Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Basi-Virk: The conviction and sentencing of Mr Big in 2008 was "an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it."
One year ago, this column appeared in The Vancouver Sun newspaper.
Vancouver Sun - February 17, 2009
The key figure in Project Every Which Way, the organized crime investigation that triggered the raid on the legislature half a decade ago, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.
Jasmohan Singh Bains, the 33-year-old would-be Mr. Big of the Vancouver Island drug world, was also fined $242,170 and forfeited $12,718.11 seized by police at the time of his arrest five years ago. If he fails to pay the fine, Bains must serve another three years in prison.
Although then only 28, Bains headed a Victoria-based group that shipped kilograms of cocaine to Metro Toronto and remitted cash back via Federal Express.
His trial last summer focused on one shipment of 12 kilos, worth about $400,000, and Bains's boast that he could supply 50 kilos a week.
"Mr. Bains was the sine qua non of this conspiracy," Provincial Court Judge Robert Higinbotham said at the sentencing on Sept. 11 .
"He was the initiator, the driving force, and the chief executive officer of the trafficking enterprise, and he answered to no other person."
This significant event went apparently unreported until it appeared on citizen journalist Mary Mackie's blog [http://bctrialofbasi-virk.blogspot.com/] and was brought to my attention Monday.
I was surprised no one in the federal prosecutor's office or the RCMP had issued a statement since this is the organized crime connection that led to the raid on legislature offices Dec. 28, 2003.
"Organized crime has stretched into every corner of B.C. and onto most city streets," RCMP Sgt. John Ward warned then. "It is not an exaggeration to say that organized crime is a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia."
He was talking about Bains's seeming influence.
In separate proceedings about two years ago, a prosecutor told B.C. Supreme Court that police became interested in former Liberal insider Dave Basi when numerous calls were made to his cellphone from Bains, his cousin.
Basi and Bob Virk, also a former top government aide, are on trial for fraud and breach of trust.
Prosecutor Janet Winteringham explained in pretrial proceedings that police learned in May 2002 that Bains was expanding his underworld empire after the arrest of one of his rivals.
The RCMP targeted him and launched the massive operation that ultimately snared Bains, the two high-flying Liberal operatives and several others.
Tips from an informant suggested Basi was laundering money for Bains by purchasing real estate, Winteringham said.
After a wiretap operation was in place for the drug case, police overheard Basi discussing the sale of BC Rail. That auction process is at the heart of the breach-of-trust charges the former back-room operatives face.
This conviction ... is an important victory for the Mounties and they deserve credit for it.
"As a result of our drug investigation into organized crime, other information came to light and another investigation was begun," RCMP Staff Sgt. John Ward said a day after the raid on government offices of two ministerial aides, Dave Basi and Bob Virk."
I posted this on the previous site, and not one has responded. Perhaps now that I have moved my question forward someone in the know will be able to provide an answer, or speculate as to what they think the answer may be.
The timing isn't right - furthermore, until the accused have been convicted of something (there is more than one charge against 3 individuals) it's impossible to say what sentence would be appropriate.
At the time their guilt or innocence has been established will be when the judge will address that issue. Although both prosecution and defence will address the question at that time and give the judge their thoughts - based upon the findings of the jury and the precedents in similar cases - the decision about sentencing is made by the judge on the bench...although there are guidelines available to help out in that determination.
In short, it simply isn't worth speculating. However, given the time the accused have spent getting from charge to trial it would not be hard to imagine that any jail term would likely be short or even suspended.
On the other hand, if these guys are found guilty, they are going to have a large legal bill to pay...something the tax payer will be looking after if they're innocent.
Hope that helps.
And thanks for your response, G West.
I must say that the question startled me when I first saw it, as I had never thought about the verdict(s). All I care about is the evidence ...
And if Basi, Virk, and Basi or the other witnesses can tell us how BC Rail slipped out of public ownership and into private pockets,
as far as I'm concerned, Basi, Virk and Basi can dance free as birds on the lawn of the Legislature anytime they want.
if any of them helped push BCRail down the skids ...
and robbed British Columbia of a priceless asset ...
what was I thinking? No, they should not be free to dance while the province suffers.
Amends need to be made. Truth must out. A little remorse would go a long way, too.
Just sayin' ...
Does anyone have an estimate as to the legal fees to date, and the liklihood of repayment/collection in the event they are guilty as charged?
Is there any security posted? Is such info public?
Kindly read what others actually say, before denouncing them.
I've been very, very clear about WHY WE NEED THE BC RAIL TRIAL.
You know, from my perspective, I've seen a growth of newish posters on your sight over the last six months. It seems that a good many of these newish posters are asking variants of a single question, as if by script: "Do you think BVB deserve jail time?" "If they don't get jail time is it worth the money?" "Do you believe BVB are guilty" As if the BVB trial is about these three bit players in the Gordon Campbell/BC Liberal government sale of BC Rail! It's as if all the actions and inactions of the StoneWallying, document destroying, protocol ignoring, high-placed double-dipping, and insider-info-providing BC Liberal Party leaders/MLAs/court officials don't matter! Forget the fact that the BC Liberals sold control and ownership of a great money-making billion-dollar railway, with all of the tax incentives that were included in the deal, Campbell and Co. sold it for less than half of its actual value!
Frankly, Just Askin/Unix, your posting shows you to be one of three things: a)truly naive through having lived somewhere else, b)quite ignorant of the goings on around you, or c)an obfuscative plant working as an agent for BC Liberals.
To my way of thinking, there can be
no other excuse for the lack of sophistication found in your 3:34 question and later 5:49 assertions and questions. You have either not been following the actual facts of the case nor read much of the wealth of concerns and questions found at this blog site that this trial brings forward... or you wish to take the discussion down to worrying over a couple million bucks and jail time for a couple of low level operatives in a powerful, secretive, privatizing, populous fleecing, BC Liberal scheme.
Democracy demands that all of the truth, all of the facts of the sale, come out. Anything less is shameless disrespect for the shareholders of the BC Railway, the citizens of BC.
Sharing Is Good,
Thank you for catching those annoying questions and wrapping them up in the solid answers you prepared.
I should've done that myself, and my only excuse is that I received a telephone call from my doctor today that involves surgery and a lot to think about.
You owe us no explanation for anything you feel you "should" have done. You have already selflessly provided the citizens of BC a service for which we can never repay. More than any of those self-focused Canadian Olympic athletes who are competing for personal recognition on the world's stage, you are British Columbia's Darlin'.
I hope that all is manageable with your health, BC Mary. Conserve your strength and your fighting for your health if you need to do so. I'd rather you were a healthy living saint than a martyr. You owe the world nothing; you have pre-paid dues for at least a couple of lifetimes.
Remember, this isnt Nazi Germany; no one was receiving orders from Herr Fuehr.
Democracy has little if nothing to do with the case, so why are you trying to pretend democracy is at stake??
You and others are seeming to want to hi-jack the trial for some other purpose. fine. But politically motivated I am not. you however, I am not so sure ...
That's so healingly wonderful of you ... and makes me yearn for Newfoundland where, last time I was there, they seemed to have legislated a new law that from then on, I'd be "M'Darlin' ..."
"More coffee, m'darlin'?" and "Mind your step, m'darlin'," until I was ready to throw away my return ticket home.
Thanks for the hope, faith, and good memories.
I think I'll be OK, thank you. Am in the best possible hands.
Perhaps if you would read through the last year's worth of postings about this topic on BC Mary's and Bill Tieleman's threads, you will have a better idea about the point(s).
There are a great number of unanswered questions tied to a great number of highly-placed mums-the-word BC Liberals concerning the sale of BC Rail. The command to destroy evidence and the destruction of evidence, alone, should be more than enough to bring down this government. It was but 8 1/2 minutes of erased tape were enough to bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Compared to these BC Liberals, I think Nixon was a choir boy.
Should have been enough to bring down this govt, agreed. But there are mountains of other missteps, outright stumbles and sheer incompetence, any part of which should have brought down this govt, bc rail debackle aside. Yet still no one wants to vote NDP. Go figure.
Remember, this isnt Nazi Germany; no one was receiving orders from Herr Fuehr.
Interesting that a similar irrelevant comparison to Nazi Germany showed up in the talkpage at the Wiki article on the Olympics, similarly as a dodge to deflect criticisms of the politicians...and thinking back a similar comparison always shows up in various forums, generally as a way of saying "anything Gordon Campbell does is just peachy keen because, after all, this isn't Nazi Germany".
It's also not Stalin's Russia or Mao's China. But sometimes it sure looks like it (without the firing squads). I'm reminded of an old quip made about East Germany, and also about the Czech Republic - that half the population was employed spying on the other half and a similar segment was paid to publicly discredit any sign of democratic sentiment or free speech....
If NeoGrit agitators are going to bring up Adolf so often, they could at least learn to spell "Der Fuehrer" right.....(and it's a title so doesn't take "Herr"...). They might also want to ask Lara for a new dictionary so they can spell "behavoir"....
"GeeWhoMe?" aka Unix also said:
if those accused are found guilty of the wholesale theft of BC Rail receive jail time but if that isnt on the table,
But they aren't charged with the wholesale theft of BC Rail, they're charged in relation to a side-issue in the corrupted bidding process. Charges for the theft of BC Rail haven't been laid yet because the RCMP exempted elected officials from investigation (despite all the evidence that has surfaced since).
And if the defence is that they were taking orders from the guy who hired them, or had them hired (Gordo, though his "assistant" Lara), then that's their defence. Lots of underlings of the Third Reich did, in fact, get off expressly because of that defence, and the Nuremburg trials made a point of going for those who were giving orders, not just those who accepted them.
The poor "behavoir" has been that of the elected officials, who should have resigned when it came out that their underlings/hirelings were under investigation/charged, and on the RCMP and judges who've failed to file appropriate charges against those who ordered the giving-away of BC Rail to CN ("theft" like "sale" seems an inadequate word).....
Like the Public Affairs Bureau OIC hire Stuart Chase from a few years back there appear to be some characters around the internet who are being 'paid' to perform a certain function on behalf of those who have a clear interest in changing the subject.
On the Olympic file, I'm also told, by a very reliable source, that PAB staffers are working 24/7 during the Olympics to 'create' traffic on the Official website.
It's entirely possible that such folks, when they're not pumping up the Olympic brand are busy doing other 'important' PR work.
Compare that to how the good Mr. Palmer most pointedly did NOT cite the very fine work of Laila Yule in his own VSun column on the bid rigging over at the Ministry of Pavement today.
Interesting that, no?
You must be striking a nerve to bring out all the PAB types (be they amateur wannabes or actually on Lord Gord's payroll). Could it be some folks are starting to tremble in their greedy boots, knowing that the distraction of the OweLimpics will be over soon and people might start noticing their criminal behaviour. Maybe folks will even notice that it isn't the NDP who represents "special interests" after all, but the Gordo Gang. BC flunked an intelligence test last May - well the minority that actually participated anyway!
Mary, don't feel bad for suggesting that BVB should be free to dance on the Legislature lawn if they were to come clean with who gave them their orders and when etc. It is common in law enforcement to let the little guy, small dealer type, go if he co-operates with the prosecution to fry the big fish.
There must be some pretty fancy inducements that are keeping Dave Basi and Bobby Virk from just telling the truth and we will probably be on the hook for aforementioned inducements when all is said and done.
The issue isn't whether or not Basi, Virk and Basi are guilty or if they go to jail. The issue is what happened to BC Rail, our rivers, our salmon, our forest industry, OUR MONEY - our province.
I could die with a smile on my face if I thought that Gordo and say Rich Coleman were sharing a cell, as they deserve. Gary Collins and Kevin Falcon could reside in the next cell and Colon(obstruction) Hansen could be in protective custody so that the tougher imnates don't wipe the sneer off of his face without anesthetic.
The invisible Judith Reid would have to do her time in a separate facility as so far prisons, in Canada anyway, haven't gone co-ed!
Egg-zactly, RossK. Ian Mulgrew was exquisitely exact, correct, civil, and collegial.
His column, sparked by my column, is enough to make us all feel prouder of what it means to be a responsible journalist (citizen- or payroll-journalist).
All I can think of, to explain Palmer's lack of couth, is that somehow the printing process or an editor nipped off his acknowledgements. Or some such thing.
What you said, yes!
I hope everybody re-reads your explanation for why the BC Rail trial is important ... I know, I will.
Sometime, I hope you'll put on your Thinking Cap and study this PAB business where public money (your taxes) are used to do things AGAINST us. Is that legal? Is that democracy? Is that a Just Society? Or is that the basis of a class action?
Thanks ... and thanks too for your warm wishes, which mean a lot to me.
I await the correction of said editor, if indeed that is what happened, with bated breath.
Mr. Palmer has apparently played the 'inside' game a little too long – not all that differently from Keith Baldrey and his late night phone calls from David Hahn. Apparently he's becoming more than a bit too cozy with the ‘elected’ folks in government who also have a membership at the Grand Pacific Athletic Club. No longer a reporter or an investigator, he seems more interested in playing footsie with the guys and gals a real reporter should be exposing.
Whatever doubt one might have had in this respect is removed upon learning:
a) that he did not acknowledge in print the lead he took from Laila on this story - a matter she has been following for weeks, and;
b) that he himself was contacted by one of the principals from Tercon years ago and expressed NO INTEREST IN THE STORY.
I guess he enjoys supping at Bill Good’s high table a bit too much to actually behave objectively and professionally any more.
I’d also like to know if Vaughn heard that first question (you know the one) at Campbell’s Maui news conference and if so, why he’s kept his mouth shut ever since too.
On that note,I would like to say that I just received an email from Vaughn that states he is writing a followup to today's column, and will be thanking me for directing him to this important case at the end of it...
Have we met?
I don't think so, as it doesn't seem as if you've read any of my work on this site.
Kudos to you and a raspberry for Palmer.
Old parable: He who laughs last seldom gets the point anyway.
Where are you looking? Let me guess, ...
Not in my back yard!
These charges haven't actually been laid yet, apparently because "the matter is before the courts".
They keep on saying that, don't they? But if Nimby is right, it's not in court? So what the hell are they talking about?
The BC Rail charges also haven't been laid yet because the RCMP, in their wisdom, expressly excluded elected officials from prosecution. They even gave them advance warning of the raid, though that's not what they said when it actually went down.
I'm all for a BC Rail trial, Nimby? Or are you, like Unix, only concerned with trying to blame BVB for the whole mess? Them and only them?
It must be nice to be blind in one eye, and blinkered on the other....must come with a nice paycheque.....
Imagine...going from a lofty political chair that afforded you every luxury, the family being so proud of you sitting there...to a political BC Hall of Shame. The family will have to live with as well. Suits them to a tee.
I do hope you're alright Mary, please be sure to take extra time for you these days. You deserve some fine pampering.
It's true, isn't it ... and the PABsters are so easy to spot now. I still don't see how it's legal to be paying the fat salaries for government employees to harrass citizens though.
I'm beginning to wonder if it's unethical to the point of being illegal, also, to have blasted the Opposition out of existence, too. What BC has left, as Opposition, isn't worthy of the name, but the PABsters never stop keep beating that drum. I was reading this morning about how the looming load of Olympic debt is all Glen Clark's fault. Who in their right mind would willingly volunteer to become an M.L.A., a premier, or even a government employee, in this bullying atmosphere.
Thanks for your kind wishes. Starting Saturday, my date-book will be filled with medical appointments, and I feel very fortunate to be in good hands.
The cost for first-rate care, so far: $zero ... and that should get the PABsters setting their hair on fire promoting private health care, eh? Har har.
Yes the cost over runs are enourmous. Yes BC is broke. Yes much of the fault if not 99.9% of the fault lies on the backs of our leaders.
During the 1970s and earlier, I remeber a time when the entire province was run off stumpage fees. Now logging is dead, a result of poor management, poor logging practices, a result of (mostly) the social credits inability to think beyond a year or two's yeild. Now there is nothing left to log. Nothing was sustained. Nil. Logging in this province is DEAD. SO is fishing. And for the most part, so is mining (there are some aggrigate deposits, but now with the economic slow down, no cement is being poured).
SO whats left (to tax)? Tourists and tourism operators? Whale watchers? HAmberger makers?
Back to raw log exports for a sec. Here is the truly amazing thing, the Liberals, get this, they actually think what they are doing is the right thing, thats how dellusional they are!! Yes, they think raw log exports are a good thing for the province. UN FRICK IN REAL!!
Of course there are gas and oil up in FOrt St John area, and the province will get a royalty no matter what govt sits in the house, but other than that and water, which California needs and Schwarz will take that, so what else is left for us to sell off? WHat else is left for us to garage sale out the door in lieu of a tax base against marketable products that will sustain our way of life, to keep our province's hospitals, police, jails, welfare and schools running?
Oh yeah, BC Rail.
Do you suppose we could get a list of the 23 PABsters who you say are working on blogs?
And a list of the blogs they work on regularly?
Seems a reasonable request on the part of their employers (us), don't you think?
Of course I understand. Note "The Fence and the Flame" photo and story. I do understand.
I was actually thinking of requesting the names under the Freedom of Information process.
That's why I referred to us as "their employers".
I think we could do that without endangering any other employees and/or friends.
"I was actually thinking of requesting the names under the Freedom of Information process."
They should rename the Freedom of Information process the Freedom from Accountability Act.
If you tried this route, it most likely cost lotsa bucks, take until Gordo was sitting on Maui counting his ill gotten gains and all you would receive for you expenses and patience would be redactions galore.
British Columbia, the informational void where, thanks to the Canned Waste/Glow Ball empire of evil and the Public Affairs Bureau, the citizens are free of having to be aware of ANYTHING that matters!
But hey, what about them mittens!
Well, well, I reckon that if that is truly the case it means that there are actually 13 more of them wasting our money on this than there are full time Park Rangers in the entire province of British Columbia actually helping people.
Re: Mr. Palmer's half-a-mama mia culpa....Notice how even with this late admission, he does not, as Mr. Mulgrew did immediately with Mary, provide a link back to Laila's fine work that preceded his original column....Hmmmmm......Wonder why it is, exactly, that Mr. Palmer doesn't want anyone to read Laila's stuff?
And, gosh!, now that I think of it, it was actually Laila's very fine work that also led me to the story about there only being 10 fulltime Park Rangers in Gordon Campbell's fiefdom.
All those PABsters should take a deep breath when they read the following: they're complicit and willing collaborators in a billion-dollar conspiracy. Their actions are criminal activity and an abuse of public funds. They can only be protected by Gordo and Lara so long as they remain in power.
they may only get fired by a later government (or "laid off") but if it comes out in eventual court proceedings against those in charge of the elaborate conspiracy that is the Campbell regime that petty underlings in the Public Affairs Bureau willingly participated in cover-ups, dirty tricks, and actual dissemination of non-facts while on the public payroll....there may very well be charges that could be filed against them. they're so eager to nail BVB to keep Gordo & Lara & Patrick off the hook that they forget that they, too, are mere underlings that can be sacrificed and shit on just like their being paid to do to Messrs Basi and Virk and Basi....
As ye sow, so shall ye reap....
There is a legal argument that the actions of PAB members are unlawful if they cross a certain line. End of quote.
To Anon 9:48,
please explain: what would that "certain line" be?
Enquiring minds really want to know. OK? And thanks.
Thank you for raising a logical point of law ... reminding us, I mean, that there must surely be legislation in the Criminal Code of Canada about these matters, as you say:
SPREADING FALSE HISTORY which means a person, a political party, a trade union, an organization, or a government may be demonized to the point -- which I've been noticing a lot, lately -- where nobody would vote for the NDP Opposition -- have you noticed that? It's just common knowledge that the NDP is bad, bad, very bad ... but is that true? I know they're useless, but really, are they as bad or even worse than what Gordo has done?
But the point is that very, very few candidates are willing to stand for the New Democrats in an election.
What does that mean? Well, I think it means we risk creating a NO-CHOICE PARTY SYSTEM ... one party of mean-minded, wrong-headed little men and women who think they are entitled to dictatorial powers, protection and secrecy.
In my view, we are rapidly reaching that impasse in British Columbia.
So what comes first? A new political party? New leaders? A new voting system? Or ...
an honourable, honest, open, transparent newspaper capable of interpreting the future if X, Y, and Z are legislated. A newspaper that cares deeply about the future wellbeing of British Columbia and her people.
That Honourable Newspaper should have a good section done by Citizen Journalists, too, and by gosh,
this means that the bickering and sniping must stop. It means developing a positive attitude so that, with a bit of hard work investigating a story; then a bit more work studying spelling, grammar, and more work setting up an essay or report, we can get the people's point across.
I'm not even sure - from recent experience - that Journalism Schools are the answer. They, too, have adopted the CanWest viewpoint which imo rarely serves the public interest (and when it does, it's a momentary thing, soon yanked back into toeing the corporate line of the "in" crowd).
I'd like to hear what other say about Skookum1's suggestions.
Here, Here, BC MAry, I agree with you 100%!!
But wasnt that what the Liberals promised...Open and transparent Govt? Un-REAL!
As for the Canwest, I agree on that 100% too. They appear too worried about prejudicing trials, an arrogant comment, as if anyone reads their rag, and those that do know what it is, a rag.
Mary and Ross, if you could email me please any roster of IP addresses you may have so I can make sure they're in the WikiScanner database? It still doesn't prevent registered accounts from making political edits, but there's lots of damaging/political edits I've seen from IP/anonymous/unregistered editors....
That would be mccarthyism to the Nth degree, whereas I and others afraid to post our opinions for fear we are labled a PAB, just becuase we do not share the views of certain posters.
If you have an agenda, and the ability to express yourself, then your message is clear. If all you want to do is revise history, lie about the present and basically aide and abet an ongoing crime wave that is an entirely different matter - and holding spin artists and obfuscators accountable is NOT McCarthyism!
They certainly had to know airing their victory would cast all eyes on the legislature - IF it were ever noted by MSM.