Wednesday, April 28, 2010

 

Gary Collins and Judith Reid among 44 witnesses scheduled to take the stand at BC Rail trial

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Former government ministers, insiders on witness list for legislature raid case

Tamsyn Burgmann, 
THE CANADIAN PRESS - April 28, 2010

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Two former B.C. government ministers are on a list of nearly four dozen high-profile witnesses slated to testify when the oft-stalled legislature raid trial finally gets underway later this month.

More than five years after RCMP showed up at the legislature with a search warrant, the accused officially entered guilty pleas in a B.C. Supreme Court room and a jury was selected Wednesday.

"It's going ahead," Michael Bolton, the defence lawyer for former government aide Dave Basi, said outside the court. Bolton said neither he nor his colleagues would be commenting further with the trial in sight.

Basi and Bobby Virk are charged with fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes over allegations they accepted money and other benefits in exchange for leaking information about the $1-billion sale of Crown-owned BC Rail to Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR).

Basi worked for then-finance minister Gary Collins, while Virk worked for then-transportation minister Judith Reid. Basi's cousin Aneal Basi, a government communications officer, is charged with money laundering.

Collins and Reid are among the 44 witnesses scheduled to take the stand when the six-week trial starts on May 17.

The case that has cast a shadow over the B.C. Liberal government and its privatization of the Crown railway began in late December 2003, when RCMP arrived at the legislature and seized boxes of documents from the offices of Basi and Virk.

The Crown alleges the two sold confidential documents about BC Rail to a lobbyist for one of three bidders vying for the Crown corporation at the time, Denver-based OmniTRAX.

Former employees of lobby firm Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, Brian Kieran and Erik Bornman, are also on the list of witnesses and are expected to give key testimony.

Premier Gordon Campbell's chief political strategist, Martin Brown, and his former deputy ministers, Brenda Eaton and Ken Dobell, are also on the witness list read to prospective jurors on Wednesday. So are CN Rail CEO Claude Mongeau, former CP Rail CEO Bob Ritchie and OmniTrax executives.

The accused men, who have remained free without being required to post bail, entered their pleas before Justice Anne Mackenzie in booming voices.

They opted for a jury trial in February after previously requesting a trial by judge alone. A panel of five women, seven men were chosen to sit on the jury that will hear the case.

The complex case has taken years to wind through the legal system as the defence lawyers sought almost a million pages in disclosure documents, including emails, from the government.

In selecting the jury, Mackenzie acknowledged to the courtroom full of jurors that the case has had wide media attention, and she asked that if anyone felt they could not be impartial, they should inform the court. At least one person did so.

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Comments:
Four dozen less four high-profile witnesses slated to testify when the oft-stalled legislature raid trial finally gets underway later this month:

1 Gary Collins
2 Judith Reid
3 Brian Kieran
4 Erik Bornman
5 Premier Gordon Campbell
6 Martin Brown
7 Brenda Eaton
8 Ken Dobell
9 Claude Mongeau
10 Bob Ritchie
11, 12, 13, 14 OmniTrax executives
15
16
17 etc. to 44

Can we create a list of the witnesses if we draw upon BC Mary's archived reports to the public?
 
Thanks, Anon 7:29 ...

Bill Tieleman's list of characters A - Z will be a terrific help to us, in following the trial.

If you haven't already printed out your own copy, you can find it by typing the request into the search box at the top of the screen.

Bill Tieleman Index A-Z
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Anon-Above--

Can you give us the entire list....

1-44?

(or point us somewhere where we can find it?)

Why does it matter....Well, because if someone is on the publically available list presumably read in open (non pre-trial) court with the jury present that would mean that they are NOT on a second list....A list that, apparently, has only one witness on it.

.
 
Robin Mathews report says they replied "not guilty." This report says they entered guilty pleas (which doesn't make sense anyway, I don't think). Which is it?
 
Isn't a certain personal assistant and head of the propaganda, I mean communications, arm of the government also supposed to testify? Notice how tactfully she was not mentioned - and that this is not CanWest nor anyone subject to a certain radioman's threats not to mention her, but Canadian Press national wire as written in Ontario. It's not that they don't know about her/them either, it's that they also want to keep it from the general public.

Might be hard to do once she's on the witness stand, since it was she who hired these three, as I recall.

The article makes no mention of the substitution of judges and Mackenzie's relatively newbie status with the case, and/or her curious elevation (out of nowhere) into the position of Associate Chief Justice, replacing the man who parachuted her into this case and is also the only man alive to ever view the complete total of all the evidence (or so the story goes).

And as much as it's clear from the rest of the article, there's a glaring "typo"/ommission in this line:

More than five years after RCMP showed up at the legislature with a search warrant, the accused officially entered guilty pleas in a B.C. Supreme Court room and a jury was selected Wednesday.

They did?? "In booming voices?". I don't think so, not that plea anyway. You'd think Canadian Press would have their act together on this; but maybe like ACJ Mackenzie they've spent most of the last six years anywhere but this courtroom, or examining this case.

I don't think it's all that accidental of a glitch; no good copy editor would miss that.

Do we have a handle on who are Crown witnesses and who are Defence witnesses (willing or unwilling)?

Gonna be interesting to hear the CP and OmniTRAX versions, and whether Mongeau will squirm or strut, and who he might condemn....if CNron's suspicions are right, he may trash the government, rather than its hatchetmen.

(cont.)
 
Please stay on the case for us, Skookum1 ... your help is needed!

I searched and searched until I went cross-eyed, and couldn't see where (as CC complained) the "guilty" plea had been written ...

but then,

I hadn't had breakfast either. So thanks - and thanks again for clearing that up.

As for an old friend of TLR who sent a supposed "Witness List" ... I deleted that, because of the weird inclusions ... which (who knows?) may also be accurate but if so, ... jeez!

As for the omissions, such as the Invisible Deputy Chief of Staff and Premier's Executive (cough) Assistant ... I thought it strange, too, that her name isn't on the Witness list. Or ... maybe it is, and we just haven't heard about it yet?
.
 
Skook--

Regarding CP...

Is it still true that their West Coast Bureau Chief is married to one of the named witnesses who also happens to be a former cabinet minister not named Judith?

.
 
(cont...)



I think we can look forward to the Denver Post covering the OmniTRAX execs' testimony....is the head of BNSF also expected? Because put enough US execs on the stand here and it will make the New York and Washington papers...this case clearly will have a major bearing on CN stock, one way or the other, so expect one of the major financial papers or magazines, at least, to start noticing. It would really be interesting to see what turns up in The Wall Street Journal and The Economist if it is proven that the bidding process was rigged, and by default the deal gets cancelled....CN has to walk out of this without taint of wrongdoing...basically they have to establish that they were led down the garden path by the regime, that they didn't willingly or conspiratorily seek to lure in the other bidders, that they are innocent. It won't save the BC Rail operations they've temporarily made lots of boodle off of, but it would save their stock value and also the heads of their board and executive. If CNRon's right, they can't afford not to. It will be very interesting to see who they wash their hands of......in order to save their own necks, as well as the company's position in the market and in relation to the competition laws.

This is, largely, a show trial from the Crown's end of it; over and done with, already decided. But now we get to see what the Defence team is capable of, who they've assembled to say what, what economic realities will bear on the behaviour of various witnesses. Including, of course, the defendants themselves.

It is a pity, though, isn't it, that the first time 150 people have been in this case's courtroom was today? There's at least that many in the legislature basement who've been working on the p.r. end of it all the time, and not a few mucking around in blogspace, trying to keep the case off the radar, and argue down those of us trying to track it despite all the confusion and double-talk they spew.....

Asking someone if they have a bias is all too easy for someone dishonest to lie about.....there is no "test"; and in fact people who've only been following the MSM are already biased, without knowing it, because of the way those media outlets have covered, or not covered, the case...it'll be interesting to see who winds up on the jury, for sure. And how much political acumen they have, and also ability to understand the political moralities and ethical expectations that are at the core of this case, and at the core of the Campbell style of government.

I suppose Paul Nettleton's likely to be a witness, and other ex-Socred MLAs who quit since the raids, or because of BC Rail being sold down the drain in general.

But to return to my original point, this will be one of the first times that a certain Lara Dauphinee will be under public scrutiny, and also on the stand and interviewed by a lawyer under oath. We get to see who she is, how she sounds....in how many years of being at the Premier's side?
 
RE:8:40,
Why care about ms.D's or gordos private lives?
This is suppose to be,
'how o/c has creapt into every corner of BC'!
The unfair bidding is what's at hand, in this trial,and it would be very convient for the crown and defence to avoid certain avenues, to protect the reputation of...,
in the name of national security.
Of course.
 
(cont...)



I think we can look forward to the Denver Post covering the OmniTRAX execs' testimony....is the head of BNSF also expected? Because put enough US execs on the stand here and it will make the New York and Washington papers...this case clearly will have a major bearing on CN stock, one way or the other, so expect one of the major financial papers or magazines, at least, to start noticing. It would really be interesting to see what turns up in The Wall Street Journal and The Economist if it is proven that the bidding process was rigged, and by default the deal gets cancelled....CN has to walk out of this without taint of wrongdoing...basically they have to establish that they were led down the garden path by the regime, that they didn't willingly or conspiratorily seek to lure in the other bidders, that they are innocent. It won't save the BC Rail operations they've temporarily made lots of boodle off of, but it would save their stock value and also the heads of their board and executive. If CNRon's right, they can't afford not to. It will be very interesting to see who they wash their hands of......in order to save their own necks, as well as the company's position in the market and in relation to the competition laws.

This is, largely, a show trial from the Crown's end of it; over and done with, already decided. But now we get to see what the Defence team is capable of, who they've assembled to say what, what economic realities will bear on the behaviour of various witnesses. Including, of course, the defendants themselves.

It is a pity, though, isn't it, that the first time 150 people have been in this case's courtroom was today? There's at least that many in the legislature basement who've been working on the p.r. end of it all the time, and not a few mucking around in blogspace, trying to keep the case off the radar, and argue down those of us trying to track it despite all the confusion and double-talk they spew.....

Asking someone if they have a bias is all too easy for someone dishonest to lie about.....there is no "test"; and in fact people who've only been following the MSM are already biased, without knowing it, because of the way those media outlets have covered, or not covered, the case...it'll be interesting to see who winds up on the jury, for sure. And how much political acumen they have, and also ability to understand the political moralities and ethical expectations that are at the core of this case, and at the core of the Campbell style of government.

I suppose Paul Nettleton's likely to be a witness, and other ex-Socred MLAs who quit since the raids, or because of BC Rail being sold down the drain in general.

But to return to my original point, this will be one of the first times that a certain Lara Dauphinee will be under public scrutiny, and also on the stand and interviewed by a lawyer under oath. We get to see who she is, how she sounds....in how many years of being at the Premier's side?
 
Re 9:48
I believe you have answered the question posed on line one in lines two and three of your post.
 
As many of us have one question to ask.... Why in the world has it taken so many YEARS to bring this case sort of to court? If there is to be justice in this matter, on with it! No more delays, no more holidays for the staff, no more Bill B, our head Prosecutor disappearing for 8 months, no more lies and abuse of the system. All I say is follow the money to King Gordo the impaler. That will answer all the burning questions.
 
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