Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"You can anticipate the trial will start in early January,” she told the assembled teams of lawyers, most of whom have been on the case since 2004

New judge bring sense of urgency to B.C. corruption trial

Mark Hume

The Globe and Mail - Sept. 30, 2009

Read more HERE.

Vancouver A marathon political corruption trial that has been before the Supreme Court of British Columbia for nearly five years got a new judge Wednesday – and a new sense of urgency.

In making her first appearance, Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie left no doubt that she wants the case against Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi to get moving.

“You can anticipate the trial will start in early January,” she told the assembled teams of lawyers, most of whom have been on the case since the three former government employees were charged in 2004 with fraud, breach of trust and money laundering.

The defence had been anticipating a much later start to the trial, and Mr. Virk's lawyer, Kevin McCullough, rose to suggest January might be too optimistic a target.

“I don't want to start off on the wrong foot … [but] I don't anticipate disclosure will be complete,” he said, referring to an ongoing and much-argued process that has seen the defence win access to thousands of cabinet documents.

There are several outstanding applications to do with disclosure issues, the admissibility of search warrants and wiretap evidence. And there is an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada regarding a secret informant whose identity the Crown is seeking to protect.

But Judge MacKenzie, who is taking over because Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett has been promoted to the B.C. Court of Appeal, said she is familiar with the case files and feels confident disclosure issues will be wrapped up by January. “I have read every decision and I have read mountains of transcripts [from this case],” she said. {Snip} ...

She then proceeded to run through a series of dates with Crown and defence counsel, setting out the schedule she expects to see followed throughout October, November and December.

Among other things, she pushed up the timing of an application the defence is expected to make in which it will argue that the right of the accused to have a trial within a reasonable time has been violated.

When Michael Bolton, who is defending Dave Basi, said more time was needed to prepare medical and economic reports from experts on the impact that delays have had on the accused, Judge MacKenzie granted a bit more time, but set firm dates.

“I want to set them so you can tell your medical people those are the court dates,” she said.

“You'll have to … explain [to medical and financial experts] the court's urgency on this matter, because sometimes these things can get dragged out.”

William Berardino, the special prosecutor, said the Crown is ready to go to trial now and has been since last spring.

Judge MacKenzie told the lawyers to return to court on Oct. 13, when she'll hear an application related to the disclosure of BC Rail documents.

“We've accomplished a significant amount and I'm satisfied,” she said before standing down. {Snip} ...

The case came to public attention on Dec. 28, 2003, when police investigators searched the offices of Dave Basi and Mr. Virk, both high-level ministerial aides who were involved with the government's $1-billion sale of BC Rail to CN Rail.


New Basi-Virk judge says anticipate trial in early January; defence unconvinced

BC Rail corruption case may finally be heard - or not.

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist
Sept. 30, 2009

The new B.C. Rail corruption case judge says the trial should begin in early January 2010 – six years after police raided the B.C. Legislature.

Justice Anne MacKenzie told her first court hearing since taking over from Justice Elizabeth Bennett that she is intent on moving quickly to the trial of former B.C. government ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk for alleging [allegedly] leaking confidential B.C. Rail sale documents to lobbyists representing a bidder.

“You can anticipate that this trial will start in early January - that’s a reasonable assumption,” MacKenzie said.

But defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing Virk, was not convinced.

“This trial was going to start in November 2005,” McCullough pointed out while objecting to MacKenzie’s proposed schedule for remaining defence applications.
{Snip} ...


We finally have a trial date

Bill Tieleman
24 HOURS - Oct. 1, 2009




Robin Mathews in Supreme Court today

Morning in Supreme Courtroom 42, September 30, 2009
By Robin Mathews

All attention was focussed on the "new" judge appearing for the first time to preside over pre-trial and trial processes involving the accusations against Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi.

Observers were given time to ponder the circumstances of her arrival since Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie entered court twenty minutes late. Will her appearance be a victory for the Gordon Campbell government? We remember that the withdrawal of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett was a matter for her to decide. But we also remember a few months ago Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm appeared in the court to hear a motion by Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino to have her removed. And that Defence entered a motion to have her stay. We remember, as well, that Dohm said he would be back in the court at some time to announce the change (he obviously agreed with Mr. Berardino)- for which he said he had for already chosen the replacement (apparently, unannounced, Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie). If that is so, how free was Madam Justice Bennett to choose?

And what is the meaning of the presence, now, of Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie?

We will probably never have the answer to those questions in the light of the extraordinary set of circumstances.

Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie made clear that she wants the matter to proceed without delay and even spoke of a January trial date. She said, in addition, that she wants to move immediately to what is known as the Eleven B application. That is the application by Defence for mistrial because of unnecessary delay - provided for in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which requires that the trial of accused persons is conducted without unreasonable delay.

Defence responded that the application cannot be heard until (in effect) all the delay is before the court, and so it should wait until disclosure is complete. The judge disagreed and said Defence could "factor in" further delay (that is, guess what it might be). Mr. Berardino, Special Crown Prosecutor spoke for an immediate hearing of the Eleven B application in support of Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie's position.

That was the character of her attitude to the process in general, and she shaped what she hopes will be a schedule proceeding into early December. During the back-and-forth concerning the directions she wishes proceedings to take, she stated that she has not read all the material generated. That was a fear reasonable people had when Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett announced her withdrawal - could Madam Justice MacKenzie get "up to speed", as one journalist said it.

She is, apparently, not "up to speed" yet, though she is in full charge of the process.

Outside the courtroom, Leonard Krog, NDP justice critic remarked that it was clear to him Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie wants to get going and wants to be in stronger control than Madam Justice Bennett apparently was. Mr. Krog suggested that from a public interest perspective that is a good thing. Any of counsel, he opined, is going to have to have really good excuse to delay. (In fact, she made clear that this case must be primary with counsel and it is others they must put aside in cases of conflict.)

Mr. Krog may be right. He may not be. For if Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie is in the court to prevent any further revelations about high government officials being involved in questionable actions involving the sale of BC Rail, then her presence will speed, perhaps, the trial of the three accused men, but will prevent the full scope of responsibility in the matter to be known. Mine is a speculation - as is Mr. Krog's.

Our speculations will be proved or disproved when the hearings resume on October 13, leap-frogging their way through the weeks until early December. Ten a.m., October 13 is the next date of appearance on the BC Rail Scandal court processes.



Madam Justice MacKenzie sets date for Defence trial-delay application

The Basi-Virk case stems from a police investigation over the alleged leak of confidential information from ministerial aides about the BC Rail bidding process, which led to the unprecedented police search of the legislature in December 2003.

The Basi-Virk case stems from a police investigation over the alleged leak of confidential information from ministerial aides about the BC Rail bidding process, which led to the unprecedented police search of the legislature in December 2003.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Canwest News Service file

Full column is HERE.

VANCOUVER - The new trial judge in the Basi-Virk political corruption case made it very clear Wednesday that she wanted to set a date to hear the defence trial-delay application.

During a pre-trial conference, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie said there was some urgency to hearing the defence application that the trial delay in the case has caused prejudice to accused.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, who representing the accused Bob Virk, expressed concern that the application should be heard after all the Crown disclosure has been completed, but the judge insisted the matter be scheduled right away.

"I want to do that first," the judge told the defence and Crown lawyers.

"I don't want to start off on the wrong foot," McCullough responded, adding he thinks the disclosure is nowhere near complete so the constitutional argument on trial delay should be put off until just before the trial begins.

The judge, however, suggested the defence should anticipate that the trial will start next January.

After a brief adjournment for counsel to discuss the matter, the defence trial-delay application was set for Dec. 1. It is scheduled to last five to eight days.

Under 11(b) of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a person charged with a criminal offence is guaranteed the right "to be tried within a reasonable time," which the Supreme Court of Canada has found to be in the range of 12 to 14 months after arrest.

The charges in Basi-Virk case were laid in 2004, so the trial judge will have to hear legal arguments and evidence about whether the Crown and defence caused the delay, and whether the delay was unreasonable.

If a judge finds the Crown caused unreasonable delay, a judge can rule the accused person's fair-trial rights were violated and the usual remedy is to stay the charges.

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton, acting for the accused Dave Basi, told the judge that he will bring evidence in the form of reports about how the trial delay has affected the accused psychologically and financially.

{Snip} ...

The case will return to court Oct. 13 to continue hearing applications for disclosure of documents held by the provincial government, including the cabinet.

Another week of arguments concerning application for disclosure of BC Rail documents is set to start Oct. 19.

{Snip} ...

At the centre of the case is the controversial $1-billion privatization sale of BC Rail to CN Rail, which was announced by the government in November 2003 and finalized in 2004.

Five years and not a trial in sight

New judge takes over BC Rail case as process is poised to collapse

By Vaughn Palmer,
Vancouver Sun - October 1, 2009

When Justice Anne MacKenzie formally took charge of the BC Rail case Wednesday, she wasn't long in signalling that, as the expression goes, a new sheriff is in town.

MacKenzie advised the parties at a pre-trial hearing that she wanted to begin the much-delayed B.C. Supreme Court trial in the new year.

But it may not come to that because she also announced that she wanted to proceed straightaway with a defence application to have the entire case thrown out because of the years of delay in going to trial.

Her intentions brought an expression of concern from defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, who noted that his side is still in the midst of efforts to obtain as much evidence as possible through a series of disclosure motions.

The judge reiterated her determination to proceed with the delay-of-trial application, all but cutting him off. "I want to do that first."

"I don't want to start off on the wrong foot," McCullough returned, while maintaining his view that the order of business should be disclosure first, delay-of-trial application later.

Not surprisingly, Justice MacKenzie prevailed, as my colleague Neal Hall reported in a story posted on The Vancouver Sun website shortly after the pre-trial conference wrapped up.

The expedited delay-of-trial application will be heard starting Dec. 1. It is expected to take five to eight days of court time.

The prosecution has been urging this course of action for some time, presumably on the notion that if the case were going to be tossed because of the delays, there would be no need to resolve the many other outstanding issues in this exceedingly complex proceeding.

Indeed, it would be bizarre if the court were to tackle other issues -- which could consume additional weeks if not months -- only to return to the delay-of-trial issue after the court itself had contributed to the delays. {Snip} ...

MacKenzie's predecessor, Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett, estimated in August that the case "will not likely resolve for at least another year."

She said that after accepting a post on the Court of Appeal, having presided over the case since January 2006, during which time she didn't hear more than a scrap or two of actual evidence.

Instead, she vetted application after application for disclosure of evidence, with each succeeding application spawning more applications until the material disclosed numbered in the hundreds of thousands of pages.

To be sure, those applications were mounted by the defence. The prosecution will argue the defence was mostly responsible for the delays. The defence will say in reply that if police had been more forthcoming in the disclosure process, there would have been no need for all the applications. And so on.

Hence the need to set aside five to eight days for the back-and-forth on the delay-of-trial application.

Nor is that the end of the issues standing in the way of this case proceeding to trial. The defence intends to challenge the wiretap evidence and the search warrants. Plus there is the matter currently before the Supreme Court of Canada involving the handling of the so-called "secret witness," actually a police informer.

Any one of those issues could sink the case. Wiretap evidence declared inadmissible. Search warrant thrown out. Prosecution abandoned to protect the identity of the informer. Judge stays the charges because of unreasonable delays in going to trial.

As noted above, it makes sense to hear the delay-of-trial application first because if the defence wins on that one, then the other issues are, as the lawyers say, moot.

In that event, the public would be left wondering about a years-long case involving allegations of political corruption that ended with no answers, only more questions.

A change of government could spawn a public inquiry. One or the other of the accused might launch a suit for wrongful prosecution. But barring the answers that might emerge from those proceedings, one has to underscore the significance of the farewell statement of departing Justice Bennett.

"Over the past three years, I have read thousands of pages of documents as part of these applications, and have issued a number of rulings. However, no evidence has been heard on what might be referred to as the trial proper." She repeated the point: "I have heard no evidence except for a few minutes of evidence on a disclosure motion."

No evidence. Not tested in court. Not even presented in court. Something to keep in mind. Because if this case collapses without going to trial, then the public record would show no evidence, no findings, no verdicts, only rumours, innuendo and speculation.
Pssst ... Vaughn: Don't overlook the fact that -- within that statement of Justice Bennett -- there is the clear-as-diamonds acceptance that the trial of Basi-Virk had begun; from which it follows that she as presiding judge was obliged by law to complete that trial.
- BC Mary.



Today is her first day on the Basi Virk / BC Rail trial. "All rise please" for Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie

Confirmed: Pre-trial conference begins at 9:00 AM. Open to the public.


Monday, September 28, 2009


Founder of Harmony Airways which once was headed by former B.C. Finance Minister Gary Collins, is arrested

Vancouver businessman David Ho charged with unlawful confinement and weapons offences

By Charlie Smith
See full column HERE.

One of Vancouver’s richest men faces several serious criminal charges.

David Ho, owner of the University Golf Club and MCL Motors, was arrested following a police investigation that began in late December. Ho burst into public prominence in 1987 when he bought Gray Beverage.

Ho, 57, is charged with the following offences:

• unlawful confinement
• unlawfully causing bodily harm
• storage of a firearm contrary to regulations
• unauthorized possession of a firearm
• possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition
• possession of a prohibited weapon without a licence
• possession of a controlled substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

According to a Vancouver Police Department statement, Ho connected with a woman on a chat line and brought her back to his house on December 28, 2008.

Ho allegedly prevented her from leaving at 4:45 the next morning. She called 9-1-1, a violent struggle allegedly occurred, and she managed to escape after suffering a fractured ankle and minor injuries.

Ho created the now-defunct Harmony Airways, which at one time was headed by former B.C. Liberal finance minister Gary Collins. Ho's father made a fortune as the head of Hong Kong Tobacco Co.

In a Maclean's magazine profile, journalist Peter C. Newman once wrote that Ho "could buy and sell the half-dozen millionaires I have portrayed during the past six months".

In 2005, Ho was involved in a controversy with then-VPD chief Jamie Graham. At the time, the department issued a news release declaring that media outlets had falsely claimed that Ho had paid for hotel rooms at the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Vancouver in 2004.

Ho is a former member of the Vancouver police board. He will appear in Vancouver Provincial Court on October 26.


Billionaire Vancouver businessman David Ho faces criminal charges

VANCOUVER SUN - Sept. 28, 2009
Read full column HERE.



Ting Kwok Ho, or David Ho, is also accused of unlawfully causing bodily harm, four weapons charges and one count of possessing a controlled substance. September 28, 2009. (CTV)

For full column with photos and video, click HERE.

Darcy Wintonyk, - Sept. 28, 2oo9

A billionaire Vancouver businessman has been charged with the unlawful confinement of a sex trade worker he met online.

Ting Kwok Ho, or David Ho, the founder and owner of the now-defunct Harmony Airways, is also accused of unlawfully causing bodily harm, four weapons charges and one count of possessing a controlled substance.

Police say the investigation into the 57-year-old began last December, after a woman Ho allegedly met in an online chat room called police to say he was stopping her from leaving his home.

Supt. Rob Rothwell of the Vancouver Police Department's Investigative Services Section said the victim was able to use her cell phone to call 911 around 4:45 a.m.

"While she was speaking with the operator, a violent struggle allegedly ensued in which she suffered a number of minor injuries," Rothwell said.

"It is alleged a struggle then ensued and the victim sustained bruises and scrapes, all injuries of a minor nature."

The woman managed to escape the home, but suffered a fractured ankle in the process. Once outside her screams were heard by neighbours, who called police.

Rothwell says the businessman was arrested after an "extensive and complex" investigation.

He appeared in a Vancouver courtroom Monday morning and was released on a $100,000 security. His next court appearance is set for October 26. {Snip} ...

Ho reportedly decided to start his own airline in 2001 after being stranded with his 10-year-old daughter for 18 hours at the Maui airport. He launched Harmony Airways in 2002, which flew to several domestic and international destinations before it shut down in 2007.


Additional details published on Sept. 29, 2009 HERE.
"I am addicted to helping prostitutes", Sept. 30, 2009 HERE.
More news reports available by Googling "David Ho arrested".



Gordo's $138,000 playpen for paper pushers (with photos) plus other atrocities

B.C. Liberals spend $138,000 on "work-free zone" for bureaucrats, with Nintendo Wii and easy chairs

By Michael Smyth
The Province - September 28, 2009

The Health and Wellness Centre Facility for employees at the Ministry of Environment office in Victoria, B.C. September 21, 2009.

Click HERE for the full column and 3 Photograph[s] by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist

VICTORIA — It’s 11 a.m. and the pedestrians bustling by the Environment Ministry building in a high-rent commercial district of Victoria would be forgiven for thinking busy civil servants are hunkered down and toiling away inside.

But press your nose against the frosted-glass windows and you can make out something else: Three guys shooting a game of pool, two young people whooping it up over a spirited game of foosball and a couple of middle-management types enjoying a friendly ping-pong match.

Welcome to the “work-free zone” — the government’s new “wellness centre” for civil servants.

It also features a plush video-game lounge complete with sofa, easy chairs and a 50-inch plasma TV with surround sound and Nintendo Wii console.

A note pinned to the wall indicates Dance Revolution 2 is the current favourite.

The cost of this romper room for desk jockeys?

A cool $45,000 to renovate the space and install the games, plus $85,000 a year in rent, about $5,000 a year for utilities and maintenance and $3,100 a year for leased equipment in an adjoining yoga studio.

That’s more than $138,000 this year alone — and all while the government cancels surgeries and cuts community grants to save money in tough times. {Snip} ...

The $138,000 play room for civil servants is just one.

Here are some others, along with a chance to blow the whistle on government waste yourself:

B.C. Rail - Taxpayers might be surprised to learn B.C. Rail still exists, never mind that it’s still draining their wallets.

Even though the government sold the B.C. Rail business — including all rolling stock — to private-sector CN Rail for $1 billion six years ago, the Crown corporation still exists, complete with a president making a half-million dollars a year.

B.C. Rail has a second $268,000-a-year president in charge of real-estate holdings (the government still owns the tracks, railbed and a 40-kilometre spur line) and two other senior managers bagging each more than $200,000.

All told, taxpayers are paying a quartet of executives $1.2 million a year to run a money-losing, 40-kilometre railroad with 24 employees and no trains.

[Michael Smyth's complete column is exciting reading. Click here.]

“People certainly have concerns and have expressed them,” admits Transportation Minister Shirley Bond, who revealed B.C. Rail is under the cost-cutting microscope.

Is B.C. Rail on a one-way track to the same destination as Tourism B.C.?

The government shut down that Crown corporation last month, fired its CEO and merged its functions with the tourism ministry.

Gag-law appeal - Nothing gets a lawyer’s heart pumping faster than the words “billable hours” — and the government’s decision to appeal the court ruling against its own election gag law means that taxpayers will pay through the nose for legal fees.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in April that spending restrictions on third-party election advertising contravened freedom-of-speech rights in the Constitution.

Rather than live by the ruling, the governing Liberals are taking the case to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

How much will that cost taxpayers?

“I don’t know,” said Attorney-General Mike de Jong. “I’ll see if there’s an estimate available.”

No estimate had arrived by press time, but a legal opinion obtained by the Opposition New Democratic Party pegs the cost at $200,000 and potentially much more, if the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ironically, the NDP passed a similar gag law when they were in power — and guess who went ballistic?

“Immoral and undemocratic,” was then-justice-critic Mike de Jong’s charge.

The NDP’s gag law was ruled unconstitutional, too, but there was no appeal.

The Liberals should drop this costly case.

Olympic splurging - Most British Columbians support the Olympics, but why should the government buy $1.4 million worth of 2010 tickets on their dime?

That’s how much three Crown corporations — B.C. Hydro, ICBC and B.C. Lotteries — are spending on Olympic tickets for their executives, staff, clients and contest-winners. Luckily, VANOC is setting up a website for people to sell their unwanted tickets, so the government could easily unload them.

Meanwhile, taxpayers will also cough up millions to pay civil servants seconded to work on the Olympics for up to six months.

But if the government can do without their services for that long, are they really necessary employees?

Or simply part of a bloated bureaucracy?

Public-affairs bureau - Speaking of bloat, this is the branch of government that monitors and manages the news.

But the biggest news of all is how this collective of spin-doctors has grown in size and cost: $28 million this year and a staff of 197 — the largest communications apparatus in B.C. history.

The Liberals did lay off eight people in this office last month — a good start for a branch of government ripe for downsizing.

The $7-million advertising budget should feel the scalpel, too.

Colossal cabinet - When Premier Gordon Campbell unveiled his new cabinet in June, he was widely expected to set a cost-cutting example by bringing in a smaller group of front-benchers. Instead, the cabinet ranks swelled from 22 to 24 ministers — a nine-per-cent increase at a massive cost to taxpayers.

Some average annual cabinet costs: $600,000 to run a minister’s office, $220,000 for a deputy minister’s salary, $75,000 in ministerial travel expenses and $50,930 in ministerial bonus pay.

A smaller cabinet would mean big savings for taxpayers.

Campbell instead appointed one of the largest cabinets ever, including three — count ’em, three — ministers with responsibility for amateur sports.

He also anointed six Liberal MLAs as “parliamentary secretaries,” each earning more than $15,000 in bonus pay.

Soaring salaries - The government ordered a review of executive salaries at B.C. Ferries and TransLink after Transportation Minister Shirley Bond expressed shock that Ferries boss David Hahn was making $1 million a year.

Executive-booty hauls at TransLink have soared by up to 77 per cent.

But the government should be checking out the executive pay packets at places such as the provincial health authorities, too, where top bureaucrats made more than $10 million in 2007-08.

“We’re looking at an accountability measurement on their pay,” Health Minister Kevin Falcon revealed.

“It will take a portion of their salary and make sure it is only paid on performance objectives like financial targets and better patient outcomes.”

And now it’s your turn: Are you aware of wasteful government spending that should be stopped?

Have you ever witnessed wasteful government practices and wished you could do something about it?

E-mail your tips, anonymously if you prefer, and I will try to check out your leads for a follow-up column.

Because, before the government cuts spending on public services, it must stop wasteful spending of the public’s money.

And that $138,000 playpen for paper pushers? It should be the first to go.

The president and vice-president of BC Rail plus two others are taking home $1.2 million of BC taxpayers' dollars each year ... which surely must mean that they are still answerable to their employers: the people of B.C. So how long does everybody tiptoe around them, never asking a single question, because "it" is before the court? - BC Mary.


Saturday, September 26, 2009


Basi Virk updates from Bill Tieleman

BASI-VIRK - BC Supreme Court session begins 9 a.m. Wednesday September 30, October 13 & more

Bill Tieleman's information is just a click away for dates, times, even topics on the Trial That Never Begins - also known as Basi-Virk, the BC Legislature Raid and Railgate. He writes:

Defence lawyers and Special Prosecutors will convene in open court on Wednesday September 30 at 9 a.m. for a pre-trial conference meeting with the new judge replacing Justice Elizabeth Bennett - Justice Anne MacKenzie ....

Bill's complete column is HERE.



Robin Mathews: BC Rail Scandal Court Processes

Hiding From The Truth? The BC Rail Scandal Court Processes
By Robin Mathews

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, pursuing her own pleasure before her duty to justice and the people of British Columbia I believe, has withdrawn from the BC Rail Scandal case against Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, (top cabinet aides) and Aneal Basi, accused of (variously) 14 counts of fraud, breach of trust, and money laundering.

Madam Justice Bennett HAS NOT “recused” herself. Patrick Brown, in a fairly long article (Island Tides, Sept. 10, 09, 2,3,5) misuses the word. He says she has chosen to “’recuse’ herself from the case (an unusual use of the word)”.

It is not an unusual use of the word, but a misuse of it. She has not “decided…to…’recuse’ herself”. She has decided, rather, to seek her own pleasure in the matter. If she, herself, has used the word “recuse”, she should not have done so, for to do so is seriously misleading.

The word “recuse” is a strange one, originating in the French. In English it properly means to object to something as prejudiced. When a judge “recuses” himself or herself, it is because he or she would be seen to be prejudiced (if the accused were a cousin, if the judge had done business with the accused, etc. etc.).

In English the word arises from the time of the religious wars in England when some people refused to attend the Church of England. They were called “recusants”, and the word came to bear the load, it seems, of prejudiced and calculated bias.

In French the word means to object to testimony, to impugn a witness, to challenge. Very clearly, in French, “to recuse” means to challenge a person or testimony as being illegitimate. When, in English, a judge “recuses” himself or herself, he or she does so, recognizing that to continue is to face challenge for prejudicial action or position.

And so, in effect, the judge challenges himself or herself, and steps down. That is – in no way – the case with Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett; she possessed no issue of bias or prejudice to lead her “to recuse”.

She herself has chosen – whatever the existence or non-existence of political pressure – to serve her own pleasure in the matter, and to leave a heavy obligation she has to the pursuit of justice and to the people of British Columbia. (She might well, humourously, be called a “recusant” in the matter – someone, that is, who refuses duty to God and to the kingdom).

Sloppiness with the word “recuse” is part of the general sloppiness of response to the truly grave developments in the BC Rail Scandal “trial”. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett has, quite obviously, refused to initiate action and investigation that growing evidence (revealed in court – and in evidence withheld from the public) cries out to be followed up. She does not (as I say) face what is before her but (metaphorically) turns her face to the wall (in horror?).

And so it is with most of those who report the case – such as Patrick Brown, ordinarily a sharp and knowing observer.

Every observer should be insisting on the enormity of the evidence Defence has wrested from the Gordon Campbell forces. Every observer should be demanding criminal investigation be conducted of many of the key, top people involved in the BC Rail Scandal. The court procedures in place now can be nothing but an embarrassing sham as long as those alleged to have manipulated, organized, and coordinated the corrupt sale of BC Rail are left uninvestigated by the RCMP.

The RCMP has, has had, or can have access to much of the damning evidence pointing to possible malfeasance on the part of the Gordon Campbell forces.

More and more, insistent evidence reveals – it seems – that the Gordon Campbell forces may be alleged to have worked together to break the election promise that BC Rail would not be sold, to misrepresent the state of the railway purposefully, to prepare it for “sale” by misrepresentation to the public, to manipulate its assets so as to misreport its earning capability, to intend it for CN Rail long before what appears to have been a fraudulent “open, public auction process”, and to have the terms of agreement uncertain and misreported to the public.

For all we know now, the formal allegations against the three accused may have arisen because they were following – in a small corner of the overall program - the instructions, or the policy, or the intentions, or a general plan of action set out by their elected/unelected superiors.

The apparent enormity of those alleged actions cannot be – it seems – faced by observers. Patrick Brown’s article, for instance, seems to see the matter as almost normal. He says, for instance, the request by Defence for cabinet-level emails concerning the sale of BC Rail was met “with the astonishing suggestion that they had all been destroyed”. It was not a “suggestion”; it was a statement of fact.

The discovery of some emails since does not change the fact that counsel for the Gordon Campbell cabinet informed the court that all emails covering three or four years were destroyed. And unless ALL emails are made available to test for relevance to the defence of the accused, evidence of primary importance may be alleged to have been destroyed by the Gordon Campbell administration.

The present shadow-boxing to get slices of emails cannot obscure a central fact: key evidence in a case that saw charges laid in 2004 may have been destroyed by the Gordon Campbell forces.

If true, that is an enormity, whether it happened by accident or design. We have the right – the need - to know if the destruction was “accident” or “design”. Only a full RCMP investigation, I suggest, can supply the answer.

Enough. Enough of the “culture of complacency”. The conduct of the pre-trial hearings in the BC Rail Scandal case has revealed, I declare, a peremptory and insistent need: all of the people, elected or otherwise, involved in the “sale” of BC Rail must be fully investigated by the RCMP in order to clear them of suspicion or to bring accusations of wrong-doing against them.

That is the point we have now reached in the pre-trial hearings presided over by Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. The implications of the pre-trial hearings, I believe, demand full investigation of Gordon Campbell and his elected and other associates involved in the BC Rail Scandal to assess their actions for allegations of criminal wrong-doing.

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett – I suggest with the deepest respect – is fleeing from those implications with all the speed she can muster. Serious, responsible British Columbians must not do so. They must not let those implications go unreported, unimpugned, uninvestigated, despite (what I call) the indefensible action of Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett. They must demand the opening of a whole set of RCMP investigations of those most directly involved in the BC Rail Scandal and “sale”.


Friday, September 25, 2009


Your weekend Campbell quizz

Who was that dark-haired lady? Why is she angry with Gordo?

There was an editorial cartoon -- only in The Province -- Sept. 24, 2009 showing two people:

- Gordo is saying "What went wrong?" as he watches a trim young dark-haired lady stomp off in a huff

- she's wearing high heeled shoes, her identifying cartoon-sash reveals that she is "BC"

- Trim young lady is saying "Your lips moved."

- Gordo is left standing helplessly, flowers in his hair, more flowers and a Valentine heart at his feet.

Maybe I just can't handle the suggestion that British Columbia is still an unscarred, nubile young female after Gordo has had his way with her. [Gag me with a spoon! Shoot me now!]

Others have seen that editorial cartoon. Please tell me, what exactly is it saying?

OCTOBER 1, 2009

Please use the hyperlink in the top line to see the cartoon.

I could easily make a guess if the editorial cartoon showed angry senior citizens, northerners, fishermen, loggers ... or students, or young families ... like, citizens. Angry, seriously worried citizens stomping off, abandoning Gordo and his lies.

But a single, nubile, dark-haired young lady stomping away from a romantic situation with Gordo still wearing a flower in his hair? She is battered, bruised, devastated British Columbia? Gordo & BC were just sweet young lovers?

Puh-leeze, this has to have some other meaning; and maybe I'm not seeing it because I just can't handle it. What's your opinion? If you'd prefer to keep your reply private, just write NOT FOR PUBLICATION across the top of your comment. - BC Mary.

This cartoon-puzzle hasn't been solved yet. My best source tells me that he has heard nothing about Gordo falling off the wagon (if the "Tipsy white-haired man in glasses" in the Anonymous story was supposed to be Gordo, that is). And it did seem an exceptionally stupid blunder even for Gordo. If it was a little trap, performed on cue as mischief, I find it cruel and bizarre in the extreme -- even to the hapless Gordo -- and would suggest that the perpetrators examine their job descriptions a little more closely.

But the rest of the story, from several sources, is that Gordo on his own merits(?) is toast, old news, done, toes-up, practically on his way to Maui.

So shouldn't that cartoon be showing Beautiful B.C. as the one left standing in the wreckage as ex-King Gordo goes stomping off-stage? I still don't get that cartoon.

- BC Mary.



Thursday, September 24, 2009


Tuques Off to Gary Mason on BC Rail

New ringmaster, same circus as BC Rail trial resumes
The Globe and Mail - September 24, 2009

VANCOUVER -- When the corruption trial involving former aides in the B.C. government resumes next week, there will be a new judge sitting at the head of the courtroom.

Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie of the B.C. Supreme Court takes over a case that may soon be dealing with potentially explosive allegations - ones that could have serious repercussions for certain members of the provincial government.

The case stems from the now-infamous raid on the B.C. Legislature in December, 2003. The RCMP seized the records of two political aides, Dave Basi and Bob Virk, whom the police believed were leaking sensitive government information in exchange for cash and other gifts.In particular, the pair was supposed to have handed over information to the principals of a lobbying firm known as Pilothouse, which was representing the U.S. rail company OmniTrax. OmniTrax was a bidder in the sale of BC Rail, which was eventually sold to Canadian National.

The accused have maintained that to the extent they passed along any information to the representatives of one of the bidders, it was done with the consent and knowledge of their political masters. But beyond that, defence lawyers have suggested that officials at Pilothouse were getting inside information on the bid process from members of government, not low-level political aides.

And this is where things could get interesting as Judge MacKenzie takes over the nearly five-year-old case from Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who was recently promoted to the Appeal Court of B.C. The case is still mired in pretrial motions and is not scheduled to move to full trial until some time late next year.

So who might have something to be worried about?

The court now has a document that suggests Pilothouse officials received detailed information about the BC Rail sale from a cabinet meeting, which was not attended by Mr. Basi or Mr. Virk. We may soon learn the identity of the cabinet minister suspected to be the source of that information.

Another person who may be concerned is Pat Bell, the current Minister of Forests and MLA from the riding of Prince George North. At the time of the government sale of BC Rail, there was fierce opposition to the plan centred in and around the Prince George area. Residents and businesses did not want the government to give up control of a rail line upon which they depended each day.

Mr. Bell, I'm told, once had a bullet mailed to him by one irate resident with a note that read: "The next one has your name on it."

Even though he was not a member of cabinet at the time, Mr. Bell was under pressure from political supporters to oppose the sale. As deputy whip, however, he did have access to more insider information about the sale than most backbenchers. And he was been lobbied hard by officials from Pilothouse to support OmniTrax's bid over CN's.

According to a source, the court apparently has memos and billing records showing that Mr. Bell was in regular contact during the bid process with principals at Pilothouse, namely Brian Kieran. We do not know what information, if any, about the sale of BC Rail was exchanged.

Beyond Mr. Bell, the name of Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Petroleum Resources and MLA from Peace River South, is also likely to surface during pretrial hearings. He also hails from a part of B.C. that was adamantly opposed to the BC Rail sale and there is apparently similar evidence that he, too, was talking to Pilothouse officials about the sale of BC Rail.

And finally there is the matter of Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella and the role he might have played behind the scenes in the sale of BC Rail.

The defence has alleged that Mr. Kinsella, a former close friend of Mr. Campbell, was working as a political consultant and strategist for BC Rail - the seller- and CN, the eventual winner of the bid. While BC Rail officials have confirmed that Mr. Kinsella was working for them during the time of the sale, CN and Mr. Kinsella have remained silent with regards to the allegation he was working for the national rail company at the time too.

The previous judge in the case rejected a defence application to gain access to Mr. Kinsella's private records and e-mails at the time of the sale, saying she couldn't grant the request because there was no proof that he was working for BC Rail and CN at the same time. If that were proven, the judge said, she could see granting the order.

Apparently, there are former government officials willing to testify that Mr. Kinsella was working for CN Rail at the same time he was working for BC Rail.

None of this is good news for a government as low in the polls as it's been since taking office eight years ago.


Great piece of work, Gary, with fresh new elements ... hoping to see more of these soon ... and thank you! Question: why did you refer to the events of Dec. 28, 2003 as "the now-infamous raid on the BC Legislature"? Don't you think it was a shining moment when at least some branches of the justice system were undaunted in their search for solutions to an extremely troubling period in BC history?

- BC Mary.

P.S. Gary refers to "
When the corruption trial involving former aides in the B.C. government resumes next week" ... so would that be the "Pre-Trial Conference" or PTC referred to by EM, for September 30, 2009? Will try to confirm that. Later: yes! confirmed. See masthead. - M.



A little surprise from Vaughn Palmer

Cabinet minister makes a few slips about the Document Destruction, err, Disposal Act

BC Mary says: Like, isn't that the story of our lives in B.C.? Sure, Gordo's guys can make a few slips ... or even a dozen slips ... but we can always count on Vaughn Palmer to keep saying Just keep movin' along folks, ain't nuthin' to see here except, oh, right:

Still, NDP makes little headway in ascertaining whether Liberals obeyed their own legislation

Ye gods, how did we miss that?! Of course ... it was the NDP Opposition which failed ... of course! Gee. Thanks, Vaughn. - BC Mary.

Vancouver Sun - Sept. 22, 2009

Or, as Skookum1 says [Skookum1 has left a new comment on your post "A little surprise from Vaughn Palmer"]:

He'll do more than appear before a committee, I'm thinking. Look for Loukidelis to conduct a full-blown inquiry into the document disposal controversy, once (if?) the matters before the courts have been sorted out.

Palmer is playing the old irrelevancy sleight-of-hand, while pretending to be critical of his favourite governing party/clique/cabal. The deletion of emails is NOT before the courts - it has YET TO GET THERE.

What's in court is influence peddling, money laundering, sale of benefits etc. The deletion of emails relates to the proceedings only insofar as destruction of evidence goes; it does not relate in any way to the specific matters "before the court". Especially because the court hasn't taken any action to deal with those missing emails.

Saying something is before the courts and so can't be discussed is just a way of keeping it from getting TO the courts.......

Blaming the NDP for Liberal/Socred wrongdoing is such an old, old game, I presume only newcomers to BC are sucked in by it....


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Unbelievable stupidity: Wally Oppal didn't have authority to appoint a special prosecutor after earlier counsel refused to prosecute Blackmore, Oler

I have just heard the news about the dismissal of the Blackmore polygamy trial. How is it possible that a former justice of the BC Supreme Court ... a former justice of the BC Court of Appeal ... could make such an egregious legal blunder as this?

Polygamy charges thrown out against B.C. religious leaders

Robert Matas
The Globe and Mail - Sept. 23, 2009

Vancouver — Criminal charges against B.C. religious leaders Winston Blackmore and Jim Oler for polygamy were thrown out of court this morning.

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein decided that former attorney-general Wally Oppal did not have the authority to have lawyer Terry Robertson appointed as a special prosecutor after a previous special prosecutor had refused to prosecute the two men.

Mr. Robertson's appointment was contrary to the law and Mr. Robertson's decision to proceed with the prosecution “was therefore unlawful,” the judge wrote in a 34-page decision released today.

The Blackmore-Oler case was anticipated to test Canada's polygamy laws for the first time under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.

Mr. Blackmore, the former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was charged with being in a polygamous relationship with 19 women. Mr. Oler, another religious leader in the community, faced charges of polygamy for marriage to three women.

Mr. Blackmore has said that he believed the Charter provisions guaranteeing freedom of religion provided protection form criminal charges.

I couldn't help but think of Dave Basi, Bobby Virk, and Aneal Basi as I read this. Surely they cannot continue believing that the Campbell government is worthy of their loyalty? I think it's time for Basi, Virk, and Basi to think of the future ,,, and tell us what happened to BC Rail. - BC Mary.



Justices balk at lawyers running up the tab

Something to think about, as the Basi-Virk / BC Rail Case drags on ... on ... on, in BC Supreme Court. - BC Mary.

The high-end Vancouver law firm of Nathanson Schachter & Thompson does not deserve $10 million for winning a landmark mining lawsuit, the B.C. Court of Appeal says, because it failed to warn its client about the eye-popping bill.

By Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - Sept. 9, 2009

In a complicated split decision by a five-judge panel, three justices on Tuesday reversed a previous precedent by the court and changed the law in B.C. governing legal billing practices.

Justices Mary Newbury, Kenneth Smith and Pamela Kirkpatrick concluded that a lawyer who fails to advise his or her client fully and fairly about fees should be prohibited later from billing on a basis other than the basis understood by the client.

Until now, some B.C. lawyers did not discuss fees with clients on purpose because it could limit what they billed later.

The justices said: "We are of the view that [Nathanson Schachter & Thompson] breached its duty to advise the client fully and fairly regarding the terms of the retainer and that in the circumstances, it is precluded from claiming a fee greater than the sum of the fees already paid by the client."

They emphasized, however, that the firm's breach did not connote any dishonesty or deceit.

It was the largest contested legal fee in B.C. history, which is not surprising considering it was rendered on account of one of the largest civil judgments in provincial precedence.

A different majority of the panel -- Justices Robert Bauman, David Frankel and Smith -- decided that the registrar in this case erred by focusing too much on hourly billing rates.

But that decision was moot since the panel had already concluded the firm was precluded from extra-billing. {Snip} ...

After an enormously complicated and lengthy legal fight, the courts awarded Inmet a whopping $112.9 million in damages and interest. It also got to keep the mine.

While everyone was heady with success, lead lawyer Irwin Nathanson arranged a dinner with various Inmet executives and dropped his own bomb.

He told them his firm figured that the payment of an additional $5 million would result in a "fair fee" for what they had accomplished.

Inmet CEO Richard Ross said he was "stunned and surprised" by the request. The company balked at paying and took the matter to court.

The law firm had submitted monthly accounts and, as part of the fee dispute, registrar Murray Blok examined those bills.

He concluded they were "rounded up" considerably from the firm's normal fee schedule, which then ranged from $375 to $500 an hour.

By the time the lawsuit wrapped up, he calculated that the law firm had billed about $1 million extra or 30 per cent more than its standard hourly rate, for a total of some $4.4 million. It also received a $1-million bonus, bringing the total pay packet to $5.25 million, roughly $1.88 million, or 56 per cent, more than its normal hourly rate schedule.

Lead counsel Irwin Nathanson said he considered the normal hourly rates inappropriately low, and that he always intended to bill a "fair fee" at the conclusion of the litigation. However, he did not tell Inmet that.

Registrar Blok noted: "It reflects ill on the profession that clients might feel -- albeit through misunderstandings -- that their lawyers, whom they have trusted with their most confidential and important matters, have been less than candid with them about their billing arrangements. It is disquieting, too, that the current state of the law would tend to discourage lawyers from being completely open with their clients over billing arrangements."

The court of appeal agreed that the situation should be changed.

It overturned its previous ruling, saying it failed "to take account of the lawyer's duty to be candid with his or her client concerning dealings between them."


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Poll: 42% of Vancouver Point Grey voters would recall Campbell ...

Campbell now deeply unpopular in his home riding.

By Crawford Kilian
The Hook - September 19, 2009

As thousands of British Columbians rallied to protest the Harmonized Sales Tax, a new poll indicated Premier Gordon Campbell is deeply unpopular in his own home riding.

A B.C. Federation of Labour news release this morning cited a new Environics Poll showing 42 percent of voters in Vancouver Point Grey would sign a petition to recall Campbell, including a quarter of those who voted for him in May.

The release also said:
An overwhelming number (79 percent) believed the Premier should have told British Columbians that his government was going to introduce the tax prior to the election.

When told that the tax collected from consumers through the HST would all go to corporations instead of being used to pay for better government programs, 64 percent (including 59 percent of BC Liberal voters) said they were now even more opposed to the HST.

On the critical issue of whether or not British Columbians would support modest tax increases in order to pay for needed government services -- the poll found a large majority (78 percent) would support an increase.

... This finding crossed all political lines, with 74 percent of Liberals also coming out in support of the proposition that taxes should be increased to support public services.

CBC British Columbia ran a brief report Saturday afternoon, saying thousands of people had turned out for at least 15 anti-HST rallies, including one at the convention centre where both NDP leader Carole James and former Socred premier Bill Vander Zalm spoke against the tax.

The Vancouver Sun by late Saturday afternoon had nothing on the rallies. The Saturday Globe and Mail ran an editorial supporting the HST, but this afternoon ran a story by The Canadian Press covering the protests.


Monday, September 21, 2009


New CN Rail incident on our BC Rail line


Sources have told [Gary E] of a CN train incident on the BC Rail Line at Mile 64.

CN Rail apparently has been told to use patrols in the mountainous areas of this line but have quietly removed these patrols and put more lives in jeopardy.

The reason for these patrols is mainly to advise engineers in advance of rock or other obstructions on the line. There are also electric fences in place which trip an alarm to warn of danger. These fences do not always set warnings.

Picture if you will a huge boulder careening down a mountainside. These boulders are most times very large but can still bounce as they go. CN was warned of this scenario but chose to remove the patrols anyway.

{Snip} ...

Read Gary E's full report HERE.

Trouble finding Gary E's blog? Leave out one word and google


Sunday, September 20, 2009


A cry for help from old BCRail

Friends: I am still sick with a heavy cold and can't sort this out ... and the final paragraph is so important. Gordon Rhodes is speaking. Gordon was the lone survivor of a CN trainwreck himself, which took the lives of two other trainmen. The following was sent by North Van's Grumps.
- BC Mary.


This is as simple as ABC etc. [writes N.V.G.]


And now, here's my invisible friend Kootcoot who wanted to make those enormous links accessible ... Koot writes as follows:

These extremely long, ugly and mal-formed links are not working links - however, the information included in them may help the clever soul to start at and use some of the rest of the info to find the particular pages that NVG is trying to point to! -

The Links weren't working anyway, and at least now they aren't pushing Mary's Blog formatting all out of shape!

(repair attempted by kootcoot, but I can't figure out what are the correct links)

This one I focused on the Letter B,

Top of the list BC Rail Group:
Rail transport safety

Right below Rail "transport safety" is Gordon Rhodes with a zinger of a statement:

I meant Transport Canada. I feel that Transport Canada dropped the ball with the sale of B.C. Rail.

The way I look at it is this: CN is a big multinational corporation with railways going from Mexico to Canada; they have bought and absorbed many railways into their system, and they're experts at doing that. The problem here is that they absorbed one railway they had no expertise in. They thought they did, but they don't. Their arrogance is what happened, in the sense that they came in and took our GOI, general operating instructions, of probably some 50 years of railroad knowledge on how to run trains on that track, but they were going to do it their way because they wanted it all homogenized. They wanted it all one way, and that was it. They didn't listen to anybody, but just plowed ahead with their system.

Transport Canada didn't have anybody in position to have the knowledge to recognize that—or maybe there's just no legislation. I don't know. But they fell short in ensuring there was a proper transition going from the provincial regulations to the federal regulations. They fell short in recognizing the differences and what was needed, and because of that we've had all these accidents. Those accidents were preventable.

You're talking about a piece of track where we used to run five to seven trains a day, and CN ran two mega-trains. They tried to run two trains, and if you look at the accident ratio they have to the accident ratio we had—meaning B.C. Rail—it's night and day. It really is.

They can come in here and say all the fancy stuff they want, but the numbers, the realities, are there.

The answer is: we should've kept BC Rail in BC public ownership, to preserve and protect it as the lifeline of this province, enjoying not only the economic health of the interior towns it served but the general revenue from its operations.

We should have kept BC Rail.

Thanks for finding this, North Van's Grumps. - BC Mary


Friday, September 18, 2009


Rally against Gordo's HST Sept. 19, see Laila Yuile with Carole James on Global

Bill Tieleman's message:

Reminder - please come to the Fight HST rally on Saturday September 19 at 12 noon outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver.

I'll be speaking along with former Premier Bill Vander Zalm, NDP leader Carole James, Chris Delaney, deputy leader of the BC Conservative Party, Jordan Braun, deputy leader of the BC Refederation Party, business and community representatives and others.

It's a great chance to tell the BC Liberal government that the Harmonized Sales Tax is totally unacceptable and must be dropped.

But this is a grassroots rally with literally no money for advertising - we are depending on you to spread the word and attend Saturday at 12 noon in Vancouver - or at other rallies around the province - here is a list of other events across BC:

100 Mile House organizer: Janet Derepentigny
Location: TBA

Kamloops organizer: Chad Moat
LOCATION: Spirit Square

Kelowna Organizer: Matthew Reed
LOCATION: The Sails, walk to First United Church

Nanaimo Organizer - Janet Irvine
LOCATION: Maffeo-Sutton Park, Lions Pavilion
NOTE: Time is 1:00PM for this event.

Oliver organizer - Paul McCavour
LOCATION: Highway 97 near Super Valu
NOTE: This rally begins at 3:00 p.m.

Osoyoos organizer: Paul McCavour
LOCATION: junction of Highway 3 and 97

Prince George organizer: Mike Summers
LOCATION: Pat Bell, MLA office - Central

Vancouver organizer: Chris Delaney
LOCATION: Canada Place

Vernon organizer: Miles Lehn
LOCATION: Courthouse Steps

Victoria organizer: Brad Slade
LOCATION: Rear lawn of the Legislature, pending approval.

Williams Lake organizer: Dave Ligertwood

Quesnel organizer: Martin Eastman
LOCATION: Kitchant Street, Quesnel

Revelstoke organizer: Vanessa Smith
LOCATION: Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop

Laila Yuile attended the Vancouver rally on the main stage. Go to Laila's blog ... she will have a report up tomorrow. It certainly sounded exciting. - BC Mary.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Jaffer to be disciplined by the BC Law Society

Liberal Sen. Mobina Jaffer to undergo conduct review by BC Law Society

By: Tamsyn Burgmann
THE CANADIAN PRESS - Sept. 15, 2009

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Liberal Sen. Mobina Jaffer is being disciplined by the B.C. Law Society over allegations she bilked a religious order she represented as a lawyer. The society announced Tuesday that Jaffer will undergo a conduct review following a lengthy investigation into claims of overbilling by a Roman Catholic missionary order.

"This will be in the nature of a fairly serious and detailed cross-examination," said Stuart Cameron, the society's director of discipline.

"Where there is concern there won't be any hesitation, I'm sure, by the conduct reviewers in setting out what that concern is."

Jaffer's son, lawyer Azool Jaffer-Jeraj, will also face the review committee, which will be composed of two to four members who will start their work sometime this fall.

The Jaffers were fired by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate after the order was billed $5.1 million for work between 2000 and 2004 while they were defending the order against dozens of claims of abuse in residential schools.

The society began investigating accusations that the lawyers engaged in excessive and inaccurate billing - including charging for more hours than in a day - and that they failed to fairly and fully inform a client about their retainer.

A lawsuit launched by the order was settled out of court in late 2007, at which point the society's investigation began. Cameron said the investigation wasn't related to the quality of the lawyers' work, but to the allegations they misrepresented how they calculated their fees.

He said further details explaining what created grounds for the conduct review were confidential. Calls to the Jaffers were not immediately returned.

If the review finds misconduct, the pair could face further discipline, Cameron said. Action could include a formal hearing to determine punishment ranging from a reprimand or monetary fine to suspension or, in the most severe case, disbarment.
"The aim of the conduct review subcommittee members would be to bring home to the (lawyers) the professional conduct or ethical concerns, whatever they may be, and to bring home to them the need for some remediation," Cameron said. {Snip} ...
Read more HERE.


Missionaries sue Liberal Senator
Catholic order says lawyers overbilled
Read more of the Jaffer story HERE.

The law firm of Dohm, Jaffer, Jaffer-Teraj
is located at 1437 Kingsway in Vancouver, B.C.


Monday, September 14, 2009


Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, a sad farewell

Judge dismisses defence application for records of Liberal insider in Basi-Virk case

Vancouver Sun - September 14, 2009 10:28 AM

VANCOUVER - In her last ruling as the long-sitting judge in the Basi-Virk political corruption trial, Justice Elizabeth Bennett dismissed a defence application to obtain the records of Liberal insider Patrick Kinsella.

Bennett ruled there was not enough evidnce to show that Kinsella's records were relevant to the case.

She gave extensive oral reasons for her ruling. She then added: "This will be the last time you'll see me on this case."

Bennett was appointed earlier this year to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

A new trial judge, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anne Mckenzie, will replace Bennett.
{Snip} ...

More to come.

Good backgrounder by Bill Tieleman:

BASI-VIRK - decision in BC Supreme Court Monday September 14 at 9 a.m. on Kinsella documents

Outgoing Justice Elizabeth Bennett is scheduled to rule on a defence application to gain access to the private records of BC Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella at 9 a.m. on Monday September 14 at BC Supreme Court.

Kinsella, the BC Liberals' 2001 and 2005 election campaign co-chair, was employed by BC Rail as a consultant for $297,000 over four years - including the key period when the $1 billion privatization took place.

Those records, it should be noted, are not the BC Rail documents which have also been requested.

I have unfortunately missed a few court appearances during my summer holidays - including word that the new trial judge replacing Bennett will be Justice Anne MacKenzie.

More about MacKenzie on Bill's blog HERE ... Bill will be in BC Supreme Court and will post a story when he has an opportunity later in the day. - BC Mary.


Judge sides with Kinsella in Basi-Virk case

By Bill Tieleman
The Tyee - September 14, 2009

In her last appearance as judge in the Basi-Virk corruption case, Justice Elizabeth Bennett dismissed defence applications to obtain private documents from B.C. Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella and have him testify in a pre-trial disclosure hearing.

"This will be the last time you'll see me on this case," Bennett told defence and Crown lawyers at the B.C. Supreme Court, where she has presided over lengthy pre-trial hearings since 2006. Bennett has been promoted to the B.C. Court of Appeal and will be replaced by Justice Anne MacKenzie.

But before leaving Bennett dashed the hopes of defence lawyers for ex-B.C. Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, who face corruption charges related to the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail in 2003.

Lawyer Michael Bolton, acting for David Basi, said that while the defence is disappointed with Bennett’s final rulings, they plan to call Kinsella as a witness and again ask the court to order production of his private documents.

"The defence still views Mr. Kinsella as a key figure in this matter," Bolton said outside court. "This application will without question reappear before the new trial judge."

{Snip} ...

Bennett also made a ruling that Kinsella's lawyer, James Sullivan, obtained transcripts of earlier hearings in the case in violation of a court order that they not be given to potential witnesses. Bennett blamed the transcription company for the error, not Sullivan.

Bennett ordered production of a list of people who gained access to the transcripts be released to the defence.

Bolton called the transcript decision "very important" to the defence. Sullivan was not in court to comment.

Also in The Tyee today by Bill Tieleman:

Zalm hates the HST

an excerpt (did you know this?):

When the B.C. Liberal government in 2002 suddenly moved to privatize one-third of B.C. Hydro's operations, I contacted Vander Zalm -- which led me to be MC for "A Premier Event" -- a major protest in 2003 featuring Vander Zalm and former NDP Premier Dave Barrett -- together for the first time, with then-NDP House Leader Joy MacPhail, then-Unity Party Leader Delaney and then-Green Party Leader Adrian Carr.

All agreed Campbell's plan was a disastrous reversal of former Social Credit Premier W.A.C. Bennett's brilliant 1961 takeover of privately-held B.C. Electric, showing the B.C. Liberals had abandoned citizens from the political centre, left and right.

Later Bill Vander Zalm joined labour unions, community groups, the NDP and Unity to fight against the $1 billion privatization of former Crown Corporation B.C. Rail to CN Rail -- another giveaway deal that has hurt the province immensely -- and led to the longest and biggest political scandal in decades -- the B.C. Legislature Raid case, and a trial yet to begin.

[My emphases added ... I didn't know that about Vander Zalm. - BC Mary]


Defence bid to see insider documents quashed

Canadian Press
/CTV - Sept. 14, 2009


Well worth a second look, on the "Keeping it Real" blog of retired BC journalist, Harvey Oberfeld's column:

BC Rail: the stink is getting worse
Sept. 1 - 2009

Read it HERE.

And you read Harvey's thoughts on a topic where he has had 38 years of journalism experience, have a look [ahem ... hangs head, scuffs toe] at the comments section, where Commenter No. 4 had a lot to say that day, too. - BC Mary.

Kootcoot over at House of Infamy has something to say, too:

Good Bye and Good Riddance

When it was announced, shortly after our imaginary/issue free election that Justice Elizabeth Bennett was to be elevated to the BC Court of Appeal and the Patrick Dohm was of the opinion that not only did she have to abandon the ongoing travesty of justice that has been the BC Rail Trial but that he already had her replacement all picked out, I thought it was just one more affront to the people of BC. It had all the earmarks of an election victory gift from Stevie Harper to his brother in the neo-con blood, Gordo the Greedy.

But after the second ruling in a row that makes Bennett appear to be representing the interests of Mr. Kinsella more than those of justice or the people of BC I find it hard to discount the notion that no new judge could do worse on this case. {Snip} ...

Patrick Kinsella - about 100 years ago
photo - probably originally black and white and colourized by hand

I find it fascinating how shadowy are certain major players in the ongoing crime spree that we refer to as the BC liaR administration. Searching online for pictures of people like Lara Dauphinee, Ken Dobell, (in)Justice Elizabeth Bennett and Patrick Kinsella yield little or nothing. I have only seen three pictures published of Mr. Kinsella and unless I go to court (Appeal Court now) I will never have any idea what Elizabeth Bennett looks like. Earlier this spring we all went batty trying to find a photo of the elusive, but influential, Lara Dauphinee, apparently the true first lady of BC, both politically and in the black heart of Herr DickTater Gord. For this post though, maybe the photo of Mr. Kinsella at Hastings Park racetrack would have been more appropriate as it would be symbolic of the perfect tri-fecta that seems to be Mr. Kinsella.

There appears to be no doubt that Mr. Kinsella has worked for the Liberal Party of BC and Gordo the Greedball, BC Rail AND CN. Indeed the only question is did he actually work for all three or two of the above at the same time? It is accepted and not even denied that he ran the Gord campaigns in 2001 and 2005, and there is little doubt that he received $6,000 per month for almost three years from BC Rail for ????

Then in documents that have been painfully extracted through the constipated process that is disclosure in this trial there are numerous references to a relationship between CN and Mr. Kinsella. It seems very likely that we have here a double-or-triple dipper and what would appear to be an extremely high probability of conflict of interest SOMEWHERE. It is virtually indisputable that there is reasonable perception possible of conflict of interest - the threshold for further investigation in jurisdictions that are not banana republics with tin-pot dictators.

So for Justice Bennett to say (as Keith Fraser points out in the Province)
.... that the defence had produced nothing to prove that Kinsella played a major, political role in the sale.

is patently absurd after she had previously denied the defence the right to cross examine him. What would be sufficient to justify making him answer questions or produce documentation (both of which would erase the cloud of suspicion surrounding him, if indeed it is not deserved)? Would it be necessary to catch him, red handed, cashing pay cheques from the Liberally Lying Pary of BC, BC Rail AND CN at the same time? It is pretty hard to prove anything if you can't see any evidence or ask any questions of anyone in a position to know any answers. Of course then there is the issue of whether an oath means anything at all to people at a certain level of entitlement and privilege.

From even deeper in Alice's rabbit hole, (according to the CTV website)
In her ruling, Justice Elizabeth Bennett said, "a third party has no legal obligation to assist an accused."

In just eleven words Madame Justice Liz manages to obfuscate, mislead and I think turn reality and justice on its head in more ways than I have the time to even contemplate. For starters the trial of Basi, Virk and Basi is ALL ABOUT the BC Rail deal, no matter how much Gordon Campbell would like us to believe otherwise.

Mr. Kinsella AT THE VERY LEAST was consulting (or something!) for BC Rail during the time under examination here and BC RAIL WAS A PUBLIC ASSET at that time. Justice and the court system though framed in an adversarial process is SUPPOSED to be about truth and justice, and aside from the fact that I think it is a stretch to refer to Mr. Kinsella as a "third party" in this case, to testify or produce documents that even Justice Bennett herself at one time considered likely relevant is hardly "assisting the accused" as much as an effort to get at the truth of what happened.

If the truth happens to help the defendants so be it. Of course the "Special Prosecutor" is supposed to represent the interests of the people of BC, not just the Premier of BC. We have to pay for all of the highly paid lawyers in this pretend trial/pre-trial so far - it would certainly seem only fair if AT LEAST ONE of them represented the interests of the public.

As Robin Matthews, the only person often in the courthouse for these hearings with the interests of the people of BC at heart, recently stated at BC Mary's, after Madame (in)Justice Bennett denied the defence request to cross-examine Mr. Kinsella:
In this case she might say the highly active Liberal, the clearly involved cabinet policy associate, the person employed to advise B.C. Rail, the twice election campaign manager for the Gordon Campbell forces cannot be deemed a private citizen in ordinary terms. To name him that would be an absurdity that no reasonable Canadian could accept.

So Goodbye Lizzie, don't let the know how it goes!

Whewww ... sorry, Koot, I didn't mean to take the whole column but I couldn't seem to find a place to break your train of thought. Man, you really must get some help learning how to express your true feelings, eh? Thanks. - BC Mary.