Thursday, April 23, 2009

 

BC Rail: from Supreme Court, Ottawa

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BC RAIL
Basi-Virk lawyers to question ties among politicians, bureaucrats, RCMP

BILL CURRY
The Globe and Mail - print edition p. A8 - April 23, 2009

OTTAWA -- The defence in the BC Rail political corruption trial will centre on accusations the RCMP tainted its case through inappropriate political calculations and sacrificed the facts in an effort to spin the media, according to factums filed in the Supreme Court of Canada.

The defence will also question the personal and political relationships among elected officials, high-level bureaucrats, lobbyists, political-party operatives and RCMP investigators.

The factums provide the latest synopsis of the defence's plans in the long-delayed criminal case against Dave Basi and Bob Virk, two former ministerial aides in the B.C. Liberal government.

The two men are accused of corruption, fraud, breach of trust and money laundering in relation to the 2004 privatization of BC Rail. Aneal Basi, a former government communications officer and Dave Basi's cousin, faces charges of money laundering.
The latest delay is due to a dispute over a secret informant.

Special prosecutor William Berardino is appealing a Supreme Court of British Columbia ruling, upheld by the B.C. Court of Appeal, that might have allowed the lawyer for the defendants to be present during testimony from the informant.

The Supreme Court of Canada heard the arguments yesterday, where Mr. Berardino warned that future informants would be afraid to come forward to police unless the Supreme Court overturns the lower court's ruling.

Dave Basi's lawyers said a fair trial is at stake and that secret hearings have no place in a democracy like Canada. Aneal Basi's lawyers, in their factum, question whether the Crown even has a secret informant.

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police intervened in favour of the appeal, pointing out that police informants have faced gruesome retribution in incidents where their identity has been revealed.

The Criminal Lawyers' Association (Ontario) spoke against the appeal, stating that defence lawyers would never violate a court order not to share certain protected information with their client.

The Supreme Court justices said they will issue a decision at a later date.

While the matter before the Supreme Court is narrow, the information contained in the factum from Dave Basi's lawyers offers a broad glimpse of their case.

"The disclosure material is massive and complex, particularly with respect to potential trial issues," it states.

It then goes on to list the potential issues, which include:

"the personal and political interrelationships" among elected officials, bureaucrats, party officials and RCMP investigators;

"the RCMP's deception" in its successful request of a 2003 search warrant for the B.C. Legislature;

"the extent to which some of the RCMP's investigative decisions were based on political and other inappropriate considerations" that may have led to the loss of evidence in the defence's favour;

and "the RCMP's strategy in putting a 'media spin' on their investigative actions which was borne of a high degree of sensitivity to public perception and which bore little relation to the real facts of the case."

The factum does not offer specifics on the defence's concerns regarding the RCMP. However, the factum from Aneal Basi does raise one RCMP relationship.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett is quoted in a June, 2007, ruling related to disclosure, saying that an issue has been raised about Kevin DeBruyckere, a key RCMP investigator in the BC Rail case. The RCMP inspector's brother-in-law is Kelly Reichert, the executive director of the B.C. Liberals.

Judge Bennett also noted in her ruling that: "It is clear that [former finance] Minister [Gary] Collins was under police suspicion in December 2003. Requests were made for briefings to the highest level of the RCMP, yet there is nothing that I have seen in writing that indicates who made the decision to stop pursuing Minister Collins as a suspect and when that decision was made."


Read The Globe and Mail report HERE.

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It's "Law Week" in Vancouver:

... This is the purpose of Law Week 2009, a collaborative project of the Canadian Bar Association B.C. Branch, the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, the Law Foundation of British Columbia, the Law Society of British Columbia, the People's Law School and the Vancouver Bar Association.

During the week, now underway, events will be held at various venues throughout British Columbia.

Most major events in Vancouver will be held on Law Day 2009 -- this Saturday, April 25.

The theme of Law Day is Access to Justice: Public Confidence in the Justice System, and will include courthouse tours, mock trials, free law classes on subjects ranging from immigration to wills and estates, and the Dial-A-Lawyer program, which will allow people to speak to a lawyer by phone for up to 15 minutes.

All of those events will help the public to gain a better understanding of the system. But people will also have an opportunity to talk with a panel of senior justice representatives at a free public forum.

The forum, at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Vancouver Public Library, will include B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Brenner, B.C. Provincial Court Chief Judge Hugh Stansfield, Vancouver police Supt. Warren Lemcke, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Peter German and Vancouver Sun columnist, editorial board member and lawyer Peter McKnight.

For more information on this and other Law Week events, visit www.cba.org/LawWeek/locations/main/vancouver.aspx.

From Vancouver Sun, April 23, 2009

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Comments:
From Bill Curry's Globe piece:

"The Supreme Court justices said they will issue a decision at a later date."Aaaaaarrrgggghhhhh.

More delays.

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Yeah, Gazetteer,

Kind of a weird statement, all right.

But at least they didn't say "You'll hear our decision after the BC election."

Ever so grateful for small mercies.

Or enormous outrages.

Or something like that.


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"But at least they didn't say "You'll hear our decision after the BC election."
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Though undoubtably it will be - it's only two and half weeks. The Supreme Court takes longer than that for a bathroom break!
 
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Former+smells+cover+sale+Rail/1544221/story.html
 
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