Tuesday, November 24, 2009

 

Basi Virk as seen by Robin Mathews:

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Morning in Courtroom 43, November 24, 09
By Robin Mathews

We looked at a few trees.

We spent the morning looking at a few trees - seven of us in the gallery and nine in the court. The forest is spreading, huge and important, away from us. But we looked at a few trees. Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie sees the bare trunk directly in from of her - of one tree, I think. She seems imperturbably unaware there is a forest - and unaware that the tree she is staring at is part of a forest....

I could characterize all the people in courtroom 43 this morning by their "tree vision". But I'll stop here. Not many, it seems, could see the forest. Fewer still knew the trees they were looking at were intimately linked with the forest that (both the trees and)they are in....

In straightforward, sensible terms, the morning (and most of the afternoon will be too) was given over (broadly) to scheduling, to the order in which items preceding trial will be dealt with. The Special Crown Prosecutor wished to move in one way. Defence another. Argument was presented. The essence of the argument being that Defence does not wish to bring forward its Charter Challenge for a declaration of mistrial on the basis of unnecessary and protracted delay until all of the disclosure material to come is before them.

How, they argued, (in short) could they present a characterization of the alleged delay if material to be disclosed after that presentation reveals more delay and delay that has not yet been recorded?

Of enormous interest to the public was the reminder by Defence that the Crown had named two confidential informants and held material (therefore) as privileged in relation to them, only to decide they weren't confidential informants after all. What if circumstances will show that the present informant (identity protected by the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling to the point of letting him/her give testimony in camera) turns out to be something other than claimed?

As the usually quiet and untheatrical Joseph Doyle, Defence counsel put it, this situation is unusual. (Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie - during her interventions with Mr. Doyle - wanted to make clear that the attribution of delay, as I understood her, suggests intention, and should not be embarked upon lightly.) Mr. Doyle pointed out that THIS confidential informant is known by many. And in the light of the earlier two, who were changed in characterization, doubt enters. And, yes, Mr. Doyle said, the erroneous naming of someone as informant is delay. Yes.

In short, the Crown won the argument in the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the confidential informant in secret. But, Defence asks, was that appeal unnecessary, and will the following days during which the secret hearing occurs reveal that?

The forest, almost unannounced, then came into view.

Michael Bolton, for the Defence, argued that much of the time spent by counsel getting material for the defence of their clients should have been unnecessary. He pointed to the what he described as the failure of police to make appropriate investigations. They had obligation, he reminded the court, to gather evidence of use to both the Crown and the Defence. The part of the search warrant "raids" that were on the actual legislature offices were made only upon the offices of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk. Not the transportation minister's office, or any others.

Mr. Bolton characterized it as a "very partisan investigation".

In my most recent letter to the RCMP Deputy Commissioner, Gary Bass, I pointed out that not long before the legislature search warrant "raids", Finance Minister Gary Collins was, Defence alleges, under investigation. Then he was dropped (without record, apparently). And concentration thereafter was upon the cabinet aides as possible wrong-doers. I asked Deputy Commissioner Bass in my recent letter who it was who ordered that the investigation should go around elected persons involved in the (corrupt) sale of BC Rail? Why was a fuller investigation not carried out? Deputy Commissioner Bass has not yet answered my questions.

The answer to those questions will take the whole matter deeper into the forest.

Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie stated that the police evidentiary basis (for the charges) can only be tested at trial. That is, of course, true. But the trial - as carefully prepared - only includes accusations against the three men named. It cannot, unless remarkable and dramatic events occur, move into the forest, announce that others were implicated, and add their names
to the accused. Once the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi begins, it will be a trial of those three men as if no others were allegedly criminally engaged in the transfer of BC Rail to CN Rail. And so Mr. Bolton's statements about an inadequate investigation have a double sting.

That suggests why some may appear to want the trial to go forward with the least possible delay.

The general morning argument appeared to be brought to a compromise when Mr. Berardino for the Crown suggested that all matters be cleared between now and Christmas and that, at the latest, the Charter Application be heard immediately after Christmas. Madam Justice MacKenzie entered and stated that would happen immediately after Christmas even if the other matters fail to be cleared.

The court broke for lunch and for discussion among counsel about the proposal of Mr. Berardino - to see if it could be agreed to by all.

Tomorrow, hearings resume.

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Citizen Journalist "EM" with a first-person report from Courtroom 43,
Nov. 24, 2009
... [I sorta want to shout "All rise, please!" as EM steps forward - BC Mary]:

EM here Mary, I made it to Court yesterday without incident, thanks for your posted help. WHAT A DAY, meeting the prof, journalist, speaking with the Crown and defense, more than i could have dreamed, lol,

I am returning this morning [Wed., Nov. 25]. everyone else has described yesterday very well, but a couple very exciting things were found out. Speaking with Crown about the SCC decision, he said he was asked very good questions by the Judges, he wished we could see it, I asked if it will ever be on CPAC. his assistant went on to explain that the SCC made a error, evidence discussed was already edited during trial, but becasue of the documents factums ect were sealing order (public cannot see) they assumed the trail was sealed, Bernadino said we could ask the SCC to remove it, so we can view it on CPAC he really wants us to see him in action there I think, lol,He then said He would look into it being made available. (I keep losing connection here, so cant say all I want to.

This morning, Mcullough who has someone speaking to the application for him will continue for 1/2 hour, he spoke at end of day yesterday for 1 hour, We left the court at 4 20. Then Bolton has 1 hour, then the Crown at 11, this is regarding Bornman, abuse of process, defense stated remedy would be exclusion of evidence by Bornman, and "trial without bornman would be considerably shorter" and hundreds of thousands of tax payers money saved, he repeated that many times.

The judge setting dates, Bernadino stated he wants to go flat out, the judge said after going through the dates of Jan 11 then Feb 15th -Feb 22nd she said " no reason for further delay, if you cant make it that day, have someone else here to cover it.

more more later.

EM

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EM, this is amazing news-reporting! Who ever heard of going up to those Black Gowns and asking the questions?? Who ever heard of obtaining the kind of answers you were given? This is so interesting ... and we'll be looking forward to your new dimension on today's news. Thank You immensely. - BC Mary.

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Isn't it odd that there's no BC Supreme Court listing for Basi Virk Basi this morning, Nov. 25? All of yesterday's participants said that yes, the hearings would be continuing today.

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Sharing is Good comments:

Through all of this, it has continually behooved [surprised?] me that people would be charged with accepting a bribe, but not those offering the bribe. Both parties are guilty.

Oh yeah, the private enterpriser (middleman) was given a deal by the prosecution. But money isn't just handed out in private business (nor in backroom government deals) without approval of the partners/higher-ups.

If the privatizer was acting as a middleman, then the money had to come from the other player wanting to buy the railway. Middlemen don't just empty their wallets on behalf of others with whom they are doing business.

Why wouldn't the the prospective purchaser be charged? As far as I know, the prosecution didn't cut a deal with the purchaser too. Is the prosecution afraid what might come out about the BC government if they prosecuted the prospective buyers?

I am incredibly curious to see where the money trail began and the path it took. And, really, how would Basi and Virk get the necessary information? The bidding process was supposed to be secret.

I have never been able to figure out how these guys had access to the bidding docs/details. They had better open all of the court documents to the public. It is our money, our railway, and our employees that are involved. Government employees are employed by the people of BC; we pay their salaries.

The secrecy has to end.

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Comments:
By the sound of it just as much is achieved in the afternoon as to what happens in the morning. Zip.

However, my Wednesday afternoon is free.... is their a limited seating area for the public? or can anyone show up?
 
Anon 9:15,

Yes, the hearings are open to The Public ... that's you!

Robin described the crowd today as "seven of us in the gallery and nine in the court."

I'm very curious about Bolton's new tactic of challenging the legality of the deal made with Erik Bornmann ... read about that in Keith Fraser's report. I think it's important.

It's all important. I hope you can be there ... and tell us what you see.
.
 
I remember when the (RCMP officer?) announced that no politician was a suspect in the investigation. How very odd, I thought at the time. What kind of performance is this? Very theatrical and heavy handed. Who wrote the script he was reciting? And with Mr. Collins scurrying away...something was starting to smell pretty rotten. But what do I know. I am just a citizen.
 
EM here Mary, I made it to Court yesterday without incident, thanks for your posted help. WHAT A DAY,meeting the prof, journalist, speaking with the Crown and defense, more than i could have dreamed, lol, I am returning this morning. everyone else has described yesterday very well, but a couple very exciting things were found out. Speaking with Crown about the SCC decision, he said he was asked very good questions by the Judges, he wished we could see it, I asked if it will ever be on CPAC. his assistant went on to explain that the SCC made a error, evidence discussed was already edited during trial, but becasue of the documents factums ect were sealing order(public cannot see)they assumed the trail was sealed, Bernadino said we could ask the SCC to remove it, so we can view it on CPAC he really wants us to see him in action there I think, lol,He then said He would look into it being made available. (I keep losing connection here, so cant say all I want to. This morning, Mcullough who has someone speaking to the application for him will continue for 1/2 hour, he spoke at end of day yesterday for 1 hour, We left the court at 4 20. Then Bolton has 1 hour, then the Crown at 11, this is regarding Bornman, abuse of process, defense stated remedy would be exclusion of evidence by Bornman, and "trial without bornman would be considerably shorter" and hundreds of thousands of tax payers money saved, he repeated that many times. The judge setting dates, Bernadino stated he wants to go flat out, the judge said after going through sthe dates of Jan 11 then Feb 15th -Feb 22nd she said " no reason for further delay, if you cant make it that day, have someone else here to cover it. more more later.

EM
 
EM,

This is such an interesting new glimpse of the courtroom's chief players, we owe you a huge Thank You!

I also posted your comment on the main page, following Robin's report -- as he didn't stay for the afternoon's proceedings which didn't get started until 2:30. So you have added some very special news.

Thanks again!
 
Someone was just reporting that they couldn't get into the Comments section ...

sometimes there's a very simple answer for that: it's because I'm working on that segment. It will be back soon.

Please keep trying.
 
I meant the province,comments.
 
Oh. Well ... could be the same explanation.
 
Through all of this, it has continually behooved me that people would be charged with accepting a bribe, but not those offering the bribe. Both parties are guilty. Oh yeah, the private enterpriser (middleman) was given a deal by the prosecution. But money isn't just handed out in private business (nor in backroom government deals) without approval of the partners/higher-ups. If the privatizer was acting as a middleman, then the money had to come from the other player wanting to buy the railway. Middlemen don't just empty their wallets on behalf of others with whom they are doing business. Why wouldn't the the prospective purchaser be charged? As far as I know, the prosecution didn't cut a deal with the purchaser too. Is the prosecution afraid what might come out about the BC government if they prosecuted the prospective buyers? I am incredibly curious to see where the money trail began and the path it took. And, really, how would Basi and Virk get the necessary information? The bidding process was supposed to be secret. I have never been able to figure out how these guys had access to the bidding docs/details. They had better open all of the court documents to the public. It is our money, our railway, and our employees that are involved. Government employees are employed by the people of BC; we pay their salaries. The secrecy has to end.

This is the stinkiest deal since the Pacific Railway Scandal.
 
SIG - I've been howling at the moon for years now, much of what you say above -

I have always maintained that Basi and Virk had NOTHING to sell, they, as high of bureaucrats as they are, simply never had the juice to throw a railway in anybody's direction and at most had access to those who actually make/made the decisions - the real criminals, the Campbell Crime Family, who in a more perfect world would be the defendents rather than the manipulators behind the scenes.
 
Hey Koot,
I didn't mean to steal any thunder that you may have released. I have been reading about the Legislature Raids for so long now that I tend to think all good ideas in my head are my own thinking. Perhaps I did peviously read a bit of what I wrote in something you or Mary or Skook or GWest, Bill or the good professor (and countless others) has said, but for the life of me, it is all BC Rail soup at this point - 6 years since the initial raid.

As far as the mainstream media and the BC Liberals are concerned, they are content to give the public small portions of grey flavourless stone(wally) soup on page 14 of the Sun, and not a drop at all for the TV watchers. We have had to dig deeply to find morsels that might feed our hunger for truth and justice; we have had to read between many lines. With BC Rail soup we have had to add all of the seasoning, the meat and the veggies ourselves. To paraphrase Mary, "Nothing much to be had here, move along, next."
 
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