the businessman's letter, but it was on its way anyway, it was coming down the pipe," said a source with first-hand knowledge of the process.

Nonetheless, some board members expressed shock at what they heard in the meeting. Vice-chairman Chris Clement has called it one of the most extraordinary meetings he has ever attended.

In addition to Battershill's affair with Rusen, sources say other allegations heard by the board that night included:

- That Battershill had offered Insp. Cory Bond the job of police chief in the future if she supported his decision to get rid of the department's backup police boat, to save money. She interpreted this as inappropriate. The police board was unaware of the offer.

- That sometime in late 2006 or early 2007 Battershill had placed numbered locks on his office door and limited access to the office, including cleaning staff and his executive assistant. He had also placed a surveillance camera in the ceiling.

- That Battershill kept alcohol in his office, even though he knew the board had approved a policy prohibiting alcohol in the building and was waiting for the policy to receive provincial approval. Earlier that same year, 2007, he disciplined a West Vancouver constable who drank in her station and then drove drunk.

- That some senior officers were dissatisfied and worried that numerous colleagues had been dismissed without cause during Battershill's tenure as chief.

- That some officers were fearful of coming forward because they felt their careers were at risk and feared retribution by Battershill when he discovered who they were.

"It became obvious there was a severe loss of faith by senior management," said a source who was there. "Those men and women who came into the room that night were so severely concerned about the path the police department was taking that they were willing to put their jobs on the line."

Still, some of the senior officers and civilian employees had nothing bad to say when asked about Battershill and were unaware of the allegations by their co-workers. Some officers praised him, while others continue to believe certain allegations were unfounded, leaving a deep divide among working colleagues.

At the time of the meeting, the department had a deputy chief and seven inspectors beneath Battershill. Four of them - then deputy chief Bill Naughton, Insp. Cory Bond, Insp. Darrell McLean and Insp. John Ducker - refused to come back into police headquarters if Battershill remained as chief.

Shortly afterwards, in what would be one of his last public interviews, Battershill told the Times Colonist from Halifax the allegations were "wrong" and "spun" and he would address them when he returned.

The board took the ultimatum from senior staff, and their concerns about their jobs, seriously. Clement said the staff's lack of confidence in Battershill affected the board's confidence in him as well.

"You can't run a police department if your senior management refuses to show up because of their grievances with the chief," another close source said. "You do not have a police department that can function under that leadership.

"You can't ignore four of your most senior officers saying the same thing."

The eight-hour meeting finished after 2 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. "At the end of the meeting that night, everyone agreed Battershill could not come back into the building," said one person in the room. "It was unanimous."

Lowe then e-mailed Battershill to tell him he had been placed on administrative leave, with pay. The chief was barred from the building, and his BlackBerry was blocked. The news spread quickly to the Halifax conference, where Battershill was giving a presentation on effective civilian oversight of police departments.

When Battershill returned to the city days later, Lowe said the two walked along the waterfront to talk. Lowe would not say what about. He said the meeting was in keeping with his role as the board's discipline authority for the chief.

The police board was left with two options - it could do its own investigation and make a decision as Battershill's employer about whether to fire him, or it could send the matter to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner for review under the Police Act.

With its own investigation, the board could have set parameters and made its own decision about what to do with the chief. On the other hand, the complaint commissioner could provide a third-party review, and also limit whether the city and police department could be sued for wrongful dismissal.

Sources in the room say the board was divided on its decision, but ultimately chose to have Battershill's conduct investigated by the complaint commissioner.

On Nov. 6, Battershill's administrative leave was changed to suspension with pay as the RCMP began its investigation on behalf of the complaint commissioner. Naughton was promoted to interim chief, a position he has now held for almost a year.

To aid in the investigation, the board summarized approximately 13 points of concern for the complaint commissioner. However, since the Police Act deals with issues of public trust and code-of-professional-conduct regulations - such as deceit, corrupt practices, neglect of duty, discreditable conduct and abuse of authority - the investigators deemed that several of the staff concerns about personnel matters and management style were not applicable. The allegations were narrowed to seven, although the board was not told how or why, sources said.

Six RCMP investigators spent six months and 1,900 hours interviewing 37 people and examining 900 documents.

For months, the public heard nothing about the investigation, about who was interviewed, or even what the investigation was about. All Lowe said publicly was that the allegations against Battershill involved a "personnel matter."

On April 23, 2008, the RCMP submitted its final report, which concluded that only one allegation - the affair with Rusen, to which Battershill had admitted - was substantiated. The Mounties suggested Battershill be suspended. As a result, Lowe began negotiating with Battershill's legal team to schedule a disciplinary hearing, where the chief would be allowed to present his case before Lowe ruled on what kind of discipline, if any, he would impose on Battershill. Different dates came and went without progress, because Battershill requested more information and the lawyers kept negotiating details, Lowe has said.

The rest of the allegations pitted Battershill's word against that of his officers and could not be proven to a civil standard - the legal benchmark used by the Police Act, which is less than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

The complaint commissioner also didn't examine whether Battershill had lost the confidence of his police board - which it seemed he had. According to members, the board viewed the affair as a direct conflict of interest, because Battershill was having a relationship with a person he had contracted, with taxpayer money, to give unbiased advice on sensitive labour issues for his employees, sources said.

Although Rusen denied the affair to Heenan Blaikie, and the RCMP investigation determined neither party profited by the relationship, the board was angered at the poor judgment Battershill showed, sources said. "Either he was having an affair or he wasn't, but the fact he told people he was makes it appear he has a serious conflict even if he's lying," a source said.

All the RCMP's investigative work made for a lengthy final report - but the board was never given a copy to read.

Instead, members received an oral summary from Lowe, a troubling fact for many members. In addition to his close working relationship with Battershill, Lowe had also been interviewed by the RCMP as a witness during its investigation. This prompted the police board to debate numerous times, at in-camera meetings, whether Lowe was in a conflict of interest and whether it was appropriate to get information filtered through him.

Despite the board members' concerns, B.C.'s Police Act didn't allow for an alternative. Under the act, the mayor is always the police board chairman and is the only person who can discipline the chief constable. He doesn't need to get the rest of the board's consent to discipline the chief, nor does he need to share all his information with members. Currently, the Police Act does not explicitly say whether he can delegate the disciplinary job to another person should he feel it necessary, although changes that would allow this are being drafted by the province.

After reading the complaint commissioner's report, Lowe began negotiating with Battershill's legal team, which included high-profile Vancouver lawyer Len Doust. On July 28, Battershill offered to resign, Lowe said.

Board members were not included in the negotiations, sources say, and only received word from Lowe when he had reached a settlement agreement.

Under the deal, Battershill received $15,000 for his legal bills, and both sides signed a non-disclosure clause that forbade them from talking about the issue. The board voted in favour of the deal and Lowe publicly called it a good arrangement for taxpayers.

On Aug. 13, Lowe held a press conference to announce Battershill's resignation, five days before he was to face a scheduled disciplinary hearing.

"The investigation completed by the RCMP did not find that Battershill had committed any criminal acts, had any involvement with any criminal activity, nor did it find any financial impropriety," he told media.

But Lowe's reference to a criminal investigation was a red herring. The next day, Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld told the Times Colonist that the RCMP investigation was never about criminal acts.

A review of Battershill's severance shows Lowe was required to make the carefully worded statement as part of the deal.

Lowe did not mention to the press the one substantiated allegation, the affair. He said the board suffered a "loss of confidence" in Battershill's leadership but would not elaborate on what that was.

Ryneveld's 12-page report, made public on Sept. 4, 2008, outlined the reasons for the decision not to hold a public hearing into the Battershill case and released excerpts of the RCMP investigation. It was this report that confirmed the substantiated allegation of the affair with Rusen and clarified that it wasn't the complaint commissioner's place to examine Battershill's management style or his grievances with staff. Ryneveld's report made passing references to camps, political motives and departmental infighting his agency was not willing to investigate.

But for Victoria and Esquimalt taxpayers seeking answers about the complicated 11-month saga, Ryneveld had nothing. He said he recognized the public's desire for details, but said an "exemplary" RCMP investigation, combined with Battershill's resignation, left "insufficient grounds to conclude that a public hearing is necessary in the public interest."

Ryneveld did address the thorny issue of Lowe's role as Battershill's disciplinary authority, noting that a mayor's dual role as police board chairman can be problematic because a police chief and mayor don't work at arm's length - they have a close relationship because they attend the same functions and talk frequently.

Yet Ryneveld concluded the fault lay with the provisions of the Police Act, and not with the mayor's actions. He said that Lowe's close ties with Battershill, and his RCMP testimony, didn't go outside the normal bounds of a police chief-mayor relationship and that, ultimately, Lowe acted appropriately.

Officially, Ryneveld's report was the end of the Battershill affair. There would be no public hearing, no disciplinary hearing for Battershill, no release of the full RCMP investigation, no official explanation of the allegations.

{Snip} ...

The police board is looking for a new chief and have hired a company to help in the search.

Whoever it is will take command of a department that remains, by all accounts, bitterly and deeply divided by the Battershill issue, how it was handled and what allegations, if any, were true.

The new chief will also be subject to annual performance evaluations by the police board thanks to a new policy disclosed this month by the board members.

Lowe, who is not running for office again, has said he hopes to swear in the chief at the November police board meeting, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 11 - four days before a new mayor is voted into office in the municipal election.



Battershill Timeline (Times Colonist)
[Sorry, I'm having difficulty copying the URLs. - BC Mary]
Civilian Oversight Lacking (Times Colonist)
[Google the titles to see the stories.]
Vancouver Sun has just picked up the main story: Battershill saga


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Name of another Liberal MLA surfaces. RCMP update added Sept. 19

Name of another Liberal MLA surfaces at legislature raid pre-trial hearings

Canadian Press - September 17, 2008

VANCOUVER — A backbench member of the B.C. Liberal party caucus was once under investigation, along with one of the defendants in the long-running legislature raid trial, in an alleged scheme to help out some constituents with auto insurance debt, B.C. Supreme Court heard Wednesday.

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton, acting for Dave Basi, one of three defendants, said the defence recently received some material from the Crown revealing the investigation involving Dave Hayer, who is still the Liberal MLA for Surrey-Tynehead.

It was the first time Hayer's name has been mentioned in court in connection with the case, and Bolton said it flies in the face of repeated claims by the RCMP that no elected officials were ever under investigation in the matter.

{Snip} ...

The trial date has been pushed back repeatedly as the defence fights the special prosecutor over the disclosure of documents.

Bolton told Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who is hearing the preliminary case, that "some of that (disclosure) material from Dave Basi's perspective is very, very important.

"One example is that we now have disclosure of what has been called, from time to time, the other Basi investigation."

Bolton said it was an investigation into Hayer and Basi "allegedly collaborating to approach ICBC with regard to reducing indebtedness owed by certain of Mr. Hayer's constituents to ICBC."

{ Snip} ...

"Obviously, Mr. Hayer and Mr. Collins were at various times under investigation. So when the various police pronouncements were made targeting Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk . . . we have in the past said the RCMP investigation was shaped and was targeting Mr. Basi."

{Snip} ...

The bulk of the pre-trial hearing Wednesday was devoted to arguments about further disclosure needed from the Crown before it can go to trial.

Pre-trial arguments will continue Sept. 29, when both sides will argue over the issue of solicitor-client privilege related to documents from the RCMP and other agencies involved in the investigation.



RCMP: there was no truth to allegations against B.C. Liberal

Prince George Citizen - 19 September 2008

VANCOUVER - The RCMP say there was nothing behind allegations made against a B.C. Liberal MLA and revealed during court proceedings stemming from an unprecedented raid on the province's legislature.

A defence lawyer in those proceedings told B.C. Supreme Court earlier this week that the police had investigated Surrey MLA David Hayer over an alleged scheme to help some constituents with auto insurance debt.

The RCMP has released a statement saying its commercial crime section reviewed the allegations and found them to be unsubstantiated.

The police say the file was closed, no report was made to Crown counsel and the RCMP did not ask for a special prosecutor.

{Snip} ...


Police dismiss complaint against Surrey MLA

Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun

Published: Sunday, September 21, 2008

VANCOUVER - Surrey MLA Dave Hayer said Sunday he is relieved the RCMP has cleared the air over an investigation involving him.

Police issued a release Friday saying the file on the allegation had been closed because the original complaint against Hayer was unsubstantiated ... {Snip} ...


MLA Hayer Was Investigated In Basi Corruption Case

The Link - September 22, 2008

VANCOUVER – Indo-Canadian BC Liberal MLA Dave Hayer was investigated by the RCMP in conjunction with the Basi-Virk corruption case, which has become a never-ending ordeal to shield the Gordon Campell Liberals direct role in the scandal.

David Udhe Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi are facing numerous corruption charges but their trial has been continually delayed due to stalling and refusal to provide information by the BC Liberals.

Hayer was under RCMP investigation in connection with David Basi over allegations that Hayer tried to get Basi to reduce ICBC debts against some of his constituents.

Although Hayer’s name never up before in the Bas-Virk case but police admitted that they did investigate Dave and the investigation fizzled out. However, it is quite clear that the “Basi Boys” are going to pour all the dirty secrets relating to their former BC Liberal friends who conveniently abandoned them after the corruption charges were laid. And this kind of dirty laundry is going to come out in a nasty way when and if this case finally reaches trial.

{Snip} ...

22 Sep 2008 by editor




Bill Tieleman on Hayer investigation


BC Liberal MLA Dave Hayer was under police investigation defence alleges in BC Legislature Raid case


Police investigated role of BC Liberal MLA Dave Hayer in attempt to have ICBC collections forgiven, defence alleges in BC Supreme Court

B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer was under police investigation as part of the B.C. Legislature Raid case defence lawyers for two former ministerial aides facing corruption charges alleged in B.C. Supreme Court Wednesday.

Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, former aide to ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins, told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that new disclosure of documents to the defence revealed that Hayer was investigated on allegations that he and Basi were attempting to have “assessments or collections” of money owed to the Insurance Corporation of B.C....

{Snip} ...

Read more at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/

Bill also has a good article on The Tyee



MLA was under investigation

MLA was under investigation, Basi-Virk judge hears
Documents contradict what RCMP have been saying, Farnworth says

By Keith Fraser
Vancouver Province - September 17, 2008

Liberal MLA Dave Hayer was under RCMP investigation in connection with one of the three men on trial on corruption charges related to the December 2003 raid on the legislature, a judge heard Wednesday.

Michael Bolton, the lawyer for accused David Basi, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that recent document disclosure has indicated that the Surrey-Tynehead MLA had asked Basi to help him in having ICBC assessments against his constituents reduced.

The assessments allegedly related to collections and outstanding debts but the police investigation later fizzled, according to the documents.

When police first announced details of the police raid on the legislature they said that no elected officials were under investigation and the NDP is demanding to know why that now appears to be incorrect.

{Snip} ...

"We've heard in the past that no elected officials were under investigation. This appears to fly in the face of that. This is rather disturbing. The public needs to know what took place and when it took place."

Outside court, Bolton told reporters that defence lawyers in the case have always taken the position that former finance minister Gary Collins was under police investigation. Basi, who was an aide to Collins, and Bobby Virk are accused of accepting a benefit, breach of trust, and fraud for allegedly leaking information about the bidding process in the government's sale of B.C. Rail.

Aneal Basi is accused of money-laundering for allegedly accepting money and transferring it to Basi, his cousin.

E-mail reporter Keith Fraser at kfraser@png.canwest.com



MLA Dave Hayer was allegedly under police investigation "at one time" about ICBC

Liberal MLA Dave Hayer was allegedly under investigation by police at one time, hearing told

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

VANCOUVER - Defence lawyers for two governments ministerial assistants accused of corruption are seeking documents that related to an alleged investigation of Liberal MLA Dave Hayer.

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that the defence still is seeking some very important documents that have not been disclosed by the Crown, including a reference to another investigation targeting Dave Basi that is referred to in documents as the "Basi B investigation."

Bolton suggested in court that this investigation probed an allegation that Basi collaborated with Hayer, MLA for Surrey Tynehead, to forgive debts owed to the Insurance Corp. of B.C. by some of Hayer's constituents.

{Snip} ...

The Crown received a 70-page defence brief this week, detailing problems with disclosure of certain documents still being sought that fall under solicitor-client privilege.

Special prosecutor Bill Berardino told the judge he will try to resolve some of the problems.

The lawyers are expected to return to court next week to discuss the matter with the judge.

A hearing will also be held Sept. 29 to deal with some documents.





Today at 9:00 AM in BC Supreme Court

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at 9:00 AM, Case #23299 -- HMTQ v. Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, Aneal Basi -- returns to BC Supreme Court, Vancouver, for another pre-trial hearing.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Paul Battershill death threat


My eyes are popping. Even though I've been secretly dreading news that a gun and/or murder had become part of the whole picture of suppression in the Basi Virk / BC Rail Case ... what I can't believe is that such an event happened two years ago ... June 2006. Two years ago, and we didn't even know!

June 2006 is when the trial of Basi-Virk was supposed to begin. That's why this web-site, The Legislature Raids, was established in May 2006 ... because we thought the trial was beginning. We were pretty sure that the public wasn't getting all the news. And we were correct. Since then, it's been one suppression after another.

But this! Was "somebody" threatening to silence Victoria's Chief of Police at that critical point?

I've been googling "Battershill" high and low, without ever seeing this hugely significant news. Nor was the death threat reported (apparently) when it happened -- on June 8, 2006, which was a month prior to Russ Francis writing it up for The Straight. Without seeing this old news item, I couldn't have believed that ALL reporters and ALL media could have been brought on-side to agree on keeping this news quiet.

A thousand questions spring to mind: is Paul Battershill still being guarded or has he been thrown to the wolves? Has the threatener been charged? Or Assessed? Or released? Or tried in a court of law? Who is the threatener?

And isn't it alarmingly interesting that Whoever Decides These Things, felt that then-Chief Battershill himself should be armed and not rely solely upon the protective bodyguards ... leaving the burning question: did the threat come from within police ranks, for heaven sake???

Enough of this.

Isn't it time the media, the bureaucrats and the whole system recognized that there's a public interest here? We need to be included in the business of our province. Just expecting us to shut up and pay the bills doesn't quite cut it anymore. - BC Mary.



Straight Talk - July 6, 2006
By Russ Francis

A few eyebrows were raised when Victoria police chief Paul Battershill was appointed acting city manager, effective June 1. A former president of the Vancouver Police Union, Battershill is believed to be the first Canadian police chief to act as a municipality's top bureaucrat. Battershill will devote half his time to the police chief's job, while the other half is spent on city administrative work.

But the most surprising thing about Battershill is that, following a bizarre death threat last month, he wears a concealed handgun, even when sitting in his City Hall office, just a few metres from that of mayor Alan Lowe.

During a June 23 interview with the Straight, Battershill lifted up his jacket, revealing a small bulge under his shirt. “They've asked me to carry a handgun,” Battershill said.

Though he is no stranger to bearing arms, this is the first time he's needed to wear a weapon off-duty. He said it's not something he's entirely comfortable with. “It's a pain in the summer,” he said. “If I want to wear a tennis shirt, what do I do?”

Battershill began carrying the handgun after police learned on June 8 [2006] of a threat to shoot him.

At the time, the Victoria city council was meeting as committee of the whole, with Battershill in attendance. Police rushed Battershill out of the meeting and temporarily locked down City Hall. They also assigned bodyguards to the chief and moved him out of town for a time.

“It was disruptive to the first week, for sure,” Battershill said.

Although a suspect was later arrested, charges have yet to be laid and he is not in custody. [??]

The Victoria police behavioural-sciences unit is now assessing the suspect, Battershill said. During the Straight interview, Battershill repeatedly checked his BlackBerry for updates on the threat.

Battershill led Vancouver police emergency-response teams and ran a serious-crimes strike force. As well, Battershill was a member of then–judge Wally Oppal's 1993 commission of inquiry into B.C. policing.

Special thanks are owed to a much-appreciated Anon-Y-mouse who used magic skills to find this story and to share it with us. - BC Mary.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Top Cop 'whacked' in coup - Keith Baldrey


Keith Baldrey
The Abbotsford Times - Friday, September 12, 2008

It's not often you see palace coups succeed in this country, but that is exactly what appears to have happened within Victoria's municipal police force.

And the event once again raises serious questions about how police forces in this province are governed and held accountable for their actions.

This particular case dates back to last year, when senior officers of the Victoria police force, acting in concert with a local businessman, made several allegations against police Chief Paul Battershill. [The added emphases are mine. - BC Mary]

Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe was made aware of the allegations and Battershill was put on paid suspension. He eventually resigned his position last month and a subsequent review of the matter by Police Complaints Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld found that only one of the allegations - that Battershill was involved in a personal relationship with someone providing financial services to the police department - was true.

But that indiscretion, he found, warranted only a "reprimand or short suspension," not being kicked out of the top job. However, that's exactly what happened to Battershill. His resignation was forced, since returning to that police force - by now beset with rumours and intrigue about the whole situation - was simply not an option.

Ryneveld's report on the mess paints a picture of a police force divided into "camps."

Now, one of those camps, simply by making false allegations, has been able to get rid of the top law enforcement official in the capital city. How could this have happened?

I've known Battershill since his days as president of the Vancouver Police Union back in the mid-1980s.

He eventually rose through the ranks of the department to become a senior officer ... {Snip} ... During his time at the helm, he earned a reputation for liberal, progressive policies for dealing with street people and the homeless.

His approach evidently frustrated downtown business owners, some of whom favour a more aggressive [e.g., lock them up] approach to the social problems that bedevil that area.

Some of those business owners evidently have strong ties to key senior Victoria officers, as Ryneveld made reference in his report to "private persons of considerable influence" who were also behind the allegations.

Ryneveld has ruled out a public hearing on the matter ... {Snip} ... yet this case cries out for some kind of open resolution.

The head of a municipal police force has been taken down by a secret, bloodless coup and short of the almost-veiled references contained in Ryneveld's report, little explanation has been offered.

So far, Solicitor General John van Dongen has had little to say on the matter.

He should realize, however, that the capital's police force seems to now have a severe morale problem.

{Snip} ...

- Keith Baldrey is chief political reporter for Global BC. His column appears Fridays.

Comment e-mail letters@abbotsfordtimes.com.


Many thanks to Keith Baldrey for a courageous summary of the facts of a case which continues to disturb many people who know anything about the former Chief Constable. - BC Mary.



Battershill probe let down police and public, says 31-year veteran VicPD cop, now retired


Lack of public disclosure fuels distrust of integrity of internal investigations

Doug Bond
Special to Times Colonist - Sunday, September 14, 2008

The system failed police officers and the public in the Paul Battershill affair.

Initially, Victoria's police chief stated that the allegations against him were wrong. When asked if he would defend himself against these allegations, his response was "absolutely." Yet Battershill signed a non-disclosure resignation just prior to a disciplinary hearing.

At the start of the Battershill affair, senior officers were asked by Mayor Alan Lowe to speak with him after he became aware of rumours and concerns circulating around the police department and the city.

By not effectively dealing with the issue and rectifying the problem in a timely manner, Lowe and the entire police board have not only failed these officers, but the citizens of Victoria.

Throughout the process, there was no public disclosure other than the issue being a "personnel issue." In addition, the senior officers who were asked to provide information were advised to maintain silence the entire time, regardless of the mistruths and damage to the police department or themselves.

Instead of dealing with the issue from a contractual or labour stream position, the problem was referred to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, who, after interviewing several individuals, decided to order an investigation under the Police Act.

Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld's report states that "none of the officers lodged a formal Police Act complaint." But would that not be the responsibility of the chairman of the police board?

Beyond that, I was present, along with other people, when the deputy director of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner advised my wife, one of VicPD's senior officers, that his office would order an investigation itself and therefore remove any pressure for senior officers to pursue one.

Ryneveld's decision to order an independent investigation helped to mitigate many concerns that had been privately expressed, but unfortunately took away any opportunity for information or updates to witnesses. It also meant Ryneveld had full control over the investigation and could determine which allegations were to be investigated.

Ryneveld had a high-ranking officer in the RCMP undertake the investigation. At its conclusion, the Victoria Police Board agreed to a non-disclosure settlement prior to a disciplinary hearing.

The action did not resolve any of the mistruths or rumours circulating publicly or through the police department. This created further stress within the department and further mistrust in the public's eye.

While Ryneveld's office should not have had the full responsibility placed on it for appropriate public disclosure, I find it a travesty that he chose not to hold a public hearing into the matter or even share full disclosure with the police board.

In his report, Ryneveld mentions "two opposing camps in the VicPD." This does nothing but inflame and exacerbate the situation, making a greater need for a public hearing.

A public hearing before a provincial court judge would have compelled all 37 witnesses to give testimony under oath, with the appropriate authority weighing the evidence and making a determination of that evidence, according to the standard of law. A public hearing would have forced the truth out. Evidence would have been properly weighed and the rumour mill would have been silenced.

{SNIP} ...

The police board and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner must acknowledge that there is a high threshold of public accountability for a chief of police. Any misconduct or inappropriate behaviour resulting in the removal of a chief should have an expectation of full disclosure.

In reality, it would appear that full disclosure is demonstrated at a constable level but certainly not at a high-ranking level.

Ryneveld states that some of the matters "rose above simple concerns about management style -- they involved specific allegations touching on matters of integrity and oppressive conduct that, if proved, would likely discredit the reputation of the VicPD."

These are significant areas of concern and should have been brought forward to a public hearing.

Ryneveld indicates that he did not want any of the third parties who made the allegations to face further recriminations in a public hearing. But each witness interviewed by the investigators was well aware of the potential for a public hearing. Many witnesses wanted a hearing -- but Ryneveld's investigation cut off that avenue, because only Battershill or Ryneveld's office would be allowed to request one.

This entire Battershill affair and Ryneveld's report will create further mistrust in the complaints process against police, especially when it involves a high ranking individual and when police officers are witnesses.

Unfortunately, the Victoria Police Board and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner both failed the citizens of Victoria and the Victoria Police Department.

Doug Bond retired as a sergeant after 31 years with the Victoria Police Department, where his wife is a senior officer.



Friday, September 12, 2008


Clouds remain over Victoria police force


Times Colonist has been the best of BC's shabby media in reporting on the Battershill issues. I appreciate that TC re-visited the scene today. But the fact is: they just don't seem to understand that two outstanding careers have been seriously damaged. And that something is owed.

The public has been damaged, too. The B.C. public has suffered another loss of confidence in provincial governance; Victoria has lost an outstanding Chief Constable; and the taxpaying public must pay a fat legal bill ... to achieve ... what? Are the streets safer? Are there fewer homeless on the sidewalks? Are the crooks in jail?

And, really: have the right people been held accountable?? Why aren't the Police Board, and the man who went "fishing" for problems (but didn't find any), and the Mayor answerable for their parts in this imbroglio? All of it leaves the big question unanswered because for some reason, it's never asked: was former Chief Constable Paul Battershill treated fairly? - BC Mary.



Times Colonist - Friday, September 05, 2008

One phase of the Paul Battershill affair might have come to an end, but its effects -- on reputations, on policing and on the department's future -- will linger, a cloud of suspicions and grievances and questions that will hang over the Victoria police force and all involved.

Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld's decision not to hold a public hearing into the allegations against Battershill, who resigned as police chief last month after being suspended with pay for 10 months, removes the last chance to obtain needed answers.

Instead, too many questions remain. The process has not provided the information the public -- and at least some members of the force -- need to maintain confidence in the department, its management and the oversight provided by the Victoria police board.

Ryneveld provides a well-reasoned rationale for not holding a hearing, citing the Police Act.

But the public is still left in the dark about the allegations, how they were handled internally and by the police board and whether these destructive events were avoidable.

{Snip} ...

It is important to note that those allegations were not substantiated by the extensive RCMP investigation.

But the suggestion [by Ryneveld - BCM] is of a deeply divided police department, with senior officers locked in an internal power struggle and a police board oblivious to the worsening problems.

Indeed, Ryneveld suggests the divisions remain and cites them as one reason for not disclosing details of the allegations. "Given the prevailing environment and differing 'camps' that this case has disclosed, I also do not want any of them to face unfair recriminations for making the allegations in the first place," he writes.

The next chief faces a great challenge.

Among the most disturbing aspects of this case is the failure of the police board to provide effective oversight. Reasonable diligence would have raised early questions about severance payments to departing employees, including one that barred the staff member from speaking to the police board about concerns.

And it certainly would have stopped the eight members of the police board from approving Battershill's severance agreement, on Mayor Alan Lowe's recommendation, without even reading the RCMP report. The agreement included a cash payment and a pledge of secrecy. The board's responsibility should have been obvious, given the close working relationship between Lowe and Battershill.

Ryneveld notes that the Police Act requires mayors to be responsible for disciplinary matters involving police chiefs. But as this case shows, the close working relationship between the two offices creates a risk of real and perceived conflicts of interest. That aspect of the law should be changed.

In fact, the almost 11 months it has taken to reach this point -- and the serious questions and problems left unresolved -- should prompt a review of all aspects of the process for dealing with such complaints.



Saturday, September 06, 2008


Dirk Ryneveld, Gerald Hartwig, Paul Battershill, Marli Rusen, and the people of British Columbia

"Public curiosity" is the phrase Dirk Ryneveld, QC, applies to citizens of B.C. who are concerned by the treatment of Paul Battershill. I think it is a good deal more than that.

I think citizens are doing their proper homework when they ask: what was it that destroyed the career of this exemplary public figure? "Allegations", says Ryneveld in his published decision not to order a public hearing [See www.opcc.bc.ca]. "Allegations ... by senior police officers against their Chief Constable ... none of the officers being prepared to lodge a formal Police Act complaint."

The hell you say. So, in other words, there was no formal complaint. None. Just allegations.

Chief Battershill was in Halifax giving a speech to a police conference on the topic of civilian oversight for police when this all went down. He was that kind of cop: cerebral, well-informed, public-spirited. But before he could get back to Victoria, Battershill had already been placed on "administrative leave". Because, by then, Ryneveld admits that "...within days, my staff and I spoke to a number of Victoria Police Department (VicPD) officers and civilian employees ..."
[P.1-2, Chief Constable Paul Battershill Investigation: Decision whether to order a Public Hearing. - Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, Dirk Ryneveld QC]

Ryneveld, (who, we've been told, has a very 'close' relationship with some police officers), the Police Complaint Commissioner, says he is aware of the public's "understandable confusion about whether there was any relationship between that Police Board action against Chief Battershill and the apparent leak of a letter written by a local lawyer alleging that another lawyer was in a conflict of interest arising from a freedom of information request the first lawyer made to the Victoria Police Department." Really?

A commentor to this web-site September 4, 2008 wrote: "Our senior officers have told us they weren't involved in this so somebody really is lying. The Chief has moved to Kelowna and is doing really well, officers stop by to see him quite often. Morale [in VicPD] will be really bad after this, lying to us isn't going to go over okay. More are going to quit unless they make a major change in senior management. A new mayor would be good too."

Another comment on Sept. 4 says: "VicPD is different because we have gone from one of the lowest rates of officers quitting to one of the highest rates, all in the past 6 months. Great new LEADERSHIP!" Think about that, Mr Ryneveld.

Another comment, September 4, says: "It still isn't clear what's happened. It sounds like only one thing was found and it was a reprimand relating to a perception. The palace coup seems obvious now and there are 'private persons of considerable influence only too anxious to make unfortunate allegations'. The 'system' doesn't seem to have worked at all really ..."

Iain Hunter, in the Victoria Times Colonist, wrote on September 6, 2008: " ... I share the disappointment of many that we haven't been given a full accounting of what the former chief was alleged to have done. We don't know what got, apparently, many senior people in his department to come down so hard on him before the Victoria Police Board and make specific allegations that an RCMP investigation was unable to substantiate. But you, in your report, confidently announce that they touched on "matters of integrity and oppressive conduct."

What kind of satisfaction can anyone get, asks Hunter, from a process based on unsubstantiated allegations of the kind Battershill said from the outset are typically made when a chief nears the end of his term.

Citizens often hurl accusations at police. Police, after all, are the visible symbols of authority when things go wrong. We consider it our right in a free society. But this time, Mr Ryneveld, it's different. This time, we're watching an outstanding police officer who it seems, may have been set up when he wasn't looking, by people still unwilling to go on the record, and without even the balancing component of a single kind word. The omission is right there, Mr Ryneveld, plain for all to see.

Not once does your report commend Paul Battershill for his 9 years of exemplary service to the capital city of British Columbia. For his work on the Oppal Commission. For management competence such that he was able to act as Interim City Manager. And for much more. Not a word. In fact, this whole affair could be mistaken for "Let's get Battershill Time." Why was that?

Commissioner Ryneveld writes that "[a]fter hearing all the concerns and allegations made by those who spoke to me over a two week period, I determined that several of the allegations I heard met the threshold for an investigation. To that end, I drafted seven terms of reference for a Police Act investigation, many of which had more than one element requiring investigation."

Did he speak to the Chief Constable? What was Chief Battershill's view of the situation you describe as two weeks of allegations? We'd like to know that. I'd like to know what the Police Union said, too. We've heard nothing from them. You'd think the Police Union would have been involved.

I think Commissioner Ryneveld may be speaking nonsense when he says that the RCMP Superintendent "also correctly understood that where questions arise pitting one person's word or version of events against another (as was often the case in this investigation), the role of the investigator is to make a finding that best corresponds with the whole of the evidence..." To make a finding. Gotcha.

Ryneveld tells us that he had only the authority to decide upon an investigation and a public inquiry ... not to decide questions arising out of the management environment ... in other words, not questions arising out of personnel matters. He says "I wanted to ensure that the Police Act process not be used to promote personal or political agendas or recriminations about a chief constable's personality or management style ... [which are] not proper matters for police investigations." And yet, and yet, that's exactly where we are today...that's exactly what it did.

From the public's point of view it's entirely about personnel matters ... even including, in my view, Marli Rusen as an outside contractor working for the Chief Constable, reporting to the Police Board. That was an employee matter ... a "personnel matter". Which, in my view, passed the ultimate test of integrity when the RCMP investigations asked: did the actions of Battershill or Rusen benefit either of them? Was there a criminal breach of trust?

And they found that the answer was No, neither Battershill nor Rusen personally benefited; and it was not a criminal breach of trust. It was a personnel matter with no adverse effect upon work accomplished. Oh, you say, it was a "perception". Or, more specifically, a "possible perception". Really.

Well, Dirk Ryneveld QC, let me tell you that my perception of the whole 12 pages of your Decision is that its tone is pejorative.

For example, consider what's left out. No weight whatever is given to Battershill's good service. You go round and round arguing about who has the right to sit in judgment. But it would seem to me that at least one paragraph somewhere in those 12 pages should have begun with, "Given his exemplary service for 9 years with Victoria Police Department, we take this opportunity to express our thanks to Paul Battershill ... " But there's nothing. No acknowledgement. No thank you for services rendered. No severence package. No good wishes for his future.

I am not the only citizen who is left with a feeling that a good cop has been censured. For what, we do not know.

One paragraph of the report did give me high hopes.

VIII. Closing Comments [p.11] "... independence allows the Commissioner to act in a fashion that is objective and independent not only of the government but also of certain private persons of influence who have their own agendas and who unfortunately seem only too ready to make unfortunate allegations and accusations."

This is a very significant area of concern. Thank you for mentioning it, because citizens recognize those images: of lawyers, of Gerald Hartwig, and of a break-in at Marli Rusen's law office. But no, the Police Complaint Commissioner makes not the slightest gesture toward explaining those elements or toward dismissing their "unfortunate allegations and accusations". Which means that those folks are still riding high in B.C.'s political society, continuing with "their own agendas" and "only too ready to make unfortunate allegations and accusations." Surely the Police Complaints Commissioner owes the citizens more.

The RCMP (IV. Investigative Findings) [p.4], found that only one aspect of one allegation had been established ... that is, the personal friendship between the Chief Constable and a lawyer ... which proved precisely nothing.

The RCMP Final Investigative Report says, the "relationship would give rise to a reasonable perception of discredit to the reputation of the police department ... or improper favouritism ... adversely affec[ting] [Battershill's] ability to select, assess, scrutinize and give instructions ... in the best interests of [VicPD and Victoria Police Board] ... and therefore, that Battershill's conduct could [please note: could. - BC Mary.] discredit the reputation of the VicPD. But did it? We don't think so.

Did Battershill's conduct discredit the reputation of VicPD. No. It was a perception. Or, more accurately, a possible perception.

Ryneveld concluded that since a mere allegation is often enough to unfairly damage reputation, "it would be improper and unfair to [Battershill] for me to publicize allegations that were found to be unsubstantiated ... " But dammit, Mr Ryneveld, you just did. The allegations, the innuendo has been flying for 10 months now. In fact, the report, arguably, makes it worse.

Mayor Lowe's announcement of August 13, 2008 led British Columbians to believe that the RCMP had been investigating "criminal acts, involvement with criminal activities, or financial impropriety." Dirk Ryneveld QC, Police Complaint Commissioner, must surely have known that neither the allegations nor the RCMP investigation included such topics. But neither he nor Mayor Lowe leapt to correct that mistaken impression. How fair is that?

I, for one, am not in favour of a public inquiry. I think it would put Paul Battershill through another terrible ordeal.

However, the people of B.C. have been hit two ways. Wehave suffered a loss of confidence. And we have had to pay the costs of these RCMP investigations unleashed upon a serving Police Chief (1,900 hours interviewing 37 individuals plus 7 support staff who spent 1,300 hours helping those investigators examine and catalogue nearly 900 documents).

I think that Paul Battershill must be given a chance to speak directly to the people, giving his understanding of the situation.

And from the Police Complaint Commissioner, I'd like a few more details, such as who those two lawyers were, and what they were doing - and let the public decide what "their" political agenda may have been. And about Gerald Hartwig's part in these troubles. Also about that break-in at the Heenan Blaikie office of Marli Rusen. It does not sit right with me that two such brilliant people as Battershill and Rusen are left with their careers in ruins ... while the questions of the community they served are brushed aside as almost idle "public curiosity".

It does not paint a picture of fairness or justice. Frankly, it leaves us wondering if it's something else.

Any reasonable citizen might begin to ask if this attack upon Paul Battershill has something to do with an attempt to discredit a man who diligently led the lengthy investigation into drugs trafficking, which then led to the raids on the B.C. Legislature, and as a result, is someone who will undoubtedly be a Crown witnesses when the BC Rail Case comes to trial.

I think we need a lot more ANSWERS ...

- BC Mary, with help from Friends and commentors to The Legislature Raids.

Exactly where does Paul Battershill fit into the upcoming trial which could embarrass the Campbell government? The following 2004 Tyee article explains a lot:



David Basi and Bob Virk were key players in B.C.'s Liberal government with strong ties to the Prime Minister. The RCMP raid of their offices as part of a probe into drugs and organized crime will likely cloud the next elections, federal and provincial.

By Barbara McLintock
TheTyee.ca - December 30, 2004

It started out like so many relatively routine tips that police officers pick up - some unsubstantiated information about trafficking in cocaine and marijuana, deemed to be worthy of further investigation by the Victoria Police Department and the RCMP Drug Section for the Greater Victoria region. But as the officers conducted their probe, the tentacles spread further and further, potentially involving organized crime and police corruption. Then this weekend they reached right inside the B.C. Legislative Buildings - a place where police officers rarely venture except to keep the peace at demonstrations and arrest the odd errant protester.

By late afternoon Sunday [Dec 28/03], two high level Liberal government officials, their offices raided by police, were gone from their jobs. David Basi, ministerial assistant to Finance Minister Gary Collins, was fired and Bob Virk, the ministerial assistant to Transportation Minister Judith Reid was suspended with pay.

Ties to Paul Martin's campaign

The sight of uniformed sergeants (the operation was considered too sensitive for any officers of lower rank to participate) toting dozens of cardboard cartons containing file folders and documents down the steps at the legislature has given the Gordon Campbell government a political problem unlike any they have experienced in their past 31 months in the office.

{Snip} ...

Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill confirmed several other locations were also raided by police officers over the weekend. They included the homes of some of those involved, an accounting firm, and a government relations firm later identified as Pilothouse Public Affairs. The company was begun by former Vancouver Province columnist Brian Kieran, but two of its key officials - Erik Bornman and Jamie Elmhirst -- also have strong ties to the Martin camp.

Also visited by investigating officers, although not formally raided, was Mark Marissen, of Burrard Communications, who was director of the Martin campaign in B.C. - and who's also the husband of Deputy Premier Christy Clark.

{Snip} ...

To read the full story, type "Raids: How big a scandal?" into the Search Box, top left on this page.

Or go to:

Paul Battershill's testimony at the trial of Basi, Virk, Basi will be critical. Under oath, he will be telling us why that historic raid had to happen. - BC Mary.