Thursday, November 27, 2008

 

Basi-Virk: Bombshells in BC Supreme Court

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Basi-Virk - Bombshells in BC Supreme Court - Defence alleges RCMP instructed not to suggest organized crime connected to BC Legislature Raid but did

BASI-VIRK

RCMP instructed by Special Prosecutor not to say organized crime was reason for BC Legislature Raid but did so anyway, defence alleges


More bombshells fired by defence in wild day of court pre-trial hearing

By Bill Tieleman

The following story will appear in Friday's 24 hours newspaper in a shorter version and on The Tyee's The Hook

The RCMP was directly instructed by a Special Prosecutor that “organized crime” had “not penetrated the B.C. Legislature” but used the phrase anyway to justify a December 28, 2003 raid there to seize documents, it was alleged in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing one of three former B.C. government aides facing corruption charges, read from a recently disclosed document that indicated David Harris, a member of the Special Prosecutor team, told the RCMP their planned news release was wrong two days before the raid.

“There was a lengthy voice mail from David Harris regarding the news release – that it gives the impression that organized crime had penetrated the Legislature – this is incorrect,” McCullough read. “Do not leave the impression that organized crime has penetrated the Legislature.”

But one day after the raid RCMP spokesperson John Ward told media that "organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C.” and had reached “epidemic proportions in B.C.”

McCullough said the fact that the RCMP disobeyed instructions was critical to defence arguments that the investigation into his client Bob Virk and co-accused David Basi and Aneal Basi was “tailored and targeted” against them and away from elected government officials.

“Despite being told in the new disclosure not to do that, they did it ...


Read the full, long report at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/

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Question: Who would know whether or not Organized Crime had found its way into the Legislature or into every corner of B.C. ... the Crown Prosecutor? Or the police? I don't understand how the Crown Attorney would be giving instructions like this to the RCMP.
This alone is ample evidence that this trial needs to get started. - BC Mary.

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The Tyee, The Hook: Bill Tieleman (27 Nov) RCMP told 'organized crime' claim wrong: Basi-Virk defence.

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Comments:
Oh I think it's a lot more than that Mary...I think the defence delivered a palpable hit in court today.

In fact, the RCMP news release may have been very carefully parsed to 'comply' with the substance of Harris's 'suggestion' and still give the people of the province notice that this little shindig hasn't been JUST about two 'political' aides and their lobbyist cousin at all.

The real question now is whether or not some newsmen and women (other than Bill Tieleman) who get paid for their investigative journalistic skills will actually wake up from the torpor that has immobilized them lo these many years and actually do some 'investigative' reporting.

Nothin' to these charges eh Gary?
 
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G,

Thanks for your tantalizing comment. Would you care to extend the comment a bit ... and tell us more about 'this little shindig" ...

and in particular who is "Gary"?

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Of course Mary...although I really find it hard to believe that anyone who has been reading your blog with any regularity would not know who 'Gary' is.

The 'Gary' in question is, of course, Globe and Mail columnist and former sports guy Gary Mason.

The reference is to a column the good Mr Mason published in two different formats in the Globe and Mail on December 23, 2006.

One column ran to about 1800 words and the other, full of fine detail and personal narrative from Mr. Mason's time with the accused, was even more lengthy – more than 3000 words.

The first was entitled:

'There's Nothing to these Charges' while the more lengthy and highly personal column was headlined with a poignant quote too. 'Dave, What the Hell is Going on?' 'I Don't know, Bob. I honestly Don't.'


For the reader to get a sense of what Gary Mason 'thinks' about the Legislature raids and the trial - which was then (as it is now) still 'upcoming' - the reader really needs to read Mr Mason's own words. I suspect there is a copy of the whole column here in your archives – I hope so, because the G&M requires readers to pay (and pay dearly) for access to their archive.

I'll just copy and paste the first few lines, to help the reader 'appreciate' where Mr Mason is coming from - and what kind of an atmosphere he was at such pains to create:

It was the most mundane of winter mornings.

Dave Basi and his wife, Inderjit, lay in bed listening to their two young children playing in the next room. The couple debated whether to get up or stay tucked under the covers.

“Let's sleep in a while longer,” Inderjit suggested. “They're playing happily.”

She wasn't going to get a fight from her husband, who was more than happy to go back to sleep. The last few days had been hectic with Christmas and family dinners and gift-giving trips to the homes of relatives. Sleep was just what Dave Basi needed.



and a few more lines, again from Mr Mason's column, very near the end of his piece, which will I think reflect accurately the kind of 'impression' Gary wants his readers to have....

“Once you are tarred and feathered with all that stuff a lot of it sticks in people's minds,” Mr. Basi says. “People think you must be a bad person to even be linked with that stuff. It's true. The stigma of all this will always be with us unfortunately.”

Like Mr. Virk, Mr. Basi says he couldn't have handled the stress and strain of the past few years without the help of his wife and extended family. And certainly not without the support of his mother, Sukhbir.

“My mom said something to me recently that I won't forget,” Mr. Basi recalls. “Thirty years ago my dad died, when I was 9. My mom said if we can get through that, losing someone forever, we can get through this. After all we're still here. She said: ‘You are going to be exonerated. The truth is on your side. We will survive. We will make it. We will.' ”

Leaving Victoria, moving to a more remote part of the country where people might not have heard about their travails, has never been a consideration for Mr. Virk and Mr. Basi.

“Why would we do that?” Mr. Basi says. “We're not going to leave our community. The easiest thing to do would be to cut and run. But innocent people don't run.”


I think, even from such short excerpts, that readers and maybe even Gary Mason himself, if he ever stops in here, won’t have any difficulty understanding the kind of impression an ‘opinion’ column such as this – masquerading as ‘hard’ news – is likely to leave in the mind of the reader…..If it were only Christmas shopping that had exhausted the erstwhile Basi Boyz from their exertions.
 
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Oh. That Gary.

I was hoping you might've been referring to that mysterious Gary Somebody who allegedly blew the whistle on Erik Bornmann's application to be admitted to the Upper Canada Law Society. Haven't heard much about that lately.

Then of course there's Gary Collins ... haven't heard much lately about him either.

But I digress. That Gary, eh. I wonder if Gary Mason is following the Basi-Virk pre-trial hearings. I hope so.

Thanks, G.

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You mean Gary GIBSON Mary - right?

He's been kind of forgotten fella these many months hasn't he? We know a "Gary Gibson" did file an affidavit of some kind with the LSUC don't we? Although I don't recall ever learning if 'that' Gary Gibson (who is also the GVRD Director for the Premier's riding area in Vancouver Pt Grey)was behind the filing OR, more to the point, whether the filing was contra or in support of little Erik Bornmann's application to get a licence to practice law in Ontario.

There are so many unanswered questions regarding this case and the tentacles that seem to reach out of it and into almost every aspect of life at some level in this province, aren't there?

I know I've been trying to encourage the paid media (as opposed to the folks like you and me who do this out of a sense of duty and responsibility) to actually get their teeth into the details of the way 'government' is done here in BC these days.

Still, I guess that's too much to expect from a Vancouver Sun where the newsroom is, according to Marc Edge, practically deserted these days.

And of course, for the G&M BC has always been little more than an afterthought anyway.

What to do?
I see Mr Gary Gibson is still on the GVRD list of directors…..I wonder if the other Gary, Gary Mason that is, would like to give him a call and ask a few pointed questions?

I suppose not.
 
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Yes, that's the one: Gary Gibson. Amazing, all the secrecy that goes on in our world. We don't know if Erik Bornmann is licensed to practice law yet, either in Ontario or in New York, but what the heck.

Now that we've got you talking, G (hey, that wouldn't be G for Gary, would it?), tell us what you think about the Special Prosecutor ordering the RCMP to stop mentioning Organized Crime.

Like, a cop sees what looks like a crime in the premier's office. Let's say his 2,000 gold medals have gone missing. The cop investigates, decides it is indeed a theft and lays charges. The charges state the details of what the cop believes to be the crime and its motives. Then (suppose we're lucky) the journalists show up asking questions.

At this point, how is it possible that a government-appointed lawyer (i.e., a Special Prosecutor, appointed to ensure independence from government) can imagine he has the authority to walk in, "a stranger to the case", and order: "Stop, Sgt Renfrew! zip your lip. You must not refer to the possibility of crime within the BC Legislature!" I mean, is this another way of saying "If there's organized crime within the BC Legislature, you must ignore it?" Jeez.

Meantime, right in front of our eyes, Dave Basi goes to trial on another similar (the A.L.R. this time) issue in January 2009. Is there a Special Prosecutor in that picture, too, ordering the RCMP to avoid mentioning crime?

And does this mean that the RCMP aren't free to uphold the law "without fear or favour"?

... and that the police are merely an arm of government, answerable to the BC Liberals rather than to the public?

In the Basi-Virk Case, do they just do what Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino tells them to do, while ignoring what Judge Bennett orders them to do [i.e., "Turn over every page, every scrap of related notes ..."]?

What say you, G? Because I'm worried.

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Rightly worried I'd say Mary. I posted a short comment at Tyee/on the HOOK/ on Bill's piece there this morning - you should be able to see it there - as can others.

I also mentioned another largely forgotten figure in this little psychodrama - Paul Battershill.

I must say though, that it would be interesting to find out if Mr Harris was acting on directions from Mr Berardino, Esq., at the time or if he was 'coordinating' his actions with still other 'persons' unknown.

I'd be really interested to hear what Mr Berardino said when he got the story about what happened before Madame Justice Bennett yesterday.

And, just what IS Erik Bornmann up to these days?

Anybody know?

And nope, it's not 'gary'.
 
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