Thursday, September 10, 2009

 

Robert Bauman new Chief Justice of BC Supreme Court

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Stephen Harper, chief justice Robert Bauman, and judicial accountability
By Charlie Smith
The Straight - Sept. 10, 2009

Once again, a Canadian prime minister has appointed another chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court.

In 1996, the prime minister was Jean Chretien and the chief justice was his friend and veteran Vancouver litigator Bryan Williams, who had no experience as a trial judge at the time of his appointment.

Today, the prime minister is Stephen Harper and the chief justice is Robert Bauman, who formerly sat on the B.C. Court of Appeal. Bauman's appointment takes effect immediately, according to a PMO news release.

From 1982 to 1996, Bauman practised at Bull Housser & Tupper, a 119-year-old Vancouver law firm whose history is inextricably linked with some of the most powerful companies and institutions in B.C.

Bauman was appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court in 1996 and was elevated to the B.C. Court of Appeal in 2008.

In 1999, Bauman made a controversial ruling concerning Eron Mortgage Corporation, which raised $240 million from 4,000 investors before going bankrupt.

At the time, Bauman freed $125,000 from Eron's remaining funds to pay lawyers representing the president and founder, Brian Slobogian, and his wife Onalee, which upset many investors. Six years later, Slogobian was sentenced to six years in jail in connection with one of the biggest frauds in B.C. history.

In 2005, Bauman was the trial judge when a B.C. Supreme Court jury convicted Kelly Ellard for the murder of Reena Virk.

That ruling was overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal based on Bauman’s alleged failure to provide a limiting instruction to the jury regarding a witness’s prior inconsistent statements.

{Snip} ...

Other superior court judges are appointed after being vetted by judicial appointment committees, which include members of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of B.C., as well as appointees from the federal and provincial governments and the judiciary. The Conservatives ensured that at least one member of the "law-enforcement community" would be added to these committes, which rankled some legal experts.

Perhaps if the federal Liberals win the next election, Michael Ignatieff will consider democratizing the judicial-appointment process by permitting the judges of the superior courts to elect their own chief justice. Another option would be to bring the person before a parliamentary committee to answer questions or to put them through some other sort of public vetting process.

The status quo--the prime minister simply choosing whoever he likes--isn't good enough. Especially when that same prime minister's government has gone to extraordinary lengths in the courts to try to shut down Vancouver's supervised-injection site.

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B.C. appoints new chief justice

Robert Matas
Globe and Mail - Sep. 10, 2009

For the full article and photo, click HERE.

The federal appointment of a new chief justice of the B.C. Supreme Court without any public debate has led to a call for revamping the process for deciding who heads the trial division and appeal courts in provinces across the country.

“Unless you know the personalities and know who else might have been considered in that jurisdiction, there is no way for judging whether these appointments are appropriate,” federal NDP justice critic Joe Comartin said yesterday in an interview.

“For the vast majority of the public, they do not know the personalities or qualifications of individual judges sitting on that bench,” he said, “so there is no way for the public to be able to judge this.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a news release early yesterday morning announcing that Robert Bauman, an appeal court judge who served previously as a judge on the B.C. Supreme Court, would replace former chief justice Donald Brenner. The position became vacant after Mr. Brenner announced in May that he decided to resign after 17 years as a judge.

{Snip} ...

The new appointee was a trial judge for eight years on the Supreme Court while Mr. Brenner served as chief justice. Mr. Brenner called his successor “a wonderful colleague” who worked hard as a judge and as a member of internal court committees. “He's very well positioned by background and experience to take this on.”

Mr. Brenner also said he was not a big fan of public hearings on judicial appointments. A judge's personal views are irrelevant, he said. “Of course, everyone comes to a job with a background and views and opinions, but as a judge, you check those at the courtroom door.”

Mr. Comartin said managerial skills are among the top requirements for the job. “Without demeaning the importance of a judge having a good basis in jurisprudence, what you want that person to do is manage the court as efficiently as possible,” he said.

“What I have been worried about is that, given the orientation of this government to introduce more right-wing ideology into courts, they might pick people who do not have those managerial skills and were viewed as more ideologically right wing.”

Mr. Comartin said the appointments should be made after a review by a committee of representatives from the law societies, bar associations, law schools and parliamentarians. The committee would evaluate judges on the basis of criteria that are publicly known, he said.

“The committee would say, we reviewed the criteria and qualifications of this candidate and this person best meets the criteria,” he said. “The decision is now totally a behind-the-scenes process.”

Chief Justice Bauman said he does not have a view on whether public hearings should be held on judicial appointments. “I've been watching the evolution of that issue to date with interest, but I don't have a view on that,” he said in an interview.

He did not apply for the job, he also said. He was caught by surprise when staff from the federal Justice Department called him a few days ago to see whether he would let his name stand on a short list for the position. “It is one of the jobs that is difficult but you think hard before saying no to the challenge,” Chief Justice Bauman said.

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Comments:
The fact being that there's a minority Govt in place this would be a KEEN issue to run a federal election on let's investigate his ties to any political party and take it from there?
 
Judicial administration is entirely politicized in BC. Judge-law has devolved to the point where a robed savage need only say: 'an acquittal would shock the community' to allow entry of evidence secured unlawfully.

Be aware of this case, where Crown Counsel registered a charge after BC Integrated Anti-Gang cops used a phony Highway Traffic ticket offence, as an excuse for a hard take-down arrest and intrusive search.
http://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/judgments/pc/2009/00/p09_0031.htm

If justice prevailed in BC, the Preussman prosecutors would have been arrested for Obstruction and Breach of Trust.
 
AGAIN, ANON 9:49, I FIND THIS COMMENT TROUBLING ... LESS SO THAN THE PREVIOUS ONE, BUT TROUBLING ALL THE SAME.

LET ME REPEAT: THIS BLOG IS ENTIRELY FOCUSED ON BC RAIL. WE WELCOME COMMENTS WHICH HELP US UNDERSTAND THE SITUATION OF BASI, VIRK, AND BASI BEING "THE ACCUSED" IN THE BC RAIL AFFAIR ...

AND EVEN MORE SO, I APPRECIATE COMMENTS WHICH HELP US UNDERSTAND THE TOTALITY OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO THAT SORRY DAY WHEN ONLY 3 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WERE PUT ON TRIAL WHEN WE KNOW PERFECTLY WELL THAT THOSE 3 AREN'T THE ONLY ONES WHO NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR SLIDING A MAJOR PUBLIC ASSET INTO PRIVATE POCKETS.

SO WILL YOU WORK WITH US, PLEASE ... WITHOUT TRYING TO BASH US WITH HARSH, PRE-DIGESTED OPINION. I'M BORN AND RAISED BRITISH COLUMBIAN WHICH MEANS IT REQUIRES A SPECIAL EFFORT NOT TO COME AT YOU, DUKES UP, WITH 'AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION' ... OK?

IT'S OK TO LAUGH NOW.
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