Thursday, July 16, 2009

 

Basi Virk: Key BC Rail emails may have been deleted in May

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CBC News - July 16, 2009

High-level B.C. government emails, possibly containing important evidence regarding the fraud and breach-of-trust trial linked to the $1-billion sale of BC Rail, may have been destroyed during the recent provincial election, according to lawyers for the accused.

For years, the lawyers for former government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk have been asking for emails between members of the cabinet and senior staff to be handed over, saying they are critical to their clients' defence.

But a government lawyer said last month that executive-branch emails are kept for only 13 months. He told the court that is why emails between 2001 and 2005 are not available.

However, defence lawyers told reporters Thursday they have learned a company called EDS Advanced Solutions had many of these emails on backup tapes as recently as May.

According to an unconfirmed report published in the Globe and Mail newspaper Thursday, the government director in charge of managing the email delivery service filed an affidavit stating that during the May election campaign someone in authority asked that backup tapes of emails created before May 2004 be destroyed.

The affidavit was not released to the public. But according to the government's own guidelines, the emails should not have been deleted because of their relevance to the BC Rail corruption trial.

Court order sought

In B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday, Virk's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, asked Justice Elizabeth Bennett to issue a court order saying the government hasn't complied with orders to hand over all relevant material.

Bennett must now read 15 new affidavits, including statements from high-level political advisers like Martyn Brown, Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff, before she is expected to rule Monday on how to proceed.

Basi's lawyer, Michael Bolton, spoke to reporters outside the court Thursday morning.

"We are very concerned as to what happened. We really need the answers because this is very important evidence that could affect the outcome of this case," Bolton said.

Leonard Krog, the New Democrats' attorney general critic, called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee an investigation.

"If this information is true, it amounts to not only a violation of government policy, but also a serious breach of trust and potential obstruction of justice," Krog said in a release.

"The investigation must determine who issued the order to destroy information and why the government turned its back on laws and policies that called for the retention of these records."

The charges of corruption and fraud against Basi and Virk stem from RCMP raids on the legislature in 2003. But the two aides have always maintained that whatever they did during the sale of BC Rail to CN Rail, it was on government orders.

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Appointing Special Prosecutor appropriate
Andy Ivens

The Province - July 16, 2009

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Comments:
this is so absurd. of course there are back ups. the emails exist on symour st. someone would have to delete these tapes and no govt emplyee will or would do that, no one will lose their pension over that. it just wont happen. the emails will ALL be provided.
 
get on with some of these Basi trials. I dont care which one. Just lets het on with one of them, any of them!
 
Seen this on Harvey O page

BC Rail: H.O. on CFUN 1410 Friday
July 17th, 2009 ·
Back on the radio Friday 8 a.m. CFUN 1410 AM to talk about the latest revelations regarding the BC Rail e-mails. And listen there …or watch here this weekend … for my theory of what’s really going on: it’s all unfolding just as the government would like!!

EM
 
Isn't it becoming obvious that there, is no resolution to this situation, which is increasingly centred on the premier's office, as long as Mr. Campbell holds that office?

The premier should resign.
 
Chris,

Without trying to pre-judge the trial, I think that there really is a resolution to the BC Rail situation and that is: get the trial started.

Then having Gordo sitting on his throne in Victoria with nowhere to hide when the e.mails are read into evidence would add a great deal to resolving the situation.

Just my guess.
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Should the Premier resign?

What the good citizens of British Columbia should be asking of their government now is that the premier be held accountable to his own words. Gordon Campbell has been insistent since the legislature raids occurred in Dec. 28, 2003 that no elected officials, and in particular, no cabinet members, were implicated in any illegal acts. Yet the very records that could give truth to his statement have vanished on his watch – two years after they were first requested by the defence lawyers!

Even if the missing cabinet emails were to be “found” now, the apparent obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence which occurred on the premier’s watch would make it questionable whether the records would be unaltered and complete.

In the July 17, 2009 Times Colonist story, the premier is quoted as saying: “Let it (the court case) run its course and everyone will know what the facts are.” But the case hasn’t run its course in five and a half years, and facts have been withheld: the reason behind both phenomena may be the very man who spoke those words. In the same report, the premier also said concerning the destruction of the court-requested emails: “I don’t issue directives with regards to that.” Nor did King Henry II order the assassination of Thomas Beckett; he only made his wishes known!

In the name of credibility and justice, what alternatives does the premier have but to step aside in the current situation?

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance" - Thomas Jefferson
 
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