Sunday, January 04, 2009

 

Who's in charge?

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On Monday morning, January 5, 2009, W.P. Riley of the Public Prosecution Service is expected to make an appearance in court before Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett at the pre-trial hearings of R.v. Basi Virk Basi. The matter of disclosure is expected to continue. And continue. And continue.

Who's in charge? Is it the RCMP? Is it the Attorney General's deputy? Is it the judge? Is it the Special Prosecutor? Is it all of the above, or none of the above? Most important: who speaks for the public interest? Who, for example, might say to the Special Prosecutor, "I hear there are February openings in the Supreme Court of Canada's calendar. So don't wait until April 22. Take an earlier date and get this trial rolling."
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... 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. That's very important to the defence," McCullough said.

McCullough also raised the possibility of conflict or perceived conflict that could affect the case because forest company Doman Industries had hired the law firm of Harris and Bill Berardino while it was employing lobbyists Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran of Pilothouse Public Affairs - both now key Crown witnesses. Berardino, who is the lead Special Prosecutor, was not in court today.

And McCullough read from another document that said a former provincial deputy minister had approached police, alleging he believed Harris and Berardino had received confidential leaked information from Doman Industries.

"These apparent leaked documents came from [David] Basi," McCullough told Justice Elizabeth Bennett. "This wasn't disclosed to us until the last month."

"The interconnectedness of various players is highly ironic," McCullough said, while adding he was not casting any aspersions on Harris or Berardino ...


- Excerpt from Bill Tieleman's column, The A-Z of the Basi-Virk/BC Leg Raid Case, Dec 29, 2008.

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Interesting commentary in Nanaimo Daily News by Walter Cordery about the failure of what he calls "the legal industry" in B.C. Worth a look ...

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What do you think of the New Democrats having to ask the Mounties to investigate whether the Harper Conservatives committed a criminal offence by listening in and recording one of the NDP caucus conference calls?

In a letter to RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, the party identified John Duncan, Tory MP for Vancouver Island North, as the one who "apparently" taped the conference call.

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Comments:
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W., thank you for your comments; I'll follow your request that they be kept private.

You pose a good question asking how hard the Opposition is pushing to get this trial's wheels turning. They've said quite a lot in Question Period but the government's stonewall answers don't make it into the news.

A bit easier to answer is the question: how hard is the Defence pushing to get Berardino's appeal into the Supreme Court of Canada so that the BVB trial can proceed in February not April of 2009?

I'd say "Not very hard at all. In fact, in my mind's eye, I see the government relaxing in their office armchairs watching the clock run on and on ..."

It's obvious to anybody watching this Gong Show that nobody really wants the trial to proceed ... NOBODY, that is, except the voting taxpaying public!

Next week on January 19, the BVB pre-trial hearings begin again in earnest. Something big might unfold!!

And just when we might imagine the public giving full attention to this BC Rail trial, what happens?

Well ... after 40-years of dithering, the BC Attorney General is now prepared to hog every front page with SEX, rampant SEX, multiple SEX, and more SEX in the far-away town of Bountiful, B.C.

Me, I'm waiting for that big thunder-clap in the sky followed by a lightning bolt to come down on the BC Legislature and scorch the sox off a few BC politicians.

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