Friday, April 03, 2009

 

Bill Tieleman reports: Defence alleges possibility of political interference by Premier Campbell through Attorney General's ministry

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The defence in the BC Legislature Raid trial today raised in BC Supreme Court the possibility that Premier Gordon Campbell used the attorney general's ministry to politically interfere with the case.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged in a combative presentation that Justice Elizabeth Bennett should disclose additional documents from the attorney general's ministry that would let the defence potentially argue political interference in the case.

"The point of these submissions is to put documents in front of you to draw inferences related to political interference," said McCullough, who is acting for Bob Virk. Virk, David Basi and Aneal Basi face corruption charges connected to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003.

"That political interference is rooted in the fact that the premier, the premier's office, the politicians were using the attorney general's ministry as a political arm in this matter, and particularly, that this necessarily conflicted the attorney general's ministry in their role," McCullough alleged.

{Snip} ...

The pre-trial hearing is now adjourned until May 4, when the defence will make arguments to receive third party records from the office of the speaker and the clerk of the Legislature and from individual BC Liberal MLAs.

And on April 22, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal by the Special Prosecutor to overturn to BC lower court decisions regarding the possible appearance of a secret witness in the trial. That decision, which could dramatically affect the case, could be made quickly or take months.


Bill's full report for April 3, 2009 is HERE.

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Note also that Dave Basi's A.L.R. Case returns to Vancouver Supreme Court on April 9, 2009. - BC Mary.

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Premier accused of political interference at Basi-Virk trial
BY NEAL HALL
VANCOUVER SUN - APRIL 3, 2009


A defence lawyer in the Basi-Virk corruption trial alleged Friday that Premier Gordon Campbell and his government have been involved in political interference in the case, but the trial judge was unimpressed.

"We're charging political interference," defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett during an application for more government documents to be disclosed to the defence.

{Snip} ...

McCullough said he was trying to show that while the premier and other cabinet ministers lately have refused to comment on matters related to the case because they are before the court, the premier had chosen to comment in the past.

"They do it when it's politically convenient," the lawyer suggested.


Neal Hall's report for April 3, 2009 is HERE.

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Comments:
British Columbians have had more than their fair share of Special Prosecutors appointments.

From BC's Attorney Generals website:

"Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch appoints Special Prosecutors pursuant to the Crown Counsel Act when there is a significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice."

I know of three such appointments:

Basi/Virk/Basi which resulted in the BC Rail raid on the legislature.

Former Solicitor General John Les is being investigated to determine if he improperly benefited from any commercial transactions involving land developers when he held the position of Mayor of Chilliwack an independent Special Prosecutor was appointed.

"Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck has been appointed special prosecutor to conduct a charge assessment review of the police investigation into allegations of potential misconduct related to the polygamy community of Bountiful in the interior of B.C., the criminal justice branch announced today."

Then there is the Media Statement from the Criminal Justice Branch of the AG dated March 29, 2008, where the Assistant Deputy Attorney General lays out his "sole responsibility and authority to appoint Special Prosecutors"

We know that in the second example why John Les became aware that he was being investigated by his own RCMP, and then took the honourable step by resigning as the Solicitor General of British Columbia. Hands up if you said that a CBC reporter broke the story because he asked the AG Ministry if the Solicitor General was under investigation? You few who said "yes it was the CBC reporter" are absolutely right. And just in case you haven't clicked on link directly above I'll say it now:

"An announcement will also be made in response to a specific inquiry on the matter from the media or if the matter subsequently enters the public domain." Yeah again for the CBC!!!!

Is it too late to ask why the media (hard or soft copies) haven't popped into the AG ministry and asked if there has been a Special Prosecutor appointed to look after Patrick Kinsella?

A simple yes would answer a lot of questions and possibly vindicate the stance that the Attorney General of BC took in the Legislature during Question Periods .... but then wouldn't that mean he KNEW... when he shouldn't. Double edged sword strikes again. ouch.

Secondly, the public has heard over and over again, lately, just how much the Attorney General takes absolutely no part in talking to the Special Prosecutor. There is, however, this one little press release which seems to imply that he has complete control, all of the time:

"The decisions of Special Prosecutors are final subject only to receiving written directions from the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch. In such an event, those directions must be made public by publishing them in the BC Gazette."


Here's a somewhat Full listing 2008/2009 of Media Statements regarding all Special Prosecutor appointments, but again I have to wonder why their "open and transparent" government documents don't go back to when the BC Liberals took office during their first term.
 
The Saturday Globe and Mail, BC section is worth checking. KInsella: Political meddling; Why the refusal to talk about BC Rail. Three good articles. And the Timeline article shows just how busy Mr. Kinsella has been quiety changing a number of BC things
 
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