Monday, December 14, 2009

 

Basi-Virk trial tussles with secrecy issue

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Prosecution urges court in BC Rail case not to release documents that could reveal identities of informants

Mark Hume

The Globe and Mail - Dec. 14, 2009

Vancouver The prosecutors in a political corruption trial are asking the court not to disclose a large volume of documents on the grounds that releasing the material to the defence could identify several secret informants.

Janet Winteringham, a member of the special prosecutor's team, asserted “informant privilege” numerous times yesterday as she went through a binder containing more than 30 documents.

Ms. Winteringham also said much of the material stemmed from drug investigations that are not relevant to the charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting benefits against Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi.

The three former government employees are accused of allegedly trading in secret government information concerning the $1-billion sale of BC Rail to CN Rail in 2003.

British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie followed along with Ms. Winteringham, reading the material that identified the secret informants, but defence lawyers were left holding binders where any material the Crown felt was sensitive had been blacked out.

The procedure created an unusual atmosphere in the court – where only the judge and the prosecutors knew fully what was being discussed.

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Read more HERE.

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