Thursday, June 04, 2009

 

Dohm denies request for new trial judge. BC Rail leak laid on minister.

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Request for new trial judge for Basi-Virk denied

BY KEITH FRASER
THE PROVINCE - JUNE 4, 2009

A Supreme Court judge, whose job it is to assign judges their criminal cases, has denied an application by the special prosecutor in the Basi-Virk corruption case for a new trial judge ...

Yesterday special prosecutor Bill Berardino appeared before B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm to ask that a judge be appointed to replace Bennett ...

Lawyers for the three men accused in the case, however, said they opposed the move and noted that they have an application before Bennett for her to continue on as the judge ...

Dohm told the lawyers that he wasn’t going to announce the appointment of a new judge, though he has somebody in mind.

“The reason for that is very simple. I do not want two trial judges. This (case) has been a long time in getting this far and I’m not going to muddy the waters by appointing a second trial judge.”

Dohm ordered that the defence application for Bennett to remain be heard before June 26.

{Snip} ...

Keith Fraser's full report is HERE.

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BC Rail leak laid on minister
Details of confidential discussion on $1-billion privatization must have come from inside cabinet, court hears

Mark Hume
Globe and Mail - June 04, 2009

VANCOUVER - Details of a confidential cabinet discussion on the $1-billion privatization of BC Rail were leaked to a Victoria lobbying firm in 2003 while the deal was still being developed – and the source may have been a minister, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has heard.

Cabinet is the highest decision-making body in government, and it is a long-standing parliamentary convention that ministers swear to protect its confidentiality.

But in an application for the disclosure of the e-mail records of 17 former and present Liberal MLAs, defence counsel Kevin McCullough told court a police investigation concluded that neither Dave Basi nor Bob Virk, two former ministerial aides facing multiple charges of fraud and breach of trust, were responsible for the cabinet leak.

Mr. McCullough said the only logical conclusion then is that someone who was in cabinet passed on the information that was found in a briefing note at Pilothouse Public Affairs, a Victoria lobbying firm that represented OmniTRAX Inc., a U.S. company that failed in a bid for BC Rail.

“Some members of cabinet must have been the source,” he said, referring to both a Pilothouse internal note on the cabinet meeting and a subsequent report to OmniTRAX.

Mr. McCullough argued one possible source might have been then deputy premier Christy Clark. He read a Pilothouse e-mail that stated: “Yo bro, will you email me back the relevant insights from your chat with Christy.”

But Janet Winteringham, one of the special prosecutors, protested the assertion, which was made without the presentation of any evidence.

“He's asking you to draw inference, after inference, after inference on no affidavit information,” she complained to Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

The judge agreed.

“I don't need to go there,” she told Mr. McCullough. “You are asking me to draw an inference when people are not present to challenge [it].”

She said all Mr. McCullough was required to do was to show why the e-mails of the past and present MLAs might be relevant.

Ms. Clark, who left office in 2004, is among the group of former Liberal MLAs from whom the defence is seeking e-mails.

Mr. McCullough's comments were made late Wednesday and he continued his argument Thursday.

Also Thursday, Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm took the bench briefly to hear submissions about a possible replacement for Judge Bennett, who was recently elevated to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Special prosecutor William Berardino urged Judge Dohm to name a new trial judge as soon as possible, saying Judge Bennett can't be in two courts at once.

“I'm asking you to cut through all of the potential delay … to appoint a trial judge to set schedules and move this case forward,” he said.

Michael Bolton, a defence attorney, objected, saying he wants first to make a submission to Judge Bennett, in which he will argue that, after handling the matter for more than three years, she has become “seized with” crucial aspects of the case and should stay on.

“I know who the trial judge is going to be – but I am not making the assignment today,” Judge Dohm said.

“I do not want two trial judges in this case or any case … so I'm not going to muddy the waters by appointing a second trial judge,” he said.

Judge Dohm said he will make a decision after Judge Bennett has heard the defence argument for her staying on.

“Depending upon what she does with that motion I will then probably step back into the picture, the assignment will take place and matters will proceed,” he said.

{Snip} ...

Mark Hume's column HERE.
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BASI-VIRK - Defence alleges Christy Clark may have leaked confidential BC Rail information from cabinet to Erik Bornmann - lobbyist for OmniTRAX

Bill Tieleman - June 4, 2009

“For example, Christy Clark may have been the source within cabinet – certainly Mr. Bornmann was in contact with Ms. Clark” - Michael Bolton, lawyer for David Basi

Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm turns down Special Prosecutor request to immediately remove Justice Elizabeth Bennett as trial judge in case
By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

The defence in the B.C. Legislature raid case alleged Thursday that former B.C. Liberal Deputy Premier Christy Clark may have leaked B.C. Rail information to a lobbyist acting for one of the bidders in the $1 billion sale.

{Snip} ...

Bennett was told that two former BC Liberal MLAs, Karn Manhas and Paul Nettleton, have given their complete consent to release their emails but others have not.

Nettleton left the BC Liberal Party caucus in 2002 after strongly protesting the privatization of part of BC Hydro in an open letter to his colleagues. Nettleton then sat as an independent MLA and also opposed the sale of BC Rail.


Bill Tieleman's detailed column is HERE in full.

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Comments:
What I don't get with this business about the emails is....if the intent of the defence seeking these disclosures is to prove that Basi, Virk & Basi were acting at the Premier's direction and as his operatives, then why don't they just release the emails themselves?? Or is it because their own emails were made from government accounts, which they don't "own" (although there are established precedents, at least in the US if not up here, though I think up here as well) that you "own" content of emails made from employer-owned accounts.

I can see them not releasing them if it would set a precedent for all their emails to be released, which would compromise their privacy as well as potentially implicate them in other charges, or convict them on these ones.

But if they themselves know that there are emails between themselves and the Premier and whomever else which would show they were operating under orders and not under their own cognizance, and no doubt this is going to be a thrust of their own testimony once the trial actually starts (whenever that may be; Mark Hume said it may not be until winter .... !!?), then why the hell don't they just come clean with what they've got?

I'm guessing, only guessing, that it's to do with having access to their former government accounts, which no doubt they probably don't currently have. But it seems odd that the defence is pressing for this when in his clients' own records there must be stuff they could enter into evidence on their own behalf.

No FOI problems, no privilege involved. Because theirs weren't MLA accounts, that's for certain. And something received from an MLA account, or sent to it, is still in their own email account, in the inbox and the sent foler.

About the delay of the trial into the winter, perhaps we might all be able to at least relish having the big bones in the case be unearthed in the weeks leading into the Olympics and Campbell has dirt (shit) all over his face during the Olympics, with the eyes of the national and international media watching....CanWest doesn't control everything after all...
 
Mr. McCullough argued one possible source might have been then deputy premier Christy Clark. He read a Pilothouse e-mail that stated: “Yo bro, will you email me back the relevant insights from your chat with Christy.

Christy Clark, now she's certainly a piece of work. That would be the woman whose husband's "home office" was scheduled to be searched in conjunction with the Ledge Raids, if I remember correctly - but weren't her and "Mr. Clark" warned in advance - I wonder if the RCMP would be polite enough to call me in advance of excecuting a search warrant at my place?

Then also wouldn't that be the same Christy Clark who had to resign from cabinet, in order to spend time with her family, but then discovered she had time to be mayor of Vancouver, if Smilin' Sammy hadn't have blocked her path to the big chair? Her resignation, the Ferret's (Gary Collins) and that of the apparently missing in action Judith Reid are all SUSPECT!

Skookum has a good point above, regarding the BBV boys and their access to THEIR OWN e-mails. However it is clear to me that there must be inducements greater than any consideration the courts could give the boys for coming clean that they stand to gain by joining in the group obfuscation campaign that is so obviously orchestrated from the office of our own dear Premier CEO.
 
What also struck me about that one email from the Preem is the "yo bro" - I used that with my training partners and drinking/party buddies. These guys weren't just master-slave, they were buddies. It's really strange to see such slangy language in communications between high officials, in the language of school chums and jailhouse roomies....or fellow gang-members for that matter. "Bro" implies a certain intimacy and between males; the more Campbell pretends to have been distant from these guys the less the evidence is going to show; and that one particular choice of wording shows a LOT.
 
missing word in previous: "and bond between males" was the intended phrase. Sorry Mary, gotta get a new keyboard soon...
 
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