Monday, October 20, 2008

 

Oct. 20 in Supreme Court: Basi-Virk trial could happen anytime - anytime AFTER the next BC election!

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By Robin Mathews


Courtroom 67 held 9 counsel and 6 observers in the gallery. The 10:15 meeting began at 10:25 with a formally bibbed Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett on the bench, staring from owlish glasses. It would be wrong, I think, to say she presides. Rather, she occupies the judge's place in the room as the case muddies and muddles around her.

The Crown presented a single sheet of scheduling for times into late November when materials will be (?) placed in the hands of Defence and Defence will respond. That sheet should have been copied and available to all the gallery. All in the gallery are deeply concerned with the matters involved. The schedule should not have to be asked for. Madam Justice Bennett (as I have said before) lets the hearing proceed as if it is a Civil case (between two parties). This is not a Civil case. It is a Criminal case - a case of the deepest interest to all British Columbians because the right of the Gordon Campbell government to exist is in serious question.

That means every piece of legislation presently being passed by the Campbell government may be illegal. That means every piece of information concerning the Basi, Virk, and Basi case that can be put into the hands of the British Columbia public should be put in its hands. The opposite is the case. My assessment is that Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett prevents information from falling into the hands of its real owners - the people of British Columbia.

Perhaps we should remember that at the end of the famous NDP Premier Glen Clark case - which I call "the fraudulent investigation and trial of Glen Clark" ("presided" over by Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett), former premiers Bill Vander Zalm and Dave Barrett called for a Public Inquiry. It didn't happen.

Those with sharp memories will remember that in the Vancouver Sun (March 3, 04, A3) more than four years ago Ian Mulgrew, columnist, described Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm's handling of the search warrants covering the legislature "raids" (Basi,Virk, and Basi), and the "public right to know" in scathing terms. Dohm's actions in regard to the raids on the legislature Mulgrew called "a whitewash". Dohm made "rulings that run in the face of Canadian jurisprudence", Mulgrew wrote, and Dohm was guilty of "ignoring the public interest and the deleterious effects these allegations are having on the integrity of the political process".

As the French say: "the more things change the more they are the same".

Turn a little away for a moment. The Public Inquiry into the Robert Dziekanski taser death at the hands of RCMP officers in the Vancouver International Airport exactly one year ago has been delayed because the Crown cannot get the simple facts together to say if there will be a criminal trial or not of the RCMP officers involved. Who is the Crown here? It is Wally Oppal, Attorney General, in fact. He is the not-independent servant of Gordon Campbell, I'd say. Remember that Gordon Campbell expressed concern for the officers involved in Dziekanski's death! Just as RCMP Commissioner (apparently a relation of Brian Mulroney), William Elliott did. Could the delays in the Robert Dziekanski business and the Basi, Virk, and Basi case share a family resemblance?

And could the family resemblance be that to expose the facts to the full light of day would expose seriously criminal actions by politicians in power and RCMP officers at high levels?

The RCMP, we know from a Pivot Legal access to information application, not only attempted to influence a talk show on the Vancouver Safe Injection Site, but also devoted budget to producing biased "information" against the site that could be used by federal Minister of Health, Tony Clement. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Bass alleges ignorance of the very very dubious activities and, yes!, is holding another RCMP investigation of the RCMP (as happened with the Ian Bush killing, with the Kelly Marie Richard Dental Malpractice Case in Calgary, and with many others). The RCMP investigations almost never find wrong-doing by RCMP officers and when they do, discipline and/or punishment is laughable.

So we are offered the possibility that "the Crown" in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case may not only be
(by design) failing to pursue the matters before it, but may, as well, be incompetent. Denied information that we should have as British Columbians to make judgements, yet we can wonder how the Crown is going to manage "third party interests" (which I earlier argued do not even exist), how it will deal (on-going) with the getting of information from the RCMP, with proceeds of crime matters, with so-called secret witness matters, and a galaxy of witnesses so numerous they could staff an anti-Olympic Games rally.

For those with the stomach, the next court sitting is on November 17 or 19th. Chatter at the edges of the arena suggests the trial could happen anytime - AFTER the next B.C. Election. As the road signs say all over B.C. - "EXPECT DELAYS". And as British Columbians are becoming aware, more and more - justice delayed is justice denied.

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