Thursday, May 20, 2010

 

BC Rail corruption trial gets rolling -- Google it and you will find plenty

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 Premier’s chief of staff denies province set up BC Rail to fail. 
Martyn Brown is cross-examined at Basi-Virk trial about Campbell government’s broken promises


Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - May 19, 2010


Vancouver — Martyn Brown, chief of staff to Premier Gordon Campbell and the most powerful unelected official in British Columbia, was forced to defend his boss’s record of broken election promises in court Wednesday.

As the first witness in a political corruption trial involving allegations of fraud and breach of trust against three former government officials, Mr. Brown was hit by a barrage of questions about how the Liberals promised not to sell BC Rail during the 2001 election campaign – only to put it up for sale the next year.  {Snippppppp! } ......

Read Mark Hume's full report HERE.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/premiers-chief-of-staff-denies-province-set-up-bc-rail-to-fail/article1575126/


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CN donations to Liberals not a factor in sale: chief of staff

By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - May 19, 2010

Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff denied Wednesday at a political corruption trial that CN Rail's campaign donations to the B.C. Liberal Party played a role in the company being chosen as the winning bidder for BC Rail in 2003. 

{Snip} ...

"Are you aware CN Rail gave approximately $269,000 over the last nine years?" the lawyer asked.

"I wasn't aware until now," Brown replied. "I have nothing to do with fundraising."

The witness said he was unaware that CN Rail donated $113,000 to the BC Liberals between 1994 and 2004, and another $155,907.50 between 2005 and 2009.

McCullough pointed out that CN Rail's chairman, David McLean, was the chief fundraiser of Campbell's 1996 election campaign.

"It was not at all a factor in the consideration," Brown said of the process that led to CN Rail being announced as the winning bidder of BC Rail in 2003. The $1-billion deal was finalized the following July. {Snip} ...

Lawyers for Dave and Aneal Basi still have to cross-examine Brown.

The next Crown witnesses are expected to be Kevin Mahoney, the most recent CEO of BC Rail, and Joy Illington, who was cabinet secretary in 2003.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/donations+Liberals+factor+sale+chief+staff/3049411/story.html#ixzz0oTNLSmI7

and also (same story) HERE:
http://www2.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=2a865b46-f263-45f2-a64b-c23fadca39bc

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BC Mary comment:

BC Rail Corruption Trial is being mentioned all over the news ... for example:
http://www.onenewspage.com/news/Front+Page/20100520/11185752/Government-devalued-Rail-in-order-to.htm


and I hope everyone keeps searching. When you find good reports, let's resolve to leave comments which will reflect the public interest in the BC Rail Corruption trial ... and encourage further, better coverage of this important  story. 

PLUS ... (if you have time) click on the URLs provided, if you appreciate photos. Because almost all the latest news reports include various photos of Dave Basi and Bobby Virk, sometimes the Defence  lawyers, but for some reason there's only 1 photo of Bill Berardino, the Crown Prosecutor,  so far.  The news media have gone way far beyond that old photo of all the uniformed police carrying boxes of files out of the BC Legislature that festive morning during Christmas holidays 2003. There's even a YouTube entitled (if I remember correctly) "Bobby Virk arriving at the Law Courts Building".  

So please keep searching. And let me know ... especially if you find overseas coverage, such as in The Guardian in Britain. - BC Mary. 

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Ceritanne comment: 

Hi Mary,

Concerning a headline on your blog:  BC Rail Corruption Trial is being mentioned all over the news ...

Yes, it is and television news...all local  stations...have been broadcasting the trial or about the trial every evening for the past week-week-and-a-half. There was a whole section on Global (Channel 11) last night with the undercurrent becoming very obvious that Gordon Campbell is not as popular as he used to be.  Pity.

Probably others have been telling you this, so my message is redundant ... 
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Basi-Virk trial, Day 2: 'Fix was in,' lawyer says

Times Colonist - May 20, 2010

The B.C. government, not a former ministerial aide accused of corruption, "fixed" the bidding in the $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail six years ago, a Vancouver court was told yesterday.


Lawyer Kevin McCullough, who represents Bob Virk in the B.C. Supreme Court trial, said the "fix was in" from the start for CN Rail to win the bidding ...

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Basi+Virk+trial+lawyer+says/3050595/story.html#ixzz0oTf16Ptp

Times Colonist has put a lock on this story too. Not available. Sheesh. Well ... When there is news, they plan to print it ... but they didnt say they would let people actually see it, though, did they.

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BC Rail Push-Back: responding to Mr Brown

An invaluable piece of deductive detectivery is HERE.
And default is here:
http://pacificgazette.blogspot.com/2010/05/railgate-pushbackresponding-to-mr-brown.html

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Basi Virk trial: What is expected today

By Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun - May 20, 2010

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Basi+Virk+trial+What+expected+today/3051309/story.html

....................................................................................................

Top aide grilled on B.C. Rail sale


Lawyer clashes with judge, gets Brown to say HST seen as 'a broken promise'


By Keith Fraser
The Province - May 20, 2010
Full article is HERE.
http://www.theprovince.com/business/aide+grilled+Rail+sale/3050446/story.html

Lawyer clashes with judge, gets Brown to say HST seen as 'a broken promise'

By Keith Fraser
The Province May 20, 2010

Martyn Brown (visit the full story to see photo), Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff, arrives at B.C. Supreme Court through the parking garage Wednesday. Brown was testifying in the Dave Basi and Bobby Virk breach-of-trust and fraud trial linked with the sale of B.C. Rail.


A lawyer for one of the accused in the Basi-Virk trial crossed swords with the judge for a second straight day Wednesday, this time during cross-examination of Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff.  (Snip) ...

On the opening day of the trial on Tuesday, B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie had rapped lawyer Kevin McCullough's knuckles when he twice interrupted special prosecutor Bill Berardino during his opening statement.

The judge warned that she would eject him from the courtroom if he interrupted again.

On Wednesday, during his cross-examination of Campbell chief of staff Martyn Brown, McCullough had a number of sharp exchanges with the judge.

The confrontation initially arose while McCullough was putting a document to the witness and not following the proper procedure, according to the judge.

Brown said he did not recognize the documents. McCullough left the subject but returned later, commenting that Brown had tried to refer to the document during the course of an answer.

"That's why you're trying to do," said the judge. "Just leave the topic Mr. McCullough. Go on to something else. Just put the document away."

McCullough replied that he didn't have the document and had put it away.

"Thank you," said the judge.

"But I'm going to ask that it be marked as an exhibit," said McCullough.

Shot back the judge: "No, it will not be marked."

The judge said the proper procedure was to put the document to the witness, see if he recognized it and only if he did recognize it, to proceed with questions about the document.

Later, McCullough began a question to Brown, suggesting the "fix was in" with regard to the controversial sale of B.C. Rail, but the judge cut him off and rebuked him.

"No, you don't get to say that to the witness, nor to the jury. Stop a moment. Now, members of the jury, any communications I have with Mr. McCullough is not evidence."

Under questioning from McCullough, Brown denied it was a political problem for the premier that a former top fundraiser for Campbell who was also chairman of CN Rail was involved in bidding for B.C. Rail.

Brown had testified in direct examination about the need for government officials to abide by standards of conduct and maintain confidentiality on certain government matters.

Under questioning from prosecutor Andrea MacKay, he had denied giving the accused, David Basi and Bobby Virk, permission to take money payments or free meals and travel from lobbyists or bidders for B.C. Rail.

The accused are alleged to have taken benefits worth nearly $50,000 in exchange for leaking confidential information about the sale.

But Brown came under fire from McCullough, as the defence lawyer explored the Liberal government's record.

McCullough pointed out that it might be a problem for Campbell that David McLean, the chairman of the CN board and a chief fundraiser for Campbell during the 1996 election, was a bidder in the sale for B.C. Rail.

"Certainly the perception of CN Rail, chair of the board, fundraiser for Gordon Campbell, that must have seemed to you a problem," said McCullough.

"No, somebody who was a Liberal party fundraiser five years before would not in any way preclude the applicant, the chair, from . . . bidding in an open and fair bidding process," replied Brown.

"People are allowed to participate in a democracy in our country."

CN Rail was announced the winning bidder for B.C. Rail in November 2003, shelling out $1 billion.

McCullough noted that the Liberals had promised not to sell B.C. Rail during the 2001 provincial election but turned around and did so after the election.

"You promised not to sell B.C. Rail in 2001, because in 1996, Campbell said he was going to sell B.C. Rail and he lost the election. Fair, Mr. Brown?"

"I don't think that's fair but I wasn't with the Liberal Party at that time," said Brown, who noted that there had been two elections since 2001 and the same MLAs in ridings impacted by the sale had been reelected.

McCullough suggested that the "modus operandi" of the Campbell government was to make promises before an election and then break them.

Brown denied the suggestion and said the government had made good on "virtually all" of its promises.

"What about the HST?" said McCullough, referring to the controversial harmonized sales tax the Liberals introduced after the election.

"You promised you weren't going to bring it in and that's exactly what you're doing," said McCullough.

"I would say that the HST commitment, if you want to come to that, was widely interpreted as a broken promise," admitted Brown.

He added that the issue had been "very widely canvassed and the government paid a very heavy political price for the perception of reality."  (Snip) ...

kfraser@theprovince.com

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/business/aide+grilled+Rail+sale/3050446/story.html#ixzz0oTu4BNiN

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BC Mary Comment to Keith Fraser: It was difficult to find anything which could be cut from your report without losing a lot of its valuable message and meaning. Please let me know if I have sinned against copyright or the guidelines for Real Journalists. I offer you the highest compliment, namely, that your report today offers the words and images which bring the story home to citizens who are passionately interested in this trial. The kind of report we have come to expect from Professor Robin Mathews. I very much hope that Robin was in the courtroom today. But I am not sure. If he couldnt hear properly and couldnt record the proceedings (as you did), he may have questioned ... what is the point. Good question, too. That cockeyed rejection by the BCSC Media Accreditation Committee is a very bad memory. I hope you agree, it should never have happened. Meantime, thanks for your report today. 


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Suddenly, from almost no reporting of the BC Rail corruption issue, there is a deluge of reports (often, unfortunately, repeating the same few factors). Look up Bing News, for example, and they offer:

Dave Basi Bing News:  6,340,000 hits
Aneal Basi Bing News:  1,180,000 hits
Bobby Virk Bing News:      58,000 hits

BC Rail Corruption
   Trial Bing News:              25,000 hits

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Lawyer alleges premier phoned accused in legislature raid to 'keep mouth shut'

By: Tamsyn Burgmann
Winnipeg Free Press
The Canadian Press - 20/05/2010
Read more HERE
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/breakingnews/premiers-chief-of-staff-says-he-didnt-know-about-aides-calls-to-radio-show-94511989.html


"Did you know that Premier Campbell was telling Mr. (Bobby) Virk that the Liberal Party would take care of him and that he was to keep his mouth shut?" Kevin McCullough asked Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown.

"I would say I would be shocked, completely shocked, if that was the case, because I don't believe it ever happened ... but I can't speculate," Brown said Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court.

McCullough also accused Brown, along with Campbell, of phoning Virk every three to four weeks while his client was suspended with pay after the Dec. 28, 2003 raid on the legislature in connection with the controversial sale of B.C. Rail.

"You assured him that the government would be taking care of him and that he just needed to play the game," McCullough said.  (Snip) ...

Read more HERE.

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Defence makes BC Rail case about Campbell

Brian Hutchinson

National Post - May 20, 2010

By now, jurors at the high-profile political corruption case underway in B.C. Supreme Court might be wondering just who is on trial: three men in the dock who are alleged to have committed fraud, breach of trust and money laundering in regards to the $1-billion sale of BC Rail, or Premier Gordon Campbell and members of his inner circle.

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=3053659#ixzz0oWniPKhc

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B.C. premier told aide accused of political corruption to 'keep his mouth shut': lawyer
 
By Keith Fraser
Vancouver Province - May 20, 2010
Read the full story HERE ... it's a good one.
http://www.theprovince.com/news/premier+told+aide+accused+political+corruption+keep+mouth+shut+lawyer/3053845/story.html

 ... Kevin McCullough, who is representing Bob Virk in the B.C. Supreme Court case, said his client was repeatedly told by B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and his chief of staff to "keep his mouth shut" and they would "take care of him."

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Defence in B.C. corruption trial goes on offensive

Gary Mason

The Globe and Mail - May 20, 2010
Read Gary Mason's full column HERE.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/defence-in-bc-corruption-trial-goes-on-offensive/article1576569/
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/defence-in-bc-corruption-trial-goes-on-offensive/article1576569/

The opening days of a criminal trial are usually when the Crown makes most of the news, scores most of the points, dominates the agenda inside the courtroom.

Yet, at the conclusion of the first week of a sensational political corruption trial under way in B.C., it’s been the defence that has created most of the headlines and perhaps even some early doubt in the minds of the jurors about the government’s case.

(Snip)  ...

The accused aren’t going to deny leaking information. They have effectively admitted that. Their defence will be they were instructed to do it by their political masters. What Mr. McCullough is doing is building the case that the accused did what they did within an overarching culture of deceit that existed inside Gordon Campbell’s government at the time.

If they leaked they were expected to, encouraged to, and they weren’t the only ones doing it.

(Snip) ...

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Comments:
"Lawyers for Dave and Aneal Basi still have to cross-examine Brown."

Bring on the popcorn!

What I've heard and read of Wild Bill "Conflict of Interest is my Game" Berardino trying to construct his carefully limited and diversionary case against Basi, Virk and Basi while giving the boys of Pilothouse and the Campbell Crime Family a free pass reminds me of nothing so much as the "magic bullet" of Warren Commision Infamy.

I would think that Bill's witnesses are going to have to lie with impunity to weather any half decent cross-examination by the defence. Of course I'm not at all convinced that the powerful (think Mike Harris, Brian Mulroney) think that an oath to tell the truth is binding. The white-haired prevaricator in chief sets the tone for the whole Campbell Crime Family's approach to the truth, which seems to be - AVOID AT ALL COSTS! To these guys the truth is an inconvenience best not addressed.
 
It's interesting to see McCullough going after the "fix was in" right off the bat, shifting the focus from OmniTRAX onto CN and the government's tight ties with them....as far back as '96:

McCullough pointed out that CN Rail's chairman, David McLean, was the chief fundraiser of Campbell's 1996 election campaign.

"Funny" how that bit of information was totally "insulated" in major media coverage until now.

I'm expecting the Defence team to call Paul Nettleton and other Liberals who left the fold over the sale......

I'm also expecting the defence to get all over how it came to be that only their clients were charged, and how only the OmniTRAX "tainted" arrangement has been brought to court, when nothing else has been.

I'm also waiting for Dave and Bobby to sing grand opera. This may even redeem their political careers if they come clean in public and talk about everything they know while on the stand. It will also be interesting to hear their opinions of how they've been betrayed by Bornmann, Marissen, et al.
 
Soomum1,

Maybe I am posting this response into the wrong thread but you would understand why, if you saw me doing my One-Arm-Paperhanger-Routine, since the BC Rail Corruption Trial got rolling.

I want to jump up and down, endorsing what you said about the Washington Marine Group.

Damn right, I say: we NEVER did hear that name mentioned, with regard to ... um, er ... current events. And yes, it always seemed passing strange to me that this group was standing by ready to catch this prize (was it 4 brand new catamaran ships ... FOUR) for less than their scrap value.

Never a breath of suspicion wafted over their pretty heads. Or at least, none that was allowed into print or broadcast format.

And that is just one of the BIG items you noted, Skookum. Many thanks.
.
 
Aww jeez ... hangs head, scuffs toe ... sorry, Skookum!!

Or can we adopt it as your new Coast Salish name meaning WiserThanNealHallAnyDayOfTheAccreditedWorkingWeekAndOnWeekendsAndHolidaystoo.

I will be Dsonqua. OK.
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People are allowed to "participate" in our 'democracy' Mr Brown; damn right they are - but if you are so fucking naive as to suggest that folks who contribute $300G, more or less, aren't buying something more than simple 'participation' then you are way beyond your best before date.

Were you at those meetings on a certain island (remind us Mary what 'island' I'm talking about, please) where all kinds of 'participants' and special friends were helicoptered in to a certain fancy dan property Mr. Brown? If you were, you're lying about what money buys one in Gordon Campbell's world.

If you weren't there, and you truly believe the garbage you're spouting in court then it's time to get outta town - for good.
 
The Province has blocked the story Mary. Bastards. Good thing you got the gist of it first.
 
Mary,
I thought there was to be no reporting on this trial?
And why would the Province pull their story?
 
Kim and Duchess, I just went to the link provided by Mary and the story is still there. For what it's worth. MacKenzie seems to need a reminder that she's on "our" side (the side of truth), or is supposed to be that way.
 
The judge's tone here is shocking:

On Wednesday, during his cross-examination of Campbell chief of staff Martyn Brown, McCullough had a number of sharp exchanges with the judge.

The confrontation initially arose while McCullough was putting a document to the witness and not following the proper procedure, according to the judge.

Brown said he did not recognize the documents. McCullough left the subject but returned later, commenting that Brown had tried to refer to the document during the course of an answer.

"That's why you're trying to do," said the judge. "Just leave the topic Mr. McCullough. Go on to something else. Just put the document away."

McCullough replied that he didn't have the document and had put it away.

"Thank you," said the judge.

"But I'm going to ask that it be marked as an exhibit," said McCullough.

Shot back the judge: "No, it will not be marked."

The judge said the proper procedure was to put the document to the witness, see if he recognized it and only if he did recognize it, to proceed with questions about the document.

Later, McCullough began a question to Brown, suggesting the "fix was in" with regard to the controversial sale of B.C. Rail, but the judge cut him off and rebuked him.

"No, you don't get to say that to the witness, nor to the jury. Stop a moment. Now, members of the jury, any communications I have with Mr. McCullough is not evidence."


Sure makes us want to know what that document was, doesn't it?

We're all seeing why Justice Bennett was kicked out of the trial (though she would deny that), and why Justice Mackenzie was parachuted in.

If the document pertains to the public interest, it should supersede the right of nay judge to keep it from the public - or a jury.

But perhasp this judge has no concept of the public interest.....

Also I don't see how a trasncript of a conversation held in a courtroom could be copyrighted, especially if that particular news oulet/network has a lock on aaccess to the courtroom Kas accredited journalists. But you cant' own what someone has said, no more than you can own the court record or Hansard.

Speaking of Hansard, I'm sure we'll see some juicy bits pulled forward by the Defence team.....
 
Island?...Did somebody say the 'secret' woid?

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LOL you can imagine the commentaries that Groucho would be pulling on this escapade....

If only BC had any comedians worth their salt and able to make this funny....not that any of our TV networks would air actual hard-biting political comedy (they allow "spoofy" stuff, but as we know it's all Maritimers working in Toronto, few of them would have a handle on what's going on out here enough to have anything relevant to say about it....
 
It's all a conspiracy. Asper-less Canwest still rules the world. It is the most evil company ever. More evil than CN or OmniTrax or even Imperial Tobacco. It's reporters are all corrupt lackeys on the take. They all stink. They are all stupid. Canwest runs the court system, which is totally corrupt. Justice Anne MacKenzie is a Canwest drone. Canwest even controls the Globe and Mail, can't you see? Gary Mason's mind has turned to mush because Canwest made it so. Mark Hume used to work for Canwest rag Vancouver Sun, which is why he's a dullard. Canwest is only covering the BC Rail trial this week to trick you into thinking it is covering the BC Rail trial. It's all so plainly obvious.
 
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