Saturday, September 04, 2010


About the BC Rail Trial Judge, Anne MacKenzie

UBC Alumna Anne MacKenzie first woman promoted to Associate Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court

By: Katie Fedosenko (Arts Undergraduate)

The Honourable Madam Justice Anne W. MacKenzie, BC Supreme Court judge presiding at the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial ... a trial believed by many to be the most important trial in the history of British Columbia.

Recently named Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, UBC BA ’73 and LLB ’77, is a trailblazer in British Columbia Supreme Court.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment of the Honourable Anne W. MacKenzie, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, as Associate Chief Justice on April 23.  She replaces the Honourable Justice Patrick Dohm who served as Associate Chief Justice from 1995-2010 and retired on April 16th. 

Mackenzie is the first woman to be Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the third  person ever to be appointed to Associate Chief Justice in the history of the Supreme Court. Her appointment was effective immediately. 

Majoring in French and studying English Literature and Psychology during her undergraduate years, Associate Chief Justice MacKenzie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1973 followed by a Bachelor of Laws in 1977. 

In 1978, she was called to the British Columbia Bar. In 1990, she was appointed to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, and was elevated to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1996. Her background is criminal law. She has been involved in legal education throughout her career, most recently instructing  a delegation of judges from Guatemala. 

Associate Chief Justice MacKenzie is an active and long-time member of the British Columbia Supreme Court’s Criminal Law Committee, and has served on the Executive Committee of the Court. She has participated regularly in the Court’s annual education programs, trial advocacy and Continuing Legal Education programs.  

She is presiding over the Basi-Virk trial since being named last year to replace B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett.  In addition, she presides over French language trials.

"The court is very pleased," said B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman."I, personally, am very pleased. Madam Justice MacKenzie is the first woman to fill that position." 

The associate chief justice is the second-ranked judge on the province's superior trial court. According to MacKenzie, "The designation Associate means it is the level under the Chief Justice and indicates a position that supports the Chief Justice in his role. It entails sharing many of the duties and functions, such as case assignments to trial judges, a wide variety of administrative functions, and interacting with the British Columbia Bar , Law Society, and government.” 

The Supreme Court of British Columbia is the province's superior trial court. It hears civil and criminal law cases as well as appeals from the Provincial Court of British Columbia. The court consists of ninety-nine justices and thirteen masters who reside throughout British Columbia.
For more information visit Supreme Court of British Columbia.

[Photo courtesy Anne Mackenzie]

Special thanks to "North Van's Grumps" who went searching for the MacKenzie cv and found this for us. I believe the judge is married.  
- BC Mary. 

BC Mary comment: 1 hour after posting this, my post was picked up by INDIA TIMES, as follows:

 The Legislature Raids 1 hour ago
About the BC Rail Trial Judge: Anne MacKenzie

Alumna Anne MacKenzie first woman promoted to Associate Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the appointment of the Honourable Anne W. MacKenzie, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, as Associate... Full Article at The Legislature Raids. [See it HERE as re-posted in India Times.]

So the world is watching ...

Keep this excellent series at your fingertips:

Special Report: Access denied in B.C.'s open court system

Click HERE to see the 4-part series.


Here's a front-page story from the Victoria Times-Colonist that you might like:

"RCMP boss scolds SFU academic
Mountie's missive to criminologist viewed as 'thinly veiled threat'
By Katie DeRosa, Times Colonist September 4, 2010

RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass says his e-mail was in no way intended as a threat to pull financial support from a research program at Simon Fraser University.

In an e-mail obtained by the Times Colonist, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass chastises Robert Gordon, director of Simon Fraser's criminology department, for his comments in the media that RCMP "arrogance" stalled the investigation into serial killer Robert Pickton.

"I would like to suggest that you should be much more careful in speaking on issues where you have no direct personal knowledge or where you may not be getting accurate information fed to you," Bass wrote in the lengthy e-mail sent Aug. 22. That was..."

Read more:
Thanks, CC.

I was thinking that Big Media was showing signs of a more wholesome approach to keeping the public informed of important matters ...

but I do wonder why -- if Bass wrote on Aug 22 -- what took Times Colonist and Vancouver Sun so long (almost 2 weeks) to say something about it??

Well ... better late than never. This is indeed a healthy sign on the part of Big Media. Not so much for Bass.

Like, couldn't he have said "Call me, when you need information ..." or some such thing. Why the fighting stance right from the get-go?

And since when do police throw their weight around, telling universities what they can and cannot say? In my book, universities are where students and their professors explore ideas.
"Why the fighting stance right from the get-go?"

Isn't this the response when you have neither reason, nor right on your side - you just try to bluff your way with B.S. and any intimidation you might have at hand.

Gary Bass certainly has a LOT to answer for - his fingerprints are all over the various RCMP failings in BC, especially the BC Rail Corruption case and it is obvious he can't deal with Robin Mathews in an adult and reasonable manner.

Of course it is/was always difficult to defend lies, ineptitude and collusion.

Too bad the RCMP doesn't pay more than lip service to "le droit."
what I'd call "police state
"The court is very pleased," said B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman."I, personally, am very pleased. Madam Justice MacKenzie is the first woman to fill that position."

Why is the fact that she's a woman being made an issue? Shouldn't this seat be filled by the most competent, knowledgeable, and experienced of they male or female? Bah!
Crazy-making, isn't it Leah?

I thought the previous judge (a woman) was doing OK on the BC Rail Case. And I don't think she wanted to leave the trial before it was brought to a conclusion.

Certainly, in my view, Elizabeth Bennett was "the most competent, knowledgeable, and experienced of people" with regard to the months of pre-trial hearings on that case. She also revealed some welcome concern for the public's need to know what was going on in court.

So why was she booted upstairs? Is it easier to boot somebody if they are a woman? All I know is what we saw in plain view ... Chief Justice Patrick Dohm pushing in at the bench unannounced, pulling rank on Bennett who, for cryin' out loud, was sitting there, supposedly presiding. Then Dohm's surprise announcement that Bennett would be removed and someone else would take over as judge -- his choice. Talk about contempt of court ... !

We did not need a new judge. No reason was given, for appointing a new judge. But that's what we got ... Anne MacKenzie, the woman who thought the BC Rail trial would last only 7 or 8 weeks. Or ... er ... maybe 10 months ... or a year, or something. In other words, she had no clue about the case but was making decisions on it anyway.

I agree, Leah. Competence is the issue, not whether a judge zips up slacks on the left side or on the front.

Elizabeth Bennett said she'd resign from the BC Appeals court and return to BC Supreme Court if she felt that the BC Rail Trial had been damaged by her departure.

Better that Chief Justice Bauman had asked Bennett to do just that.

And while he's at it, Bauman might busy himself by checking out the status of the man we know as the Special Prosecutor. Seems there's a hole big enough to drive a train through, in the appropriateness of that appointment.
She has been involved in legal education throughout her career, most recently instructing a delegation of judges from Guatemala.

Now, wouldn't it be interesting to find out more about those judges and cases they've brought verdicts in and on who, huh?
Mary, I'm not sure we'll ever see "right" done in this case. From investigation to trial, it seems to me this case has been corrupted from the top down.

Expecting the judges appointed by Harper to leave "personalities" out of it is asking too much. I think the recent appointments to the Basi/Virk/BC Rail Trail were appointed for political reasons...not to see the law applied as it should be - to ALL involved.

That includes those with a horrendously bad memory (*cough*)...Can the Justice say "contempt of court?" Obviously not.
In my opinion, considerable benefit has already come to us as a result of this trial.

Witnesses are having to answer for their actions.

Martyn Brown has revealed more than he could have imagine.

That's important.
Yes, "So the world is watching". Those with power are watching to see if they might be in line to do some plundering too I fear.
This comment has been removed by the author.

Yes, I agree 100% that certain readers could have a dubious agenda themselves.

And that's why I worry when too much emphasis is placed (in news reporting, and in these comments) upon how BAD things are ... without including any offsetting news about people or events which stand against the bad things.

I'm fairly sure that "those with power" and/or Organized Crime and their cohorts don't want this trial to happen ... don't want key people giving evidence ... don't want the citizens of this province to know much, if anything, about how BC Rail slid from public ownership into private pockets.

Our job, as citizens, is to make the tragedy of BC Rail widely known ... to demand that the deal with CN be fully opened to public scrutiny ...

There's an image I recall when the BCRail news is gloomy and it seems the naysayers might be correct thinking that "we're doomed, and there's nothing we can do about it." Like hell. I think back to the slim figure of a man standing in the path of a massive tank entering Tianenmen Square, China. Stopping the tank. And the slim young man climbing up and talking to the tank captain ...

Don't anybody bother telling me that he did no good and that events steamrollered him ... because he did a world of good in that one brief moment - by reminding the world that brutality can be stopped in its tracks, if people care enough.

We have this BC Rail opportunity before us, within our grasp. Making our decent concerns widely known should be a piece o'cake in comparison to Tianenmen Square.
re Tiananmen Square, I wouldn't rule out the tanks yet; those of us with long memories remember Bill Bennett's threats of the use of force to put down the General Strike impending in the fall of '83....and there's what went down in the '30s - effectively martial law for three years or so....
Mary, you are a beacon of strength, determination and virtue in our darker moments.

Thanks for bringing the image of the man in Tianenmen Square back to the present. He should be honoured every year as a symbol of all that is good and decent in human beings.

His stand (in front of a long line of huge tanks) on that May 4th (?) day several decades ago is a perfect image for us here and now. People in BC should have no doubt that we are being steam-rollered (bull-dozed) in so massive a way that it will devastate our society and our region for generations to come. In it's way, it may be even more devastating than a line of tanks.

It's important that each of us take strength from one another when we are feeling overwhelmed, something that happens to most human beings from time to time. But, here's a key point. Perseverance is the single greatest indicator of likely success in any venture. That, and strength in numbers (as Vander Zalm well knows).

Mary, you are a wonderful source of strength to so many people. A shining light illuminating one stinking mess of betrayal by the "pillars" of BC society. Thanks for your insight, perseverance, and radiant on-line presence.

Your posting made my day.
Canadian Canary,

And your comment has made my day!

Bless you.
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