Tuesday, January 06, 2009

 

RCMP, along with the special prosecutor, is controlling the disclosure of documents to protect the Liberal party, says Defence lawyer.

.
Top B.C. Liberal didn't want aide charged: lawyer

CAMILLE BAINS
Canadian Press - May 15, 2007

VANCOUVER — The executive director of the B.C. Liberals didn't want the RCMP to lay charges against a ministerial aide because he feared it would embarrass the government and expose the party's questionable tactics, a defence lawyer argued Tuesday.

Lawyer Kevin McCullough told a B.C. Supreme Court judge that Kelly Reichert was concerned about how charges would harm the Liberal party just five weeks after its victory in the 2005 election.

The Mounties had recommended that the Crown charge Dave Basi, a former aide to then-finance minister Gary Collins, in connection with fake phone calls the aide had made to radio call-in shows. In the calls Mr. Basi had disguised his voice.

Mr. Basi also allegedly organized others to make similar calls and provided them with a list of questions that would favour the Liberal party.

Mr. McCullough read from a police report dated June 24, 2005, that said Mr. Reichert didn't want the Crown to charge Mr. Basi because that would bring up other Liberal activities.


According to the document, Mr. Reichert also didn't want the party to be outed for sending demonstrators to a convention by the B.C. Federation of Labour, which was formerly seen as being aligned with the Opposition NDP.

According to the police document, Mr. Reichert went on to say that when it comes to any charges, “careful consideration will have to be given to the wishes of the victim (the Liberal party)” and the likelihood of conviction versus the embarrassment to the party.

The charges against Mr. Basi were never laid. {Snip} ...

Mr. McCullough, who is representing Mr. Virk, questioned why Mr. Reichert told Premier Gordon Campbell about the pending radio call-in charges against Mr. Basi, arguing that reeks of political interference.

Outside court, Leonard Krog, the critic for the Attorney General's Ministry, said the Liberal party needs to come clean about the allegations that have resulted in a raucous exchange in the legislature in recent weeks.

“What the premier and the attorney general need to do now is to get past the stonewalling and answer the questions that have been raised during this trial about alleged political interference,” Mr. Krog said.

“If they choose not to then the court of public opinion will draw its own reasonable inference.”

Mr. McCullough said the RCMP report of Mr. Reichert was only disclosed to the defence team by the Crown late last week despite repeated efforts over several months to pry evidence before a trial that the Crown had hurriedly fixed five dates for against the objections of defence lawyers.

The Reichert document, dubbed “Kelly Reichert, Not for Disclosure,” only came to light because the defence team has hammered away at the Crown with letter after letter to provide the necessary documents needed to take the case to trial, Mr. McCullough said.

“Its title, my lady, should give you significant trouble,” he told Justice Elizabeth Bennett about the document before him.

“I have a niggling suspicion that this is not the only document with the ‘Not for Disclosure' title on it. Getting this document was like pulling teeth, slowly and painfully.”

He said the document was not on any list of undisclosed documents and apparently hadn't come to the Crown's attention despite its review of all the information in the case.

Mr. McCullough also read from a March 11, 2005, court transcript in which special prosecutor Bill Berardino told a judge that most of the information in the case had already been disclosed to the defence team and the rest would be provided in the next three weeks.

He said the RCMP, along with the special prosecutor appointed in the case, is controlling the disclosure of documents to protect the Liberal party.

There's no information to indicate who told Mr. Reichert about the pending charges against Mr. Basi considering the fact that the commander of the investigation against the man and his co-accused was Mr. Reichert's brother-in-law, Mr. McCullough said.

RCMP Insp. Kevin Debruyckere disclosed the relationship in a March 1, 2004, memo but that was three months after the raid on the legislature.

However, in a later affidavit, Mr. Debruyckere stated that he verbally told two Mounties about being related to a Liberal party official.

Mr. McCullough has argued there aren't any briefing notes, memos or any other documents to indicate Mr. Debruyckere said anything to his superiors about an issue that raises a considerable conflict of interest issue in the case.

Mr. McCullough also told the court that Mr. Basi had discussed his radio call-in tactics with Mr. Collins and that the RCMP were aware of that from intercepted phone calls.

“They knew that Basi was asking Minister Collins whether to do it and Minister Collins was saying ‘absolutely.' ”

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

Comments:
Mary,
You're the senior expert on this stuff...but I try to stay as current as I can as well - in any case, this story brings up a lot of questions:
1) Have you EVER seen it before?
2) How is it that 'this' story is still a live link from the Globe and Mail - months after it would normally have only been available to the paying reader - or has the Globe's policy changed?
3) If it hasn't, and stories still have a sunset clause, the fact it suddenly became publically available is a little strange. Don't you think?
4) Is someone out there in the media going to start to behave like a angel, and, how did you come upon the column today?

I think this is kind of interesting - given Reichert's concern for 'bad' publicity at the time, isn't it an interesting outcome that this column would reappear just a few months before the election.

By the way, I think the RCMP were correct - Basi should also have been charged with this offence...and it makes the whole disclosure affray just a bit more 'understandable'.

Perhaps some other charges against political 'dirty' tricks were also considered and dropped.

I hope lots of your visitors take the time to read this column .

And I'd be interested in knowing where that traffic is coming from too.
 
.
G West,

1) No, I swear I haven't EVER seen this Camille Bains story before? (and am no expert either)

2) I'm at a loss to know how this particular story popped up 19 months AFTER it was published.

3) I think it's very strange but I hope it happens again. Often.

4) How did I come upon the column today? It was a Google Alert. This is a wonderful free service which watches out for new stories on a particular subject. Something within minutes of being published.

E.g., MY story here, is now a Google Alert (for people who have asked to be kept informed of this particular topic).

I have to agree with you about the electoral dirty tricks. It's not much of a defence, is it, to say that the case is already so complicated we can't pile on more. But messing with the electoral process and fudging the free flow of information (while we pay their salaries) really isn't something to be covered up and ignored.

More later. But thanks for your comments.

.
 
Thanks Mary,

Did you know there's a group - part of the Bureau of Public Affairs no doubt - that calls itself the 'Public Education and Outreach' branch of the Legislative Assembly of B.C.?

I'd be kind of interested to know if staff in this group are responsible for the increasing 'flood' of internet emails that has career civil servants rolling their eyes of late.

Maybe some of your correspondents can help....

Something 'very' strange about that Bains story just popping up to the head of the queue isn't there?
 
.
Yes, G West, very strange indeed, especially if the Camille Bains story never was published at the time it was written, 17 months ago.

But since it does provide one answer from the Defendants' point of view, to my rhetorical question a couple of days ago: "Who's In Charge?" it does seem as if some public-spirited soul might have pulled it down from a dusty shelf and dropped it into the Google Alert feed.

Now you're scaring me, G West. "Public Education and Outreach branch of the Legislative Assembly of BC"?? And CanWest media doen't know this?

Or is it more likely that the P.E.O. branch is writing some of the news reports these days -- like today's about the Campbell Government offering to buy every Delta home or business which has an unwelcome high voltage transmission line running through its back yard ... only the buyer will be our battered old hero BC Hydro?

.
 
Here's a link to the staff at that little place:
http://www.dir.gov.bc.ca/gtds.cgi?show=Branch&organizationCode=LASS&organizationalUnitCode=PubEd

I wonder if there isn't another strong link that isn't mentioned too - somehow I sense that Jessica Macdonald might well have something to do with an organization concerned with rah rah and the public service.

You think?
 
Let's face it, Gordo is going to get his third term as premier and he'll be the first to be recalled once the trial is over OR

teflon gordo might just pass the buck of his failure to keep his caucus members from playing dirty tricks on the opposition via the radio, and the public, and lay the blame of the raid on the legislature on those that chose not to run for office eg. Collins, Christie, etc.

but let's keep in mind that it has been those who have consistently voted for the bc liberals that are just as guilty as basi, virk and basi for they have condoned the dirty tricks by voting for a political party that has broken promise and after promis after promises.
 
.
Anonymous 6:39,

Interesting, what you say here, especially about "those who have consistently voted for the bc liberals" ... I've just finished reading an e.mail from an old BC friend who now makes her home in Australia.

Before Christmas, she came home to Vancouver for a visit and I had asked her if she noticed any change in people.

She tells me today that she hadn't been able to get her old Vancouver friends and relatives to talk about B.C. current affairs.

Can you believe it?

But ... maybe being embarrassed is a good thing, in times like these.

.
 
Mary and GW--

While I did not quote from it directly, I did link to Ms. Bains story back in May 2007 here, mostly because it backed up what Mr. Tieleman had reported on this subject.

Regardless, I do agree it is rather strange that this story is still available on the G&M website over a year-and-a-half later, especially given that Ms. Bains was recently re-assigned (and apparently not replaced)....


.
 
Hmmmm, didn't the AG say that he doesn't comment on current court cases and yet here he is talking about the two Bountiful gentlemen, one with 20 wives and the other with 2.

Now if only the Provincial government would give us the complete bill of goods on where they stand on the Basi/Virk/Basi.
 
.
Esteemed Gazetteer,

Thank you for this reminder. I do remember the information; what I didn't and don't remember is ever seeing that particular column by Camille Bains showing her way of seeing that courtroom encounter.

But that's one of the difficulties with following the Saga of Basi & Virk, we get the same bits and pieces over and over and over until we go numb. So thanks for that added reminder.


Anonymous 7:09,

Oh God, don't get me started! You're so right: the AG is sanctimoniously silent when it comes to explaining any of the issues surrounding BC Rail ...

but I have a horrible feeling that it's going to be very different with Polygamy. The public will be dazzled by the details which ... it looks like, will start unraveling by sheer coincidence next week ... just as the one-week Basi-Virk Hearing gets under way beginning Monday January 19.

What do you think: will the RCMP be allowed to do their jobs "without fear or favour"?

Or will Stonewally be all helpful and bright, explaining the whole 40-year delay in detail.

20 wives indeed. Jeez. I mean, why now???

.
 
Thanks Ross,

Serves me right for not having read your post that day with the proper concentration...
 
Mary,
'why now'?
Is obvious, to distract from the BC RAILing/scandal, with multiple
(sex)partners/scandal!
I'm still trying to figure out how Zaccardelli fits into all of this?!
 
No worries Mary and GW--

....I, myself, only added the link to the Bains piece in an update....no intent to cast any aspersions whatsoever....just wanted to point out that it was, indeed, published in the G&M in 2007 so that we don't go down a blind alley for no good reason when, I would hope, we are going to have more fruitful paths to follow in the near future...

.
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home