Tuesday, June 23, 2009

 

Robin Mathews: Morning in Courtroom 43

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Yesterday's news attracted press. Today eight lawyers were in court. Eight observers were in the gallery. At the morning break, Michael Bolton, for the Defence, answered press and TV questions and summed up what was said in this column yesterday and in Mark Hume's Globe and Mail report, front page, today.

In short, Defence is shocked at the statement by George Copley, counsel for premier and cabinet, that ALL the cabinet electronic records from 2001 to 2005 sought by the Defence are "not recoverable". Since Leonard Krogg (NDP Justice critic) states that such records must be kept for seven years, the news from Copley is even more incredible. For it means that the Gordon Campbell government appears to have brutally violated its own information management protocols, and, perhaps, the law.

In addition, Michael Bolton, for the Defence, declares that neither of the two affidavits submitted by Mr. Copley give any indication that search was made of individual computers or other record preservation sources.

Mr. McCullough, for the Defence, argued this morning that almost every action in relation to the Basi, Virk, and Basi matter undertaken by the Gordon Campbell government has been political - and that the pre-trial hearings must be, demonstrably, included. More of that later....

Close observers of the BC Rail Scandal were in a state of shock this morning, asking the questions that must arise from the incredible claim made by Mr. Copley. I said yesterday that the Gordon Campbell forces were cornered. If true, that would mean hard and dramatic choices had to be made. If the material sought was given up - would it condemn the Gordon Campbell forces to destruction out of hand?

Was the choice to say that none of the e-mail material sought from between 2001 and 2005 is recoverable a total desperation move that might well end (soon) in the dismissal of charges against the three accused (Basi, Virk, and Basi) But at the same time might it, also, prevent information from becoming public about the role (perhaps not legal) engaged in by the Gordon Campbell Forces? Information that would destroy the government?

I have said again and again this is the most important public corruption case in British Columbia history - and the Gordon Campbell forces appear to agree with me. And they appear to be willing to do almost anything to make a fair trial impossible.

We cannot, today, know what the next few weeks will bring.

Mr. McCullough argued, this morning, (aptly in the light of the Draconian move by the Gordon Campbell forces to deny mountains of evidence even exist) (A) that the response of the Gordon Campbell forces has been political throughout, and (B) that evidence in hand reveals - almost without question - those forces have failed to produce materials asked for, and appear to have failed to do so knowingly. McCullough hammered at those two themes all morning, and was expected to return to them this afternoon. No session is being held tomorrow.

He talked about how - in the key years - e-mail was a major way of communication, and he gave evidence from records of major participants in the BC Rail Scandal. He also recorded that at least one participant knew questions may be asked and recorded that he had kept copies if needed. He told the RCMP that he had all his e-mail files, some 2000 documents, "if you ever need them".

McCullough rehearsed the treatment of the Legislature (search warrant) raid to show how it was a highly political (even public relations) operation. For instance, where obvious leads should have taken the RCMP to interview and investigate certain parties, the RCMP did nothing. But the force did declare - well before all the seized material could be examined - that no elected official was under investigation or would be. McCullough spoke of a "tailored and targeted" investigation.

He looked closely at the Freedom of Information material delivered to journalist Bill Tieleman regarding the time spent in court by Mr. Chase who was gathering material for the government. McCullough wants to know who in government received Chase's reports. Mr. McCullough argued that his reports were highly political, not mere "court reports"; that they were written for specific readers; and that they were cut and vetted before being given to Tieleman in such a way as to exclude Chase's analyses - which were probably very revealing.

McCullough pointed out that a civil servant was sent on taxpayers' money to do much more than the press was doing - to provide his masters with a full accounting of the people in the room, their attitudes, press reaction...and more.

His argument, as I said above, that every move of the Gordon Campbell Forces was political - even to the point of sending a "spy" (my word) to the courtroom on behalf of his masters - is convincing. It is made the more convincing by the latest, astounding political move by the Campbell Forces. Information it was obliged by law to keep and which - anyhow - in the light of the case and the need for evidentiary material for the trial had to be kept was NOT kept but, wholesale, and covering all 33 people from whom Defence seeks records, was apparently permitted to be erased (or, the jaded might say, has been purposefully destroyed).

What can the Gordon Campbell forces do that is worse than that? Wait and see.

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Comments:
You peel back the onion with the trained skill of of a surgeon seeking the root of the cancer, Robin. Brilliant, as usual. Thank you.
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"McCullough rehearsed the treatment of the Legislature (search warrant) raid to show how it was a highly political (even public relations) operation. For instance, where obvious leads should have taken the RCMP to interview and investigate certain parties, the RCMP did nothing. (N.B. - bolding added by Secondlook)

Question:

How many other files held by Commercial Crime has this pattern of political 'tainting'/interference occurred with the RCMP in lockstep with the Campbell Govt where coverup and spin has become the primary focus instead of justice?

The 'quid pro quo' of this 'team' gradually seeping to the surface seems to be:

You cover my rear end and I'll return the favour.

There is NO reason to have ANY faith that the RCMP are acting in the public's best interests any longer. I feel sorry for the decent men and women who joined this once proud police force only to see the sorry mess created by their bosses.
 
Thanks again, Robin....and many deserving thank yous to Mr. McCullough as well.

"What can the Gordon Campbell forces do that is worse than that? Wait and see."

Pathetically, they never fail to disappoint in this regard, do they?

This is beyond shocking. Beyond disgraceful. There is no way the people of this province should stand for this. If ever there was a line in the sand, this is it.



I can't remember anymore but was it Justice Dohm who first received all the BC Rail documents and computers retrieved from the legislature? Didn't one or some of the computers get lost at some point and then suddenly turn up in one of the court room offices? There is so much information involved, that I can't remember it all but I remember questions surrounding the computers "disappearance" for a time. I could be wrong.....just wondering.
 
This is hideous on so many levels. It's mind boggling! Corruption I never thought I'd live to see anywhere in this country, never mind that it's where I was born and raised.

This level of corruption and incompetence is worthy of nothing less than impeachment of ALL involved, then a class action lawsuit to recover all assets either lost or transferred as a result of his incompetence.

And we need not stop there! Let's revisit Run of Rivers, TILMA (another agreement signed in secret, and enacted with NO fanfare)...if the voters of this province can't be bothered to get involved at election time, those who do give a damn will have to take up the slack.

People like you and your readers Mary. Thank you for all you do!
 
Well done Robin.

I might add here to my earlier statements for impeachment the words Obstruction of Justice. Pure and simple.
If this government is allowed to get away with what has been going on then this whole country is in grave danger.
 
"Law Society keeps an eye on taser inquiry

News of delay in disclosing RCMP e-mail prompts group to examine proceedings for possible professional misconduct" - Globe and Mail

The law society should launch another examination of professional misconduct, this time against the lawyers who call themselves BC Liberal MLAs for allowing their emails to be "lost/shredded" just to protect their sorry asses when it comes to the BC Rail Raid.

The society should launch yet another examination of professional misconduct on the part of George Copley, counsel for premier and cabinet, because he of all people should have known that ALL of the cabinet electronic records from 2001 to 2005 needed to be held, in trust, until the trial began.

What are these lawyers playing at?
 
I believe the appropriate term to use is "recall". We need to start a "recall" campaign against premier campbell immediately.
 
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My vote is to apply to the court immediately for an injunction to stop the BCRail deal from triggering any new actions until some serious questions are answered.

If you look up the term "impeach" it doesn't produce the results we want. It just means to accuse a public official of misconduct. It would take forever and misses the point with BC Rail. We need immediate action directly putting a stop to the damage being done by these secret BC Rail agreements.

"Recall" won't produce that immediate result either.

But an injunction would.

Perhaps those things could come later -- after an injunction which will put the BC Rail deal on hold before any further giveaways happen.

If anybody knows how to activate Leonard Krog so that he'll take charge of the injunction, that would be great.

We have only 21 days until July 14, 2009 -- our last chance to consider re-possessing BC Rail.

We don't even know the terms of the BC Rail deals, for gosh sakes. How democratic, how legal is that kind of a deal?

We need fast action.

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Sadly, destruction of evidence is nothing new in BC history. Chief Justice Matthew Baillie Begbie, late in his career, was accused of improprieties in relation to land dealings near Cottonwood House (between Quesnel and Barkerville and then hot property - in the 1800s I think it was, maybe the '70s). Hearings were held in secret with his fellow justices, reporters excluded, and Begbie acquitted or charges were dismissed. All records connected to the case, including land records, were ordered destroyed to prevent re-opening of the inquiry by higher courts or the Law Lords....as I recall, threats of contempt of court were levelled at the newspapers to prevent them from covering the case in detail.

Similarly, the original Lands Act from late 1859 or early 1860 was tainted by the self-appropriation of huge chunks of land by "the military clique", as they were denounced in the Island Colony. Trutch, Burnaby, Moberley and others of a military background had claimed Burnaby Mountain, Ioco, Stanley Park, Cates ParkPoint Grey and certain other areas for themselves during their survey of land plots; a large portion around Port Moody, I think the Belcarra peininsula wets of Ioco and including Ioco itself and some of Port Moody harbour, were set aside by them as a favour for Rear-Admiral Baynes, who was in charge of the Royal Navy fleet in the colonies.

While the Lands Act remained in place and is the basis of today's lands system, the land appropriations were withdrawn when the scandal broke, but all records of the titles have disappeared - except that the same lands became Military Preserve and remain echoed on the map as the parks in question, as well as the townsite of Port Moody.
 
"For it means that the Gordon Campbell government appears to have brutally violated its own information management protocols, and, perhaps, the law"

Unfortunately this statement isn't even shocking, it is just business as usual in British Columbia. Thanks to the sorry excuse for a press in BC and the 10 times as strong Public Affairs Bureau (and generally better paid skilled propagandists - than their poor cousins working for Canned Waste) the people of BC for the most part are not even aware that their government is a criminal organization on a scale that puts the Hell's Angels, Big Circle Boys, United Nations and Scorpions, all to shame as small scale crooks.
 
How do we begin the process of recall? Does anyone believe we should wait until the outcome of this trial is known?
 
ooops - typo in my post about Begbie - should have been "1880s" rather than "1800s"....Begbie died, as I recall, in 1894, so it couldn't have been the 1900s huh?
 
OH, and one other thing, the guilty parties in the "military clique" included Colonel Moody.....who is regularly sent up in BC history, like Begbie, as if he were some kind of saint. A pious religious zealot yes, but still a crook. That's nothing all that unusual, though, is it?

And about Trutch, while he was Commissioner of Public Works (one of several hats he wore), he gave himself the contract to build the Alexandra Suspension Bridge, and also chunks of the Cariboo Road contracting, and rights to tolls on the same....
 
Recall can only be launched against individual members, not against whole governments. The first place to start a recall drive - so many signatures comprising such-and-so percentage of the voters list (not of those who voted, but of the whole voters list) - would be Vancouver-Point Grey......

Our constitution is pathetically weak and any attempts to strengthen it to prevent and punish wrongdoing by politicians will be blocked by them, as they're in charge of any reform agenda. The last thing they're going to do is install mechanisms which will help the public remove them from office. Letting politicians write - and "reform" - the constitution is akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.....
 
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