Thursday, May 06, 2010

 

Basi-Virk prosecutor donated to BC Liberals


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Liberal donors source of special prosecutors 8 times in last 5 years

 
Lawyer in Basi-Virk case sees no conflict between his role and firm's contribution

By Chad Skelton, 

Canwest News Service - May 6, 2010

 Special prosecutor Terrence Robertson resigned Tuesday after disclosing a $1,000 donation to Kash Heed's campaign by his law firm.

... Based on news reports and news releases from the criminal justice branch, the [Vancouver Sun]  newspaper compiled a list of 21 B.C. lawyers who have been appointed special prosecutors over the past five years.

It then compared those lawyers' names -- and their firms' names -- against Elections B.C.'s database of political contributions, which includes all donations since 2005.

That search found seven lawyers -- in addition to Robertson -- who either made personal donations to the B.C. Liberal party and its candidates or work for a firm that donated.

None of the prosecutors or their firms have contributed to the NDP since 2005.

Those who have contributed to the Liberals include Bill Berardino, the special prosecutor in the corruption case against Dave Basi and Bob Virk.

Berardino was appointed special prosecutor in the case in late December 2003, just days after police raided the B.C. legislature looking for evidence.

A year and a half later, in May 2005, Berardino's firm, Berardino & Harris, donated $500 to the election campaign of B.C. Liberal candidate -- and future attorney-general -- Wally Oppal.  



{Snip} ...

Berardino, who is now with the firm Hunter Litigation Chambers, said he was asked to attend a fundraising breakfast for Oppal, an old classmate. He said the donation has no impact on his handling of the case.

"There's no conflict of interest," he said. "I made a donation and I don't see anything wrong with that at all. I've carried on in my role as a special prosecutor."

{Snip} ... 


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 BC Mary comment: A tip o'the tuque to Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist for taking that long hard look into political donations made by the Crown Prosecutor in the trial of Basi, Virk, Basi -- two BC Liberals -- who were involved in the sale of BC Rail.  May we dare to hope that such clarity and thoroughness will continue to mark CanWest News Service's attention to the BC Rail Case? - BC Mary. 

Read more HERE. And Vaughn Palmer is HERE with "Premier blames the process rather than himself ..."

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Polygamy case lawyer, legislature raid prosecutor also made political donations


James Keller
The Canadian Press - May 6, 2010


VANCOUVER - They're supposed to be the buffer between government and any appearance of conflict of interest.

But when the special prosecutor who cleared British Columbia's solicitor general of election wrongdoing stepped down this week, he did just the opposite.

Terrance Robertson resigned and revealed that his law firm had donated to Heed's campaign.

Yet the names of at least 15 of the 35 lawyers on the list of potential special prosecutors or their firms are also on Liberal party donation lists.

This includes lawyers involved in some of the province's most high-profile cases, including the legislature raid case and a lawyer who has been appointed to argue against Canada's polygamy laws.

Bill Berardino, the special prosecutor in the lengthy legislature raid case, is listed as "principal officer" for two donations in 2005 by his law firm at the time, Berardino and Harris LLP. The firm gave $500 to former attorney general Wally Oppal and $100 to the Liberal party.

Berardino, who couldn't be reached for comment, had already been special prosecutor for more than a year when the donations were made.

George K. MacIntosh was nominated by the province and appointed by a B.C. Supreme Court judge as amicus in a forthcoming court reference case on Canada's polygamy law. MacIntosh will argue opposite the attorney general, against the federal law barring polygamy.

Elections B.C. lists a George K. MacIntosh as having personally donated $2,500 to the Liberal party in 2005. MacIntosh couldn't immediately be reached for comment. [BC Mary comment: George MacIntosh has also appeared for the Campbell (Liberal) government in the Basi-Virk trial.]

His firm, Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy, has given more than $50,000 to the Liberals since 2005.

{Snip} ...

"The issue isn't, 'Are these people really motivated by some affinity for the government as reflected in having made a donation?' It really is a perception-based concern, and perception is everything."

Sossin said it's probably not necessary to publicly disclose every potential conflict, and lawyers who've donated in the past shouldn't be automatically barred from such a position.

But he said there must be safeguards in place to ensure potential conflicts are identified and reviewed before an assignment is made. And, in some cases, make a point to tell the public.

"The more that's transparent and the more we put in the public realm, the higher the bar is for the public realm to justify that these appointments are truly merit-based," said Sossin, who is also director of the Centre for the Legal Profession.

Special prosecutors are appointed from a list of senior lawyers in private practice who have been jointly approved by the president of the B.C. Law Society, the deputy attorney general and the assistant deputy attorney general, according to attorney general ministry's website.

Only the head of the province's prosecution service, the assistant deputy attorney general of the Criminal Justice Branch, has the authority to appoint one.

{Snip} ...

Stephen Owen, a former provincial ombudsman and former deputy attorney general who was involved in setting up B.C.'s special prosecutor system in the early 1990s, said thecontroversy highlights the need for more vigilant vetting.

Bhe doesn't think it should prompt any major policy changes.

In the Heed case, Owen said the province should appoint a new special prosecutor to start the process from the beginning, rather than simply picking up where Robertson left off.

"They need to appoint another special prosecutor . . . to redo the whole investigation to see if charges should be laid, including against Mr. Heed," said Owen, who now works for the University of British Columbia.

"The public should have full confidence that there are no such conflicts. And it's only fair to Mr. Heed, because there will be a cloud over the fact that he wasn't charged."

Content Provided By Canadian Press.



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Comments:
I am wondering what other Government work these law firms have gotten aside from the Special Prosecutor gigs.
 
Is not BC an Evil Empire?!

More than just defeating the BC Liberals these "enemies of the people" must be made to stand criminally accountable for their predatory actions against the citizens of BC.

A government of the people would not only give these criminals the benefits of our honest judicial system but also give the Liberal cabinet the blessings of our penal system.

The GREAT SATAN
 
Just as a non-shocker, in 1993 a number of well to do Victoria-Saanich lawyers gave big bucks to the federal liberals on Vancouver Island.

And guess what, they got jobs with the federal legal circus.

And even better, one of them started screwing up cases and even got crapped on a by a judge for poor conduct.

So dirty-Grit money going to Gritty leaders is just business as usual in BC at our expense.

WE ONLY CHEAT WHEN WE CAN'T WIN!

The GREAT SATAN
 
As Mr. Mathews has demonstrated, the potential conflict involving Mr. Beradino goes much, much deeper than a measly $500 donation.


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"I am wondering what other Government work these law firms have gotten aside from the Special Prosecutor gigs."

Since you asked. Bryan Baynham Q.C., who seems to be the Alpha dog over there, vets Liberal potential candidates in his spare time (I wonder if the billable hours are charged as campaign/donor expenses or if he just does this as a hobby?).

Also Harper Grey LLP represents gaming interests, I'll let them clarify this:

"We act for gaming operators, including casino and bingo operators, as well as registered gaming management companies and gaming associations. We include among our clients both the largest casino operator and bingo operator in British Columbia."
....Harper Grey LLP website

So you just know they have the cell phone in Kevin Kreuger's car on speed dial!
 
Dear Mr. Cameron. Please accept this email as my formal complaint against William Berardino Q.C. the acting special prosecutor in the Basi/Virk case. I learned this morning via the Vancouver Sun that Mr. Berardino made a $500 donation to the BC Liberal party in May 2005. I accept the valid argument that we are free to donate to whatever cause we believe in. However I take great exception and issue with the fact an acting Special Prosecutor would take leave of his senses and make a donation to a political party that he is actively investigating for "dirty tricks" via media monitoring contracts to one of the accused, David Basi. In fact the comment from Mr. Berardino that "I made a donation and I don't see anything wrong with that at all. I've carried on in my role as a special prosecutor" is without doubt a shocking statement to make. Is it too much to ask that a Special Prosecutor take extra precautions to be above the fray and free from any hint of conflict, actual or perceived?

It has been widely reported via the media that in May 2005 the Special Prosecutor was overseeing an investigation that was focussed on Kelly Reichart, the Executive Director of the BC Liberal Party, Premier Gordon Campbell as Leader of the BC Liberal Party, and David Basi, a former Executive Assistant in the BC Liberal Party. In fact this investigation only came to light when Madame Justice Elizabeth Bennett ordered the Special Prosecutor to disclose documents heretofore undisclosed to the defence. One particular document was titled "DO NOT DISCLOSE". As a lawyer and officer of the court I ask you to think about the implications of hiding disclosure of relevant documents from the defence. The bedrock principle of our system of justice rests on the premise of accountability, honesty and integrity. It is my firm belief that Mr. Berardino has crossed the line in this regard and has seriously damaged the integrity of the Special Prosecutor system in British Columbia.

Please respond in writing that you have received this complaint, logged it into your system and that an investigation will be initiated immediately.

Yours truly,



Timothy Marttell B.A.
 
Mary I just launched an official complaint with the Law Society of BC. I would urge all of your readers to do the same. The story this morning and Mr. Berardino's reaction is shocking!

Timothy Marttell
 

It has been widely reported via the media that in May 2005 the Special Prosecutor was overseeing an investigation that was focussed on Kelly Reichart, the Executive Director of the BC Liberal Party, Premier Gordon Campbell as Leader of the BC Liberal Party, and David Basi, a former Executive Assistant in the BC Liberal Party.


Is that the "dirty tricks" campaign, or what?

Interesting how something widely reported in the media is no longer on their own radar, huh?

How much other dirt is either marked "do not disclose", or has been tucked in some office drawer somewhere, by lawyers either on the government payroll - or contributing to party payrolls?

The sponsorship scandal was peanuts compared to this, to all of this, "this" being the wreckage of decent government and the complex web of nepotistic conspiracy and organized theft that the BC Liberals are demonstrably and wilfully committing. The weakness of our constitutional and judicial system that they've exposed will, maybe - just maybe - one day be healed when we find ways to catch them at it, and to prevent them from having their way, which currently they have because they have the powers of a monarch, but the people do not have the power of the guillotine over them. They are not authority, but they have coopted authority and coopted legality, and the legal system, in course of this.

These comments are in response to Mr Marttell; my original purpose in starting this comment was to re-iterate Ross' point, or to rephrase it: the big media coverage of the party donations by special prosecutors hasn't - yet - touched on the real conflict-of-interest - the tight links between Berardino and both the Ministry of the Attorney-General, and with specific Attorneys-General who are linked to the case.

Of course, when the Big Media wake up to this, or admit to it, they'll have to also give the nod to Robin, and all else he's said....maybe they're just too afraid of the consequences of that.

D'ya think the ties between the Liberal Party and various higher-up E Division types will also, ultimately, hit the national rags? Finally??

Or are they just too afraid of upsetting more than one applecart at once?
 
"but the people do not have the power of the guillotine over them."

That isn't a power that is usually legislated, it is the kind the people just kinda assume once they've finally had enough. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter - and the winners are always freedom fighters.

"D'ya think the ties between the Liberal Party and various higher-up E Division types will also, ultimately, hit the national rags? Finally??"

You mean the connection, for example, between the head honcho of E-division through marriage to the leadership of the BC Liberal Party, that WE have know all about for YEARS, but nothing seems to matter with these guys in this environment. Sometimes I'm convince they could bugger babies and it would, according to them, be covered by some kind of privilege!
 
Is this a reward for E devision of the RCMP?

Construction on RCMP E Division Headquarters officially begins
For immediate release

SURREY, British Columbia, May 7, 2010 –

Its a P3 worth 966 million

http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?m=/index&nid=530329
 
Speaking of E Division, and its spawn......but on an unrelated tangent....I noted during coverage of the Olympics that the (new and expensive) RISU command HQ/building in Richmond has in its lobby the Challenger Relief Map that used to be in the BC Pavilion at the PNE.

That was donated to the public of British Columbia by the Challenger family. Is it available for easy public viewing or is it in a security area, i.e. a lobby where you need a permit to actually get into? Why wasn't it integrated into the new Convention Centre or another much more publicly accessible location?
 
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