Wednesday, May 26, 2010

 

One week delay - a gift to the Prosecution in the BC Rail Corruption trial

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The Week-Long Adjournment of the BC Rail Scandal Trial Is Fraught With Implications.
(May 25, 2010)


By Robin Mathews


 The Basi, Virk, and Basi trial has begun to strip away layers of ‘disinformation’ engaged in by Gordon Campbell and his associates in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.

The sudden and unexpected sickness of Aneal Basi (about which there is, apparently, no doubt) has – in a sense – derailed the momentum of the trial.  Mr. Basi’s illness, surprisingly, seems a gift to the prosecution and, perhaps, to Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie – not, I think, to the Defence. I will explain….

Madam Justice MacKenzie, we remember, took over the matter mid-stream in a way that has never been satisfactorily explained, She set about closing off all Defence access to “disclosure” materials that are key to its operation.  Mr. Berardino, “Special” Crown Prosecutor, announced this morning that, when court sits again on Monday next [May 31] at nine in the morning, he will bring up the matter of “relevancy.  [He means “relevance”, but maybe “relevancy” sounds more important.]

What he will say, doubtless, is that the Defence is throwing a huge net to catch whatever they can [not relevant], while the case is a very simple one about three men allegedly doing dirty little deeds of the kind a free society cannot countenance.  “Get on with the simple, straightforward, clear case”, he will say in one way of another.

Canadians (and British Columbians, especially) need to pay close attention to that argument.  Upon it, I say, hinges whatever possibility there is for some degree of justice to come out of the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial.

The Defence – as I have gathered from its uninterrupted momentum from the beginning of pre-trial hearings three and a half years ago - will claim, in its catalogue of counter-claims, that the accused didn’t leak confidential information to anyone.  That is one of the crimes charged against the accused.

But if the accused didn’t commit the crime, who did?

If the accused are not guilty of the charge, who is?  Who broke oaths of confidentiality and leaked confidential information?  Someone is guilty of doing so?

Because that is a real question of primary importance, Defence has been pushing Martyn Brown, Gordon Campbell’s chief of staff and top political advisor, on the question.

If there was (as I have been saying for a long time) (a) a Campbell policy and program to make BC Rail fail, and if  (b) there is evidence (to support the claim of) a faked bidding process, and if (c) ‘Campbell and associates’ were leaking privileged information to CNR (as other bidders insisted they were) to make it “look” the best bidder, and if (d) all but one other bidder left because of the stench of impropriety in the bidding -  and there was a push to keep Omnitrax in the bidding at all costs … there is every reason to believe there could have been “leaking” of confidential information from top sources, not from the accused … to Omnitrax.

For that reason, the Defence is NOT casting a wide net.  It is addressing directly the claim that two of the accused men leaked confidential information that was very likely leaked – for policy reasons – by people in commanding positions in the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR. Others may be guilty of the crime alleged to have been committed by the accused. Mr. Berardino, “Special” Prosecutor does not, I think, want questioning to go in the direction it is taking.  I believe Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie doesn’t either. [Much more on this in following columns.]

Attempts to close off the Defence line of argument may be rachetted up when court sits again on Monday, May 31.  Watch for it.  Watch Mr. Berardino.  Watch Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie. The integrity of the trial, I believe, depends on the Defence being able to pursue its line of argument.  But the matter goes deeper, even, than that.

There is a publication ban on all matters of evidence, submissions, rulings, and reasons for judgement in the court in the full scope of the pre-trial hearings (“in the absence of the jury”).  But there can be no ban on the records of Hansard (the day-to-day presentations of evidence and argument in the Legislature concerning the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to CNR).

Using Hansard records, contributing editor of Tyee, Will McMartin has just written about the astonishing abuse of trust in the whole, sleazy operation of dumping BC Rail. His language about the Campbell group reinforces a demand I have been making insistently.

“The biggest contribution of the premier and his MLAs was to drastically distort and misrepresent BC Rail’s financial health….”  “…the claim that profits sent to Victoria prevented the rail company from up-grading its fleet of passenger cars was, and is, ludicrous….”  “The BC Liberal disinformation campaign got seriously underway in February 2003….” And so on….

A disinformation campaign is one in which a whole program is set on foot to make the false appear to be the true.

What Will McMartin points to, yet again, I insist, is my allegation that Campbell and his associates didn’t just lie to the people of British Columbia.  They didn’t just set about destroying the integrity of an asset owned by the people of British Columbia in order to hand it to private corporate “friends”.   They didn’t just involve a large number of civil servants to create a false picture.  They didn’t just engage in an expensive make-believe bidding process that was not legitimate.

They also, I allege, - in doing all those things – engaged in criminal breach of trust.  That is why I asked RCMP top officer Gary Bass to begin a public investigation into Gordon Campbell and associates in the transfer of BC Rail to the CNR in order to clear the air forever on the matter.  And that – I believe with great sorrow – is why Gary Bass refuses to undertake an investigation.

The brief series of events that happened in courtroom 54 this morning – surrounding and leading to an adjournment of the court until next Monday morning – does not bode well for a trial of integrity.  British Columbians must try to see the trial in clear terms.  It is about the betrayal of British Columbians by the Gordon Campbell group and “government”.

Those of us familiar with the long proceeding would be very happy to believe it is simply about three lower level operatives who put their fingers in the pie.  If it were that, we could feel happy.  It might mean, then, that otherwise, the people of British Columbia have a top government administration of integrity.

The trial is about the integrity of the Gordon Campbell government. It cannot help being that. And it may, also, be about the disintegration of the administration of justice in the province – happening before our eyes.

That part is still up for grabs.


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Comment by solocanoe:

Thank you

You are bang on!

The relevance issue is the only way to attempt to protect a man who undoubtedly was the coach in all this.

Everything turns on the defense's cross exam of the main puppeteer. a very good job of questionning is being done btw.

I predict a serious shortening of the 40 person witness list next and questions must be put to someone if there is going to be testimony to that effect by the defendants. Brown is the most obvious candidate and the judge must allow all this as relevant. Questions around future testimony of defendants must be put to witnesses in cross or the Special prosecutor will cry fowl for that.

The relevance objection cannot succeed or the court assists in hiding the truth.

# posted by Anonymous solocanoe : May 26, 2010

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Comments:
Thank you

You are bang on!

The relevance issue is the only way to attempt to protect a man who undoubtedly was the coach in all this.

Everything turns on the defense's cross exam of the main puppeteer. a very good job of questionning is being done btw.

I predict a serious shortening of the 40 person witness list next and questions must be put to someone if there is going to be testimony to that effect by the defendants. Brown is the most obvious candidate and the judge must allow all this as relevant. Questions around future testimony of defendants must be put to witnesses in cross or the Special prosecutor will cry fowl for that.

The relevance objection cannot succeed or the court assists in hiding the truth.
 
Robin,

Perhaps you should check your tape....Because, is it not just as possible that Mr. Berar(n)dino told that the court that he was going to inform us of an 'un'important 'ir'relevancy on Monday next?

Oh.....Wait....I forgot...Neal Hall et al. have made sure that you don't have such a tape....Sorry about that.

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Professor Matthews,

I admire your prose; mainstream media "journalists" could do well merely to aspire to your skill with the words.

I admire your years of going to the court on our behalf to sit in those uncomfortable quarters where you have given witness to the testimonies and arguments. I admire your ability to analyze what is within the scant information pried free from the StoneWallying BC Liberals. They have fought ever-so-hard for us not to see nor hear their misdeeds. I admire your ability to deduce the most plausible truths from the actions taken by "public servants" entrusted to act on OUR behalf.

Above all, I admire your tenacious search for truth during this dark time when BC and Canada are being divided and sold to uncaring powerful individuals and corporations.

May Peace be with you, Robin Matthews. May your nights be filled with restful and replenishing sleep so that daily you may continue to awake and soldier on in this epic trial.
 
Excellent Robin. You have put in words what I have felt about this government since they were elected.


'They also, I allege, - in doing all those things – engaged in criminal breach of trust. '

Breach of trust, seems to be involved in everything they do. It continues to this day. Take the HST issue for example. Colin failed to convince the public so now Captain Campbell has taken on the role of Liberal propaganda. Claiming that thousands of jobs will be created and a massive improvement in the economy will be the result two years after its' implementation. There is no evidence to substantiate this claim! This is just more of the same of idealogy run amok. Offload the tax burden from the Corporation and put it on the middle class. Well, we all know who that benefits don't we.....

When BC Rail was sold, after a grand pre-election Lie, people should have figured it out back then.

Thank you BC Mary for your continued efforts to bring justice to the voters of BC.

island cynic
 
If, as Robin suspects, this week off is used to skew things in favor of Berardino and company, and the defense is not allowed to prove relevance in front of the public...then it's time for ALL of us concerned with this trial to write to the CJC (Canadian Judicial Council) with as much proof as we can muster, to have this Justice removed from this trial.

If we believe in the end that justice was absolutely not served, and seen to be done, then this must go to the Court of Appeal. Now, if it should end up there, you can bet those who control the system will do all they can to insure it does not come before Justice Bennett...she knows too much about the case, and has shown too much integrity towards the public and the unbiased application of law. In other words, she is actually worthy of her title.
 
well done Robin. It appears that the MSM is trying to dictate the line of questioning for Martyn Brown and therefore limit the questioning for all other witnesses. Shame on them.

This is clearly an attempt by the media and special prosecutor Bill Berardino to muzzle the defence, and refusing the defence a fair opportunity to cross examine witnesses. The allegations of political dirty tricks are directed from the Premier's office! That is part of the culture that evolved under Gordon Campbell.

JUSTICE MACKENZIE CANNOT ALLOW THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO MUZZLE ANYONE. SHE MUST BE FAIR AND IMPARTIAL.
 
What about questioning Martyn Brown about Lara Dauphinee about her role as Deputy Chief of staff to the Premier.
 
Yeah, right 1:33 ... good one. Ha ha, etc.
 
On the first day of the trial, the defense asked that the court be adjourned for two day so they would would have more time to go through all the email records they had received at the last minute. Judge MacKenzie refused them. This latest adjournment gives them the time they asked for and more. The week off may have given the crown a breather, but it has also given the defense the time to assemble more ammo.
 
Sadly there's a certain symmetry between this and the flesh-eating disease that struck Lucien Bouchard and the related skin infection that struck his family at the same time....allegedly no germ-baesd "black ops" was involved, but it's not like we'd be told if there had been either.

Virk is no doubt genuinely sick; but if it serves the Crown's interest, and the agenda of Those Who Would Remain In Control, it can't be discounted that this is maybe something like a germ warfare "hit" meant to damage the proceedings.

This is, after all, British Columbia. Nothing is impossible, everything nasty and corrupt all too plausible. Nothing can be proven either way in this case....unhappy synchronicity has hit in Canada at other times, and with other individuals, Bouchard's being only one of the better-known....
 
For goodness sakes folks, he's got a common ordinary cold which either takes seven days or a week to get over.

The problem, is, inside that glass enclosure for the defendants, it can be passed on to the next guy, and the next guy, and before you know it the trial will have been delayed for THREE weeks.

Having Virk off to recover, will give others the same opportunity.
 
Seems like the germs have already spread to Virk ...

I thought it was Aneal Basi who "fell ill".
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Zee common cold as nevr been good enuf to stay ome from vork! Zick? Doctor's note! Sniffles? Come inn!

Gesundhiet!!!!
 
Does this mean the LIEberal germ powered serial murder spree (of the inconvenient) is spreading from care homes, wild salmon runs and operating rooms to the dock for the accused at BCSC?

I'm with Mary, let the sick guys, and incidentally the rest of us, watch the proceedings on TeeVee - though I probably don't get the channel in question, unless perhaps it is available online.

Come to think of it, if they could (as apparently has already occurred) take testimony by video-link from a "fairness" evaluator in Halifax, why couldn't any Basi or Virk be kept up to date from their sickbed via video link. After all it is the 21th century, whether Gordo cares to admit it or not! This government certainly hasn't embraced contemporary technology when it comes to providing "transparency" in government.

Perhaps instead of "Trial of the Century," this trial will be known as the trial that took over a century to conduct and many lifetimes to achieve a verdict.
 
Koot,

I've just watched President Calderone of Mexico as he addresses the House of Commons in Ottawa.

For some reason, this is considered worthy of national broadcast on CBC Newsworld and on CTV.

Obviously, these things can be done ... if there's a will to do it.

So yes: video for anyone like Aneal who's confined to sickbed or otherwise unable to attend the Court sessions ... and we know from our gained experience that the contemporary technology runs both directions ... so if Aneal is terribly sick he could even testify from his sickbed. Others, too. Testify, I mean.

I have, in the past, written very politely to each of the lawyers seeking their endorsement for TV in a courtroom of such vital interest to the public. No response.

If you look back in recent BC history, you'll find that there was a BCSC televised trial of Korean fishermen (check this for accuracy) and there are vague similarities in the underpinnings there, as to a trial that's of vital public interest.

Public assets (big railways, little fishes) are public assets ... of keen interest to the public (owners).

Thanks, Koot. You always find fresh and wonderful words to explain things.
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it wa Aneal Basi who was sick. Virk was in court on Monday along with David Basi.
 
it wa Aneal Basi who was sick. Virk was in court on Monday along with David Basi.
 
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