Wednesday, November 25, 2009

 

Basi-Virk witness's evidence should be heard: Prosecutor

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By Keith Fraser
The Province - November 25, 2009


The special prosecutor in the Basi-Virk corruption case on Wednesday defended an immunity deal he reached with a key Crown witness, denying a defence allegation that the witness’s evidence had been corrupted.

On Tuesday defence lawyers said the charges against three former Liberal government aides should be stayed or the evidence of former lobbyist Erik Bornman excluded because of the nature of the deal that Bornman signed with the Crown. Under the deal, immunity won’t be granted to Bornman until after he testifies at trial and special prosecutor Bill Berardino conducts an assessment of that testimony.

The defence lawyers say that process paves the way for Bornman to be induced to give false testimony and therefore breaches the accused’s right to a fair trial. They say there’s no need for any evidence of Bornman to be heard in order for the judge to conclude the testimony has been tainted.

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Keith Fraser's complete report is HERE.

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Comments:
Under the deal, immunity won’t be granted to Bornman until after he testifies at trial and special prosecutor Bill Berardino conducts an assessment of that testimony.

Whic is to say, that Crown - in the person/capacity of Special Prosecutor Berardino - has still to evaluate the testimony of a Crown witness, i.e. someone whose testimony is supposedly critical to the case agasinst BVB.

And if that testimony is not worth immunity, then Bornmann is back on the hook again and, well, it's a whole new case, with at least one more defendant.... The implication is that, given failed immunity, BVB could have the case against them dismissed because of the way Bornmann's evidence was obtained, how it was treated etc.

As someone in the previous thread in this series said, charges were not made against the people/person who actually made the bribe and was core to the transaction, but solicited it - but it's also on the people who ordered it done.

we have a strong sense, to say the least, of who that is in BVB's case, and that that's theire defence - they were following orders and enacting political directives, apparently by any means necessary.

A further question remains, though - on whose orders was Bornmann acting??

I'm not a lawyer, only seeing the logic of it all, and asking what seem to be the necessary questions. I( hope none of that's libellious....it all seems fairly obvious.

but I get the feeling the details of Bornmann's case, including the warrant, how he was interviewed, why he was promised what he was promised and not charged, and so forth, is about to become centre-stage. There's hints in it of the way the original search warrants were obtained, by concealing information from a judge.

No doubt Berardino will certify the testimony and Bornmann will get his immunity (wouldn't it follow with the Bennett-Mckenzie switch and the recent SCC decision et al.?); the political liabilities of not doing so are, I think, immense and too difficult to spin or manage. Crown would lose too much face if its key witness, the man whose deal with the police led to the charges against BVB, was discredited or the police or Crown were discredited for having used him as a witness and/or promising him imunnity.

I didn't know it was a conditional immunity until now. That's very interesting.....
 
I am imagining that the conditional immunity rests with Bornmann admitting the "facts" in court as he told them to (possibly rehearsed them with) the prosecutor.
 
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