Thursday, July 08, 2010
This morning's pathetic piece of editorial crap is so stunningly disingenuous that it is only fair (use) to reproduce the entire example of mis-direction and lies disguised as something illuminating. If Canned Waste of Trees thinks I've infringed on their copyright (and are willing to actually take credit for this crap) perhaps the author(s) would at least have to identify themselves to complain. Of course I will need to insert comments (italicized) to point out the myriad lies, distortions and omissions contained in this so-called editorial supposedly composed by educated masters of journalism.
Basi-Virk case reflects badly on our justice system
Vancouver Sun July 8, 2010
If ever there was a case that would test our patience with our justice system, the Basi-Virk case is it.(Indisputable - which in this piece of crap is unbelievably rare and this is one of the few such statements)
Former B.C. ministerial assistants Dave Basi and Bob Virk have long faced allegations of leaking confidential information about the bidding process for BC Rail, and are on trial on charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting benefits. Basi's cousin Aneal Basi is also on trial, facing charges of money laundering. (re-worded boilerplate)
British Columbians are abundantly familiar with these names and charges since they've been in the news for 6½ years.(well, amazingly unfamiliar, all things considered, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Times-Colonist, Province and Sun and Glow Ball TeeVee to ignore the whole issue once the dust settled from the "shocking" raids themselved - THERE WERE ALSO OTHER PLACES SEARCHED ALSO THAT WEEK) It was on Dec. 23, 2003, that we first witnessed the "shocking raid" on the B.C. legislature, as cameras caught RCMP and Victoria police officers removing boxes from the building.
But the case dates back even further -- to the summer of 2002 when the RCMP and Victoria police launched an investigation involving drugs and organized crime. That investigation led to the arrests of nine people, and to a spinoff investigation that led to the legislature raid. (Don't forget that the "Mr. Big" of the Vancouver Island drug trade - cousin to Dave Basi and frequently wiretapped caller to Dave at work in Finance Minister "Ferret" Collins' office - was tried, convicted and sentenced without even a peep from the so-called CanWest press until months later when BC Mary stumbled across the information eliciting a tardy acknowledgement from just one of the lackeys of the "accreditation panel" for journalists in the Supreme Court of BC).
The public was provided with little information about the raid (Is this sort of a confession of malfeasance on your part?) until March 2004 when the B.C. Supreme Court released a summary of the search warrants.(Interesting that you neglect to mention that the warrants were about 80% redacted) And the investigation led to Basi and Virk being charged, but not until Dec. 21, 2004, almost a full year after the raid. (You also neglect to mention that Dave Basi and Bobby Virk were dealt with differently immediately after the raids - one was FIRED and one was suspended with pay - by people who supposedly knew NOTHING about anything)
It took another year-and-a-half before things appeared ready for trial. The trial was scheduled to begin in June 2006, but was delayed for almost a year because of disclosure problems.(Note that it wasn't the defence who were resisting disclosure tooth and nail - unless you are, perhaps rightly, considering the RCMP and SP Wm. Berardino as part of the Campbell Regime's defence team - see Rishi Gill- What is the defence lawyer up to anyway?)
A pre-trial conference was then held in April 2007, but this led to more delays. In fact, one pre-trial matter made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled on whether defence lawyers should be allowed to attend an in-camera hearing involving a police informan (this wasted many, many months and was of course entirely the fault of Wild Bill - there was no reason a member of the defence couldn't have signed an undertaking to not disclose - after all we're not talking the UN Gang, Bikers or the Mafia here - OR ARE WE?). That issue wasn't resolved until late 2009.(Let us not forget that many of these pre-trial conferences were COMPLETELY ignored, as Lucinda Chodan and Kirk LaPointe didn't consider most hearings newsworthy - this when they had a daily feature concerning the "in recess" Willy Pickton Pig Farm trial)
That brings us to this year when the trial appeared finally to get on track. The trial began on May 18 -- one day late -- and ran smoothly for three days. It then took more than two weeks before it resumed, and almost immediately upon resuming, was beset by further delays. This means that for most of the seven-plus weeks of the trial, the jury has heard no testimony.(And of course the public couldn't even discuss the reasons for the delays, thanks to parachuted judge J-Mack's sweeping publication ban)
Needless to say, these delays, which centred on "legal arguments," have resulted in a reassessment of the expected length of the trial. Originally forecast to run six to eight weeks -- which means it would likely be over by now -- it's now expected to last 10½ months. (Terry Donnelly of the CBC thinks this is overly optimistic and wonders if it will be completed in his lifetime)
That estimate includes Christmas vacation time and also a break for the summer, which began Wednesday and lasts until the end of August. This means that 3½ months after the start of the trial, the jury will have heard from one witness.( and not much from him other than "I don't recall" "I doubt it" "I would be shocked if that were the case" and other handy expressions that skirt but (he hopes) avoid perjury charges of contempt of court)
Long trials are problematic for many reasons and become even more problematic when they are preceded by investigations and the resolution of pre-trial matters that last for years. One or more jurors could easily become unable to continue over the course of a long trial, thereby leading to the possibility of a mistrial.(How come this doesn't mention how welcome this would be to the Campbell Regime?) Witnesses too could become incapacitated or simply forget relevant details of the case (why am I seeing Martyn Brown in my mind right now?).
There are reasons -- some plausible and some not -- for the delays in this case. Is it the charter provisions that put an onerous evidentiary burden on the Crown? (NO! - at least I don't think so) Are the defence lawyers using every trick in the playbook to drag things out?(It would appear to be the accused masters, whose orders the accused were following and whose policies they were carrying out that are doing this) Are the judges not using their authority to control the proceedings in court? (Justice Bennett seemed to be interested in controlling the proceedings and expediting disclosure - Justice MacKenzie, not so much and Justice MacKenzie seems to have NO PROBLEM what so ever with Martyn Brown being completely unresponsive to questioning day after day after day - but don't let a defendant or defence counsel unconciously let an eye roll....)
After more than six years of this, one has no choice but to ask these questions.(I've pretty well given up on the likelihood that the drones of CanWest will EVER ask any of the relevant questions) And while there may be reasonable answers to each of these queries, getting, and keeping, the trial on track would be a good start.(Finally a fairly reasonable statement - even if it is a vague mom and apple pie kind of platitude with no real suggestion of how to actually implement "keeping the trial on track.")
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun (Jeeeez, I wouldn't want to take credit for this crap!)
The failure of the Campbell government to disclose documents regarding the sale of BC Rail was cause for delay. The failure of the RCMP to disclose documents regarding the investigation into former Minister of Finance Gary Collins was cause for the delay. The Appeal by the Special Prosecutor to the Supreme Court of Canada regarding a "secret witness" was cause for the delay.
But somehow these facts are disregarded by the mainstream media. Shameful.
Hopefully this won't come through twice.
"I don’t think there is anything better than a being defence counsel on a criminal jury trial. It is the closest one can get to being in a job where the action can be just like the movies at times. A glorious moment for a lawyer is completely ruining the credibility of the opposing side’s witness. Right now, in the Basi/Virk trial, defence counsel is setting up his defence. We’ll see just how devastating the set up is when the defence case is called." - Rishi Gill
Bold printing is mine
One of the things that I learned from attending Court Room #54 was to observe things that the public, news media, and lawyers do, before the Judge is in the room. On the latter, not the Judge, I discovered that Kevin McCullough used to play Tennis, so to give one answer to Risi Gill's last comment of "We’ll see just how devastating the set up is when the defence case is called." I would like readers to take a look at the bio on one Kevin McCullough at MBDG where they say:
"As a former nationally ranked tennis player and NCAA Division I scholarship athlete, Mr. McCullough has been driven to compete from an early age. Mr. McCullough prides himself on an ability to focus and accept extreme challenges. As a five-time marathon finisher Mr. McCullough understands that it takes hard work, tenacity and drive to succeed. Mr. McCullough prides himself on working long hours and committing himself completely to the cases he conducts."
His Bio is also here, on the Legislature Raids at:
PS Yes the Basi/Virk/Basi trial is on hold till September 13th, but Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie is working in Courtroom #53. No vacation for her.
The date of the Legislature raids was December 28, 2003 ... not the 23rd as stated in this editorial. That's such a dumb error ... much like getting the Basi-Virk-Basi family connections wrong ... that jaws must be dropping in wonderment ... like, has the Sun's minions engaged their brains at all, on this important trial?
About the authors, Koot. Somewhere on the editorial page there's a bit of text describing how the Vancouver Sun editorials are written, put together, approved, and by whom. This editorial is somewhat encouraging to see that even Vancouver Sun is beginning to recognize the professional gaps in the courtroom performance ongoing in Case #23299.
Very interesting, North Van's Grumps, that Madam MacK. is hard at work on some other very important issue in Courtroom #53. Any idea what that's about?
I missed the one at 9:15 in Court Room #53, and far too early for the ones at 2:00, but within ten minutes I found myself in a different court room altogether, and on the Fourth Floor dealing with Tasering.... where the medical research references were being called into question on the validity of doing a comparison of Mice to Men to try and solve the problem of LETHAL FORCE.
The lawyer, the one who was doing the talking, kept referring to "my Friend, from the AG office".
If I have time tomorrow, I just might go back, that is, if the Courts are open on a Friday or just read what Keith Fraser has to say.
Do you have a copy of the Vancouver Sun's claim, on either November 7th or 14th of 2003 where they floated the idea that CN Rail had won the bid to buy BC Rail..... which was quickly denied by the BC Liberal Government?
From the Tyee:
"Why Are We Selling Our Railway?
Need to get up to speed on the BC Rail privatization issues? Climb aboard, and read on
By Chris Tenove, 14 Nov 2003,
Reports that BC Rail will be sold this week to Canadian National Railway (floated in Friday's Vancouver Sun and quickly denied by the government) left the province's citizens - including the 32,000 who signed a petition against the move - with more questions than answers." SNIP
I don't have access to the information you ask about ... but I'd suggest that you send the tip to Kevin McCullough's office.
It looks important ... and if it verifies any aspect of "the fix was in", he would surely be interested.
Thanks for your good work!
A few weeks ago, I sent him something and received a swift, pleasant response from his staff. It gave the impression that he's very awake, very much on the job.
Grumps - the case you are referring to sounds like the Taser International action attempting to overturn the findings of the Braidwood Commission, because they said bad things about the Taser. This company has been very aggresive in courts everywhere and constantly push the idea that Tasers are harmless and to say anything different infringes on their god-given right to make money! They have FORCED coroners in the US to revise their findings in what were originally deemed as taser related deaths and have even sued public officials who intimated that the taser was anything less than beneficial to all......I'm surprised people don't have to consider it a tool for CPR!
As to passing the information on, Tyee are the ones that did the story on the Vancouver Sun, and they would be a better source.....OR..... a library's microfiche section for November 2003.
Now, I only read their free online stuff. I delivered the Sun as a kid, read it throughout teen and adult years until about two years ago. I reached my limit and realized much better material was available on the web. When the paywalls go up, I'll pay for the NY Times, the Guardian, The Economist, Le Monde Diplomatique and a perhaps a few others depending on pricing. The only Canadian paper I'll pay for is the Toronto Globe and Mail, which happens to have a good Pacific bureau. The Vancouver Sun and Province aren't worth taking to get a small portion of good material because that licenses them to give you the rest of the crap.
Neal Hall was in the court through the recent legal wrangling. You'd think he would have shared who was responsible so the Sun didn't make so many duplicitous errors of speculation.
Sure, sure, I know that all letters can't get into print ... and that views like ours may be severely weeded out ... but
people at Vancouver Spun (sorry for the typo ... but I kinda like it) ...
people behind the scenes at Vancouver Sun do read all the letters, tally them, and attach some significance to what people are saying.
In other words, a Letter-to-the-Editor is worth sending. Very much so.
Whether there's a change of editorial policy since Shaw took over from CanWest, I don't know ... but it's possible that this crappy editorial is the fumble of new people taking over, and trying to give attention to the BC Rail story. Who knows, a fresh breeze might be stirring the musty air in Vancouver newsrooms ... they might be open to new possibilities -- such as:
The BC Rail Trial is the most significant trial they'll ever see ... and history will judge them harshly if they continue to "edit out" this story.
The wonders of Internet brings us this crap; it also gives us this opportunity to respond swiftly. I say: let's go for it.
I think I'll use my opportunity to ask Patricia Graham (she usually replies, and with courtesy, too - unlike Kirky LaPointe) if ...
if she'll apply to the court for them to lift (even partially) that publication ban.
Alan Wallace was also deeply involved with Income Trusts ... and we remember how revealing the news about that legislation was said to bring about the defeat of Paul Martin's Federal Liberal government, and the triumph of Stephen (Reform) Harper. [Harper & Gordon Campbell (Socred, Reform) being political twins, in my view.]
Strange how these things work out.
Even stranger: while listing his many accomplishments, Alan Wallace of CIBC says nothing about the BC Rail deal.
Basi & Virk were there. They must know every step of how that tainted BCR-CN deal developed.
If Defence lawyer McCullough cross-examines, Alan Wallace will be a fascinating witness. Starting on Sept. 13, 2010.
What's the bets he won't remember anything about that letter? And that he sees nothing wrong with proceeding with the sale even though a major bidder complained about unfairness?
I don't think we'll hear any different/better level of morality/conscience (or memory) out of him than we have(n't) out of Martyn Brown....
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