Thursday, November 26, 2009

 

Basi Virk judge refuses to delve into immunity deal

[Question: wasn't defense trying to establish the rules of procedure for allowing an immunity deal ... not requesting the judge to "delve into" the Bornmann immunity deal? See Crown Counsel Policy Manual. - BC Mary.]
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Defence lawyers' request for pretrial hearing denied

By Keith Fraser
The Province - November 26, 2009

The judge hearing the Basi-Virk corruption case Wednesday dismissed a defence application to hold a pretrial hearing on an immunity agreement for a key prosecution witness.

Lawyers for three former Liberal government aides argued that it was essential to hear the abuse-of-process application regarding former lobbyist Erik Bornmann before the trial gets under way.

Under the deal, Bornmann receives a pardon, contingent upon an assessment by special prosecutor Bill Berardino following his testimony.

The defence said the deal could be an inducement to give false testimony, but Berardino argued that the deal ensures that the witness will tell the truth in court.

After hearing nearly two days of argument, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie rejected the defence motion to hear the application before trial.

"I decline to hear this defence application before trial," said the judge.

"The defence application failed. The defence may have leave to bring the application at the appropriate time, which is at the close of the Crown's case, which is after Mr. Bornmann has testified."

MacKenzie said her reasons for judgment would be given at a later date.

Earlier Wednesday, Berardino told the judge that it was "premature" to decide the issue without hearing Bornmann's evidence.

He said the judge needs to hear a "full and complete" record of the evidence before deciding on any alleged Charter breaches.

"It's absolutely clear, beyond question, that it is premature to determine that issue now," he said.

"You should not be, the court should not be, speculating or engaging in speculation in this kind of application." Bornmann allegedly funnelled more than $24,000 to David Basi, through Basi's cousin, Aneal Basi.

Bornmann signed the immunity deal in April 2004.

The judge is expected to hear from government lawyer George Copley today on a defence application for disclosure of executive government emails related to the case. {Snip} ...

Read Keith Fraser's complete column HERE.

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Comments:
I agree with your comment Mary. My read from yesterday was that the defence were concerned that the deal with Bornmann did not follow the Crown procedure and I had thought that Justice Bennett agreed with the defence in June of 2007.

As Robin has stated, the fix is in to protect the Campbell government at all cost.
 
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This blog is so very fortunate in having wonderful readers and commentors like Anon 1:45. Many thanks for this reminder.

I went back into the Archives to June 30, 2007 to find the story I think you refer to, which Robin Mathews headlined: The Lord says: "Revenge is mine." What do B.C. Supreme Court judges say? It talks about the predicament we're in today with the Basi Virk Case. Here's a quote:

Robin said 2-1/2 years ago:

... Over the months I have asked if Madam Justice Bennett has been seriously lax in ordering the release of evidence needed by the Defence. I have asked if there is collusion among the Crown, the RCMP, and the Gordon Campbell government - with a too pacific court looking on. I believe that in a scandal of the dimensions of the BC Rail scandal the judge may have to intervene in order to serve justice and the people of B.C. She might, in that regard, have sped up the disclosure process and suggested and then responded positively to requests to cross-examine "delinquent" RCMP officers, present or former cabinet ministers, political operatives who apparently used "influence" in the scandal. She has not done those things, and, indeed, has nixed a Defence counsel request to cross-examine the Special Crown Prosecutor, William Berardino, and the lawyer for so-called Star Witness Erik Bornmann on the absence of any documents relating to "deals" made with Mr. Bornmann concerning his witness status.

If these Learned Friends really wanted to get this show on the road, they could easily have done it long ago. And a good re- starting point would be to show us the deal which Berardino made with Bornmann, and the rules under which the deal was set out.
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So, Berardino wins this round...but this could come back to bite him in the ass. It all depends on just how good the Defense lawyers are on cross-examination, and how much extra information B & V have on Bornmann, or Pilothouse...and I wouldn't doubt they have some that Mr. Berardino won't find helpful.

It's great to hear about some of the "missing emails" being found relevant and highly relevant though...let's hope they're in a nice safe place for the duration. One where accidents never happen, and the one holding the key to their safekeeping is trusted more by the people of the province, than the premier of the province. They might even make it to court that way... .
 
Leah, lets hope they have made copies of everything and are storing the evidence in more than one safe place.
 
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