Friday, May 21, 2010

 

May 21: BC Rail trial already ugly for BC Liberals

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Defence lawyers keen to link dirty tricks to office of premier, who is already in public-opinion free fall


By Michael Smyth
The Province -- May 21, 2010
Read Michael Smyth's entire column HERE.
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Basi+Virk+trial+already+ugly+Liberals/3055485/story.html


It was another day on the witness stand, another day of getting grilled like a Quarter Pounder for the big cheese in the premier's office.

Martyn Brown, Premier Gordon Campbell's chief of staff, came under relentless assault in the B.C. Rail trial Thursday over suggestions of attempted cover-ups and dirty tricks in the highest level of the government.

During a brutal cross-examination by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, Brown denied that he and Campbell secretly coached defendant Bobby Virk to keep his mouth shut after police raided the legislature in the B.C. Rail corruption bust in 2003.

Brown denied he told Virk he would be taken care of if Virk "just played the game" as the heat came down on the government.

This trial is turning extremely ugly for the Liberals -- and we've only finished the third day of testimony.

Consider the tales of dirty tricks that emerged Thursday. Again under merciless cross-examination by McCullough, Brown denied he encouraged Virk and co-defendant David Basi to call open-line radio shows and lob softball questions at Campbell, so the premier could easily swat them out of the park.

While Brown denied having a personal hand in this sneaky tactic, he did admit it was "perfectly acceptable political practice."

Say what? Political hacks stack radio hotline shows with pre-scripted calls? Consider me as "shocked" as that guy in Casablanca who "discovers" gambling going on at Rick's Cafe.

I know what you're thinking: What do phony-baloney radio hotline calls have to do with B.C. Rail?

Just this: While the government in the past has painted Basi and Virk as a couple of bad apples, it looks like their lawyers are determined to show the whole barrel was rotten -- starting with the big apples at the top.

(Snip) ...


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Defence makes BC Rail case about Campbell

Government hammered over alleged actions

Brian Hutchinson 
National Post - May 21, 2010
Read the full article HERE.
http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=d767cf51-da4a-4aca-87e6-9685f6583f15

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.


No doubt this is what the defence wants. When the BC Rail trial began this week, lawyers for the three accused did not outline their case or describe what defence witnesses and evidence they'll eventually call; they made no opening remarks, for reasons that cannot be disclosed owing to a publication ban.

But they have telegraphed their intentions in the past few days: Attack the Campbell administration's credibility. Portray the governing provincial Liberals as a Machiavellian, immoral party that encourages minions to perform dirty political tricks. Minions such as the three accused.

Beginning on Wednesday, in cross-examination, the lawyer for one of the accused has hammered at a senior Campbell government official, chief of staff Martyn Brown. Yesterday, firebrand lawyer Kevin McCullough suggested to Mr. Brown that his client was used, abused, and discarded by the government when serious concerns were raised around the BC Rail sale process. Trouble began in December 2003, when RCMP officers raided the B.C. Legislature.

(Big snip) ...

The trial resumes next week.

Read more: http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/columnists/story.html?id=d767cf51-da4a-4aca-87e6-9685f6583f15#ixzz0oZVk2L2F
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Defence lawyer puts Liberals on trial in BC Rail case

By Ian Mulgrew
Vancouver Sun - May 21, 2010
Read Mulgrew's column HERE. Please!
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Defence+lawyer+puts+Liberals+trial+Rail+case/3055696/story.html
 
Sweeping accusations of impropriety are being levelled against the B.C. Liberal Party and Premier Gordon Campbell's administration at the BC Rail corruption trial.


In the first week of evidence in the prosecution of three former bureaucrats, the defence has portrayed the governing Liberals as fostering a political culture of dirty tricks and deceit.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie is vainly trying to limit the scope of the proceedings to the circumstances surrounding the charges involving the controversial $1-billion privatization of railway assets.

But veteran Victoria lawyer Kevin McCullough, leading the defence team, continues to put the Liberal government and party on trial. For two days he has conducted a withering cross-examination of the first witness, Premier Campbell's chief of staff Martyn Brown, who said in an aside that the trial was "very politicized."

(Snip!) ...

The special prosecutor objected and the judge sternly warned McCullough again.

"Just leave the topic," she chastised at one point. "Don't argue your case to the jury now, Mr. McCullough!"

"That's another editorial comment you will ignore," she repeatedly instructed the jurors.

"You will also ignore that Mr. McCullough walked away shaking his head."

She said the jurors must disregard the lawyer's eye-rolling, gestures and brandishing of the Liberals' glossy "New Era" campaign platform.

During one exchange over documents, Justice MacKenzie put her foot down.

"They don't go to the jury," she snapped.

"Yet," McCullough quipped. "Maybe never," she icily replied. Undeterred, McCullough continued his assault on the administration, saying it paid $100 each to the fish-farm supporters to stage the counterdemonstration and had government employees such as Basi and Virk call radio hotline shows to lob questions at Liberal guests.

Brown denied everything, bristling in frustration that he was thought to condone such misconduct.

"I'm saying I'm an ethical honest person," he said in exasperation.

"We'll have to take your word on that," McCullough shot back.

"Stop," the judge interjected giving him a withering look. She turned to the jury: "Ignore what he's saying. ... Mr. McCullough, if you want to make an argument, the jury will be excused."

The trial continues Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Defence+lawyer+puts+Liberals+trial+Rail+case/3055696/story.html#ixzz0oZaoidRg

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See also INDIA TIMES ... HERE.
http://iplextra.indiatimes.com/article/0coMgUb0lD64y?q=CBC

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Top aide also rebuffs allegation premier's office played dirty political tricks


By Keith Fraser 
The Province May 21, 2010
Read Keith Fraser's article HERE.
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Chief+staff+denies+muzzling+Virk/3055486/story.html

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Comments:
"
Brown denied that he and Campbell secretly coached defendant Bobby Virk.....

Brown denied he told Virk he would be taken care of....

Brown denied having a personal hand in this sneaky tactic, he did admit it was "perfectly acceptable political practice......

Brown denied everything, bristling in frustration that he was thought to condone such misconduct.....
"

I find it fascinating that Mr. Brown denies doing virtually anything, anything at all! I would be prone to conclude he sits in his office twiddling his thumbs and collecting the big bucks.

I mean the dirty tricks, phony phone-in calls and such are more than alleged, they are in many cases documented and matters of fact. So if all these things are going on and Martyn Brown knows nothing about them, has nothing to do with them, WHO ACTUALLY IS THE CHIEF OF STAFF, and why is he collecting the big bucks?

Or is this where Lara comes in? Does Gordo have two beards? Martyn being the political beard and Nancy the other kind. Are they each a "beard" for different aspects of Lara's multi-tasking?
 
Campbell's strategy, is always, lie and deny, deny, deny. Why would Campbell order the e-mails, regarding the BC Rail, to be destroyed, before his re-election You would think, if he were innocent, he would guard those e-mails, with his life. It is amazing, all of that happened, in this province and, neither Brown nor Campbell, knew anything about it? Campbell, is the master of, low down tactics of lying and deceit. I think pretty much everyone knows, the blame has been shifted onto others. The judicial system, is not very trustworthy. We have seen, the RCMP exonerated, for crimes, everyone else would have gone to prison for. Some citizens believe, that justice will not be done, to the governing officials who deserve it.
 
Having worked very close to this Premier's office, I know for certain that Martyn Brown is lying his butt off. He's a puppetmaster and directs endless dirty tricks by ministerial assistants and other staff. I trust (hope) that the courts will have access to Mr. Brown's non-government e-mail address...as it was this one that he often used to give direction that they didn't want getting into the public domain.
 
"...perfectly acceptable political practice."

Bullshit Martyn Brown - it is NOT PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE political practice. Falsely created public impressions in the media are slimeball tactics. Exactly the kind of thing Paul Reitsma had to vacate his seat for practicing. You know it. I know it and the people of this province know it.


Resign.

You and your boss have turned politics and the practice of government in this province into a game where sleaze ball tactics and lies are NOW the lingua franca of the BC Liberal party.

The last decent Liberal in this government was Paul Nettleton - he had the courage to call you and your masters on their behavior and walk away with his reputation intact.

It's too late for that now MR BROWN, you're the one who implemented CEO government in this province - now it's time to pay the piper.

I just hope that every British Columbian is aware of what you and your boss have done to the once fine reputation of government service in this country: SHAME SIR, SHAME.
 
Anon 9:59 I hope one day you will tell us a story about what you do know from your perspective. Mary, would that be the Ian who is so helpful in your comments section? Never mind, none of my business.
 
Some have said that the BC Liberal Party provided all ministers and MAs with cell phones to do certain business. I recall Joy MacPhail spoke directly about this in QP in 2004 and got a non-denial denial. Now those would be interesting wiretaps.
 
Anon 1:59,

Can you give us the Hansard dates for this, please?
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"I'm saying I'm an ethical honest person," he said in exasperation.

"We'll have to take your word on that," McCullough shot back.

"Stop," the judge interjected giving him a withering look. She turned to the jury: "Ignore what he's saying. ... Mr. McCullough, if you want to make an argument, the jury will be excused."


In other words, the jury will be excused so the public can't hear any of this. She's using the presence of the jury as a weapon (or rather, its absence). Why shouldn't the jury hear McCullough's argument - especially because the other day you refused to stop the Crown Prosecutor's? Bad enough there's bad reffing in hockey, but when you always take one side in this it makes it clear exactly why YOUwere brought into the case. And come to think of it, how appropriate is it for you to have a significant promotion and accompanying pay raise right in the middle of a major political trial where the motive of your appointment has already been at issue - as well as the mysterious circumstances by which it came to be. By request of the asme man (Berardino) whose agenda has been served by your appointment, including in this matter of shutting down Defence counsel while letting the Special Prosecutor say waht he wants. Not that that's all you've done to favour the government since you were handed this case (and given that pay raise).

You have inserted yourself - were inserted - between the powers of this government, and the public's right to know. And your behaviour in that position has been less than impartial.

Not good optics, Justice Mackenzie, not good optics at all....not that you have to run for office, but if you don't want to be remembered by history as a hatchetwoman in the business of protecting a corrupt regime, and a corrupted constitution, you should smarten up now......
 
Great post, Skookum1.
 
I'm getting confused here. eg.

"May 21: BC Rail trial already ugly for BC Liberals
.
Defence lawyers keen to link dirty tricks to office of premier, who is already in public-opinion free fall


By Michael Smyth
The Province -- May 21, 2010"

Today is Friday, the May 21st, but the writings from the journalists is for Thursday, May 20th. For archival purposes could you put a headline in indicating which day the posting is for?

Was Courtroom 54 in session today, or is it considered to be a STAT.... I know you (BC Mary with the help of a few friends) could create a clickable calendar... eh
 
Anonymous 6:30,

If you've been doing your own searches online, you'll know that there are often several dates strung out across the top of a news article -- each time something is updated, a new date is ADDED (not changed, but ADDED) including the time of day.

Frequently, a news report is held back editorially for a full day or even 3 days. I don't know why.

Honestly, I can't provide you with the exactitude you are requesting.
.
 
Well! It's not hard to see who enforces Campbell's arrogance - or perhaps fine tuned it to it's extreme level.

Perhaps, just perhaps mind you...Martyn is really the premier and Gordon is the puppet?

At least, that's what I'm feeling when I read what he has to say.
 
Arthur Nonus Birch ran the administration of Governor Frederick Seymour from top to bottom; even presiding over the Council and the Assembly (as the Governor was usually "ill" or just otherwise indisposed - "dyspepsia" - alcoholism - being the reason....nice fellow though he was).

The system of government is such that it's one man's job to get the machine elected, but such people aren't usually the right person to run an administration.

It used to be that the Chief of Staff was not a political appointment, but was part of the apolitical machinery of the civil service, as also with deputy ministers. It was Bill Bennett who changed all that and the Liberals who consolidated the political apparat's control over senior civil service positions which at one time carried on from administration to administration....ion the days when the civil service had honour, or at least could pretend to with more class than this current lot.

No, I don't see a connection between huge, dominating political contributions and the fact that that's who we gave/sold public assets to. I don't see any connection, no sirree. Why ever would you think that?"

These guys need better scriptwriters; that's one of the most inane things any political figure could say...and kinda pathetic in fact. A cat meowing would have more meaning.

Why else does big money donate money to politicians? Out of the goodness of their heart? It's not like political parties are charitable humanitarian organizations.

Sure, CN would have had no problem if the Liberals had ignored all the boodle they got from the railway and sold BC Rail to one of their competitors instead. Oh yeah, that would have gone over big huh?



I'd at least have expected a more elegant-sounding big of slime. Something worth the salaries of all those spin doctors the party, oops I mean the government, keeps in the basement of the Leg....

by the way I'd be interested in seeing what other charitable monies that CN might have forked out. Cultural funds? Hospitals? School programs? Environmental or third-world project funds? Any pancake breakfasts for the War Amps? Or only the Liberal Party of BC?

Just asking.....

I can think of more than one struggling organization that could use the same kind of philanthropic funding....and been more than glad to do something nice for the railway in return. Why would politicians be any more altruistic than, say, an artist whose works got supported, or a doctor or a nurse whose clinic was kept open thanks to the railway's help.

"Sure we gave them bushels of money, but no we didn't expect to win the bidding process because of that".

That's probably what we're going to hear from CN, and it will sound even sillier than Martyn Brown....
 
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