Saturday, December 13, 2008
THREE Basi-Virk-related trials in 2008 ...
At times during 2008 there were THREE related Basi or Basi-Virk trials going on in B.C. courtrooms. Three.
Trial #1 was Regina vs Bains, the anxiously-awaited calling-to-account of the alleged Mr Big on the West Coast drug scene. Jasmohan Singh Bains was the significant "person of interest" whose many telephone calls to his cousin in the Ministry of Finance alerted police to more than the drugs trafficking. Including questionable aspects of the BC Rail sale.
The public was given very little information about Bains once he had been arrested; so of course, we knew absolutely nothing about the date, time, place, evidence, verdict, or sentence in "R. v. Bains" in B.C. Provincial Court, Victoria. I wonder if anybody ever sat in the public gallery, watching and listening.
As important as the Bains testimony appears to be, we would still know nothing further about the trial of R. v. Bains if a Citizen Journalist hadn't heard a reference to Bains in the Basi Virk pre-trial hearings, (Trial #2) and sent a one-line message to BC Mary about a 9-year sentence imposed upon Bains.
I was shocked ... and felt I could not publish this information without some corroboration ... as I certainly hadn't heard of a Bains trial at all; in fact, had regularly searched for news of it, to no avail. So I withheld that Citizen's comment for 24 hours while I searched for proof that such a significant trial had happened. I found that indeed, it had happened.
So I posted that tiny story exactly as our excellent Citizen Journalist had written it -- and I thank him/her once again.
But with that discovery came the inescapable truth that Big Corporate Media had let us down badly. It was very hard to accept. This is not how I want our news media to perform. Was it actually true, then, that there's a cloak of secrecy surrounding not only Basi, Virk, and Basi but also BCRail?
Trial #1, the Bains trial, is undoubtedly a significant issue arising from the raids on the Legislature. See the reference given below, where the Defence in Basi Virk is asking for Bains' evidence, and you'll see that it has importance to Basi Virk ... and to us.
Sample excerpt from an Application for Disclosure, suggesting the level of importance the Bains testimony may have in the trial of Basi Virk Basi:
Para. 8: On December 21, 2007, the Special Prosecutor [in the Basi Virk Case] provided the Applicants with disclosure of a disc entitled "Long Form Censis 1 & 2 Bains Missing Audios" and a second disc entitled "Court Ordered Disclosure Vetted and Court Ordered Disclosures Vetted 31b" (these discs have well in excess of 5,000 pages), one(1) page of notes from Inspector Dauk, three (3) pages of e.mails from Kelly Mobbs to DEB Fulks, DEB Scribner, and Inspector Cheney, a one(1) page document from Donna Dunlop, a two-page (2) continuation report, a 130-page document from Malcolm McDuff, a video cassette statement of Jas Bains, and a large poster-size RCMP chart outlining contacts between Mr Basi and others.
Thursday proved that one clear, honest line of information is worth more than a trainload of Public Affairs Bureau puffery about Golden Eras.
Trial #2, the Basi Virk Basi BC Rail trial -- our own pointless Seinfeld sitcom which goes on and on about nothing with a few laughs from the lawyers (who are way too cheery if you ask me), a bit of impatience (Ol' Bill as George Costanza, who keeps wanting to launch a new show of his own), a Kramer or two, and Madam Justice Elaine presiding.
As with the Seinfeld series, Basi-Virk has no dramatic high points or low points, except perhaps for the day John Preissell insisted upon being sworn in as he was totally fed up just waiting to give evidence. That was a good day. John's impressive testimony marked the actual start of the trial Regina v. Basi, Virk, Basi and it felt good ... but somehow after Citizen Witness John made his exit, the old gang reverted to having lunch, doing their laundry, and misunderstanding one another. Jerry Seinfeld has made doing nothing an artform, earning millions for doing so.
Trial #3 is sneaking up on us ... or so we may have thought. But much to my surprise, I learned last week that the A.L.R. trial, of R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, is well under way, movin' right along in pre-trial hearings in Victoria Provincial Court and -- get this -- protected by a publication ban. Who knew?
The media can surely say, if they choose to, that R. v. Basi is actually proceeding in Victoria Provincial Court, can't they? Yes they can. I'm sure they can, as long as they don't reveal the evidence. They could even say "Come on down and listen for yourselves" can't they? Yes they can. But they don't. They don't even try to help us understand these issues. How helpful (to the public) is that? So are they a big part of the gang who doesn't want us to know?
And if we stop and think about that ... isn't the alleged betrayal of the Agricultural Land Reserve Act something of vital concern to the B.C. public? Just like BC Rail? Why shouldn't the public know how the A.L.R. issues are unraveling? What was the judge thinking, in this banning? Couldn't our media even tell us that? Yes they can.
There's a safety valve, however: the public can attend, can sit in the public gallery, can watch the proceedings and listen. Victoria might even get a few people together to observe from the public gallery whether justice is being done in R. v. Basi. Not sure, but I think we're still allowed to go back out on the street or home to our back porch and yell "We're mad as hell and we aren't gonna take it any more!" Yes we can!
BC deserves some sort of award for having THREE separate courts on pretty much the same issues at pretty much the same time revolving around the same guy. At very least, we belong in the Guiness Book of Records. Also for the size of the legal bills.
As for Big Media ... you'd think that every red-blooded journalist in the country would be onto this story, digging, drilling, deducing. Media and politicians are so quick to blame the public for apathy. Well, how can people care about issues they've never heard about. On the other hand, just imagine: police swoop down on a Legislature, carry off 32 boxes of files, and except for RCMP Staff Sergeant John Ward, nobody in authority knows anything. That's a story.
News media, if you ask me, are the ones with the apathy. And that may be putting it much too kindly.
I know what I think about all this ... but I'd rather hear what others are thinking. Isn't there something wrong with this picture? - BC Mary.
For example, here's the link to the Neal Hall story about Mr Bains' co-accused:
Now why wouldn't the editor in question - or Mr Hall himself - have reported on the final act in this little drama?
You say Now why wouldn't the editor in question - or Mr Hall himself - have reported on the final act in this little drama?
Why, why, why ... I've wondered a thousand times.
Surely it is no longer possible to believe that such a trial taking place 6 or 8 blocks away from the daily newspaper offices, had just accidentally been overlooked. Overlooked again, again, and again.
Many people, myself included, still cling to the notion of a free press doing its honourable duties in an enlightened society. It's a normal expectation.
But the Bains trial says something quite different. It took place in June 2008 -- 6 months ago. The sentencing took place in September 2008 -- 3 months ago. There was ample time to follow up on Neal Hall' straightforward report presented the year before the trial began. But no. There was nothing.
I can't imagine that news editors wouldn't jump on a story like this.
Just what exactly were they afraid of?
The names of Bains, Scallion, Doyle, Singh and Sandhu were mentioned on a frequent basis. No politicians, either federal or provioncial were mentioned in connection with the drug investigation
Many thanks for this added information.
I don't know what to make of it, when the drugs charges against Dave Basi were stayed ... and stayed, if I remember correctly, by a federal prosecutor.
When the trial gets pushed into the area of drugs, the charges for which - as Mary mentions - were stayed many months ago, the obvious conclusions are:
1)There is NEW evidence linking Dave Basi to drugs offences...a conclusion that doesn't seem to be borne out by the facts - irrespective of what's happened to Mr. Bains of late; or,
2)The additional attention to this stillborn aspect of the case has the salutary effect, for certain players in this drama, of directing attention AWAY from the political activities of the accused.
I'd remind readers not to be fooled, the public interest here does not pertain to 'avoiding' the connections that Gordon Campbell - in the run up to the May election - would like all of us to forget about.
And, it may well be in the interests of other parties to these matters - to wit, the police, to play a bit of bait and switch as well.
The real questions that the public should want to have answered are, in the end, about how the assets of the public trust - BC Rail and its businesses and properties - have been disposed of to private parties by a government whose duty lies in protecting and defending the public trust.
The public should not lose sight of the fact that BC Rail is GONE…and the process that effected that change has been called into serious question – from the very start.
Efforts to stop using the pry-bar of Basi Virk to open real debate into that question are suspect.
Democracy and accountability are an illusion
By Paul Palango
Quote from BC Mary "Many people, myself included, still cling to the notion of a free press doing its honourable duties in an enlightened society. It's a normal expectation."
Ah yes the free press is not the mainstream press though is it?
The free press of to-day is the blogger such as your self and those like you, as you are free of the influences the newspapers of old were rumored to be
It is right and proper to come to the realisations that the "free press" may very well have died long before the myth of its existence.
pls see http://www.constitution.org/pub/swinton_press.htm