Tuesday, May 18, 2010

 

Basi-Virk news for May 18, 2010

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Last minute issues delay Basi-Virk trial

By Keith Fraser
The Province - May 18, 2010

Excerpt: The case is being heard in one of the larger courtrooms at the Vancouver Law Courts. For much of the day Monday the courtroom was full.


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Crown says NFL game, meals traded for confidential B.C. government info

The News (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia) The Canadian Press
May 18, 2010
Click HERE for the story.
http://www.ngnews.ca/News/Canada---World/2010-05-18/article-1121732/Crown-says-NFL-game,-meals-traded-for-confidential-B.C.-government-info/1


VANCOUVER —  {Snip} ... Martyn Brown, Premier Gordon Campbell’s chief of staff, told court that Virk and Dave Basi were both political appointees whose positions required the swearing of several oaths to keep government business private.

“Confidentiality in government is all about trust,” Brown said. “In fact, both of these oaths are about trust — the public trust at that,” he said.

Brown said the men also took oaths to not use their positions for personal gain.

“You can’t take payments, gifts, benefits, beyond what you’re allowed to do and effectively trade off the position of your office or use your office to gain outside benefits,” he said.

The Crown alleges the pair broke their oaths.

Former ministers Collins and Reid are among several other high-profile witnesses who will testify, as will Mark Marissen, husband to then-deputy premier Christy Clark and an official for then-federal finance minister Paul Martin.

Berardino told jurors Marissen will allegedly give evidence about a job offers [sic] made to Virk and Dave Basi for a chief of staff position, if Paul Martin were to have become prime minister. {Snip} ...

The three accused, dressed in business suits, sat attentively as Berardino spent nearly one hour slowly and methodically laying out the case.

He told the B.C. Supreme Court jurors that they will hear from about 30 witnesses, view a large volume of documents and hear recorded telephone calls.

The jury also received a chart meant to be used as a tool to decipher the various players in the complex case.

Virk’s defence lawyer, Kevin McCullough, interrupted usual decorum by objecting twice to the Crown’s opening statement.

Judge Anne MacKenzie responded by telling McCullough the opening statement was proper and threatened to have him removed by the sheriff.

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Basi-Virk trial comes down to something simple

By Gary Mason
The Globe and Mail - May 18, 2010
Read the story HERE.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/gary_mason/basi-virk-trial-comes-down-to-something-simple/article1573710/


{Snip} ... The defence did not get an opportunity to cross-examine [Martyn] Brown [Premier's Chief of staff] on Tuesday. That job will likely fall on Wednesday to Kevin McCullough, lawyer for Mr. Virk.

It has become obvious through more than four years of pre-trial motions and now two days of the trial itself that among the three principal lawyers representing the accused, it is Mr. McCullough who has been given the role of antagonist and pit bull. It’s a part he seems to have embraced enthusiastically.

That is not to take anything away from much of the fine work that the Victoria-based lawyer has done on his client’s behalf in this case. He’s been excellent at times. However, he appears determined to get under the skin of the trial judge, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie.

When Mr. McCullough twice interrupted Mr. Berardino’s opening address Tuesday, Judge MacKenzie threatened to have the defence lawyer tossed from the courtroom. Or make that dragged.

The trial is expected to last six to seven weeks, and Mr. McCullough’s general demeanour and exchanges with the judge will be something worth keeping an eye on. It’s not inconceivable that it’s fallen to him to try and throw the judge off her game in the hopes she will make a critical mistake the defence can use at some later date.

It’s also been suggested to me that the defence feels it has nothing to lose, that there is no love lost between the judge and Mr. McCullough, and that it was apparent the moment she took over the case last year.

Who knows? For now, this is merely speculation. But there could be something at play here that will be worth monitoring as this trial unfolds. It could be a particularly risky gambit by the defence.

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