Sunday, September 19, 2010

 

BC Rail Political Corruption Trial: a system in meltdown.

.
Thoughts on the Failing BC Rail Scandal Trial.
 

By Robin Mathews
September 19, 2010

Two prosecution witnesses have appeared in the BC Rail Scandal, Basi, Virk, and Basi trial.  Martyn Brown, Chief of Staff and major political advisor to Gordon Campbell, completed a cross-examination that was so weighted with his inability to deal with (to remember) any serious evidence that even Big Corporate Mainstream Press writers had to comment on the matter.

Now Brian Kenning, director of many companies and recently director and chairman of BC Rail and chairman of its Evaluation [preparation for sale] Committee is in full theatrical mode.  In my last column I listed some (only some) of the things Mr. Kenning couldn’t remember.  Like Martyn Brown, he didn’t deny that conversations, events, took place –  like Martyn Brown he simply couldn’t remember them.  It was long ago, he argues, in the life of a busy man.

In my last column I pointed out what seemed to me to be an almost rehearsed readiness of Mr. Kenning to say he didn’t remember a conversation – ANY conversation – with Bob Virk, (one of the accused), member of the Evaluation Committee, representing the minister of transport.  Since BC Rail was a form of transportation the transport ministry’s member on the Committee would not be insignificant.

The fact that Mr. Virk is one of the accused means that Mr. Kenning has an extra weight upon his shoulders to refresh his memory about any conversations he has had with the accused. Apparently, Mr. Kenning has no memory to refresh.

And, here, we face a very, very serious situation.

No one may say the two witnesses were violating their oaths in which they undertook to tell truth.  No one may say they were engaging in perjury.

But one may say that reasonable and prudent Canadians might well expect different responses from the men.  Recklessly, during Mr. Kenning’s testimony on Thursday, I couldn’t help passing through my mind the possibility that he had been rehearsed in regard to his former relations with Mr. Virk – to forget anything whatever that might bring the two of them into meaningful contact. Of course I knew such a situation, in a decent world, was far, far from the possibility of being believed, even by myself.

And then I remembered that Mr. Berardino, the Special Prosecutor, was wrongfully appointed by a ministry in which the Attorney General (sitting in cabinet with Gordon Campbell) and the Deputy Attorney General had both been his longtime partners and colleagues (and, presumably friends) – and that his appointment, for that reason, was a violation of the legislation under which he was appointed. And one of the important facts about such a wrongful appointment is that it casts suspicion on all of the activities of the court.

I remembered that Mr. Berardino shouldn’t even be in the courtroom. And, since that is the case, reasonable Canadians may reflect upon the idea that he may have been appointed to prevent evidence from being heard. And then I remembered that Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, presiding over the trial, knows that Mr. Berardino was wrongfully appointed – and she seems quite happy with the situation.  At any rate, she does nothing to remedy the unacceptable legal situation.

A person can only marvel at her untenable situation.  Presiding over a court which she knows is illegitimate, she conducts herself as if nothing whatever is amiss.

She is comfortable, witty, and – seemingly – perfectly happy, like a Rhode Island broody hen sitting (unknowing) on a clutch of rotten eggs. Except Associate Chief Justice Anne Mackenzie is not unknowing.

All of that adds up – I believe – to a courtroom situation which cannot be taken seriously, which cannot be granted credibility, which cannot be said to be legitimate, which is simply eating away enormous amounts of public funds … almost, it seems, with a brazen intention to deceive.

Unless the situation is remedied, the so-called “trial” will go on expensively, mounting and mounting in its financial costs, and – more importantly – bringing the administration of justice in British Columbia increasingly into contempt as it becomes increasingly evident that prosecution witnesses, under cross-examination, forget anything of significance – with complete impunity.

And what we have had to suffer so far will continue on … and on … and on … and on.

Witnesses for the prosecution will appear (dozens of them), for days, in court – all with advanced amnesia.  Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie hasn’t turned a hair, so far, at the failure of witnesses under cross-examination to remember a single important fact relating to evidence.  Presumably, she will go on in the same way.

The ladies and gentlemen of the Corporate Press and Media will sit until … 2015 if necessary … content to report tidbits of sleaze and and eye-catching indulgences of the Corporate Rich – without ever bringing public attention to the fact that the trial is illegitimate, that – as it is being conducted now – it is an open, superating wound upon the body of Canadian democracy.

This so-called “trial” as it is presently being conducted is an insult to every Canadian.  Who will intervene to end the torturous travesty of justice?

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BC Mary comment: The stately old Globe and Mail often boasts that Blatchford is a reporter who can "tell it like it is".  She's accurate and fair ... probably at her best when dealing up close with human issues.  In British Columbia, we can say that almost every complaint Blatchford describes here, has been echoed in Vancouver Supreme Court during the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial. But then, when Premier Dalton McGuinty was first elected and seemingly unsure of himself, he stood up on his hind legs and boasted that he was getting along very well with the other premiers ... especially "Gord" Campbell from B.C. Yes, we can see that now.  
So here's Christie Blatchford ...

Justice is blind, and in Ontario, it's also becoming mute

By Christie Blatchford
The Globe and Mail - Sept. 17, 2010

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/christie-blatchford/justice-is-blind-and-in-ontario-its-also-becoming-mute/article1712559/


You won’t know Brendan Crawley, but you should.

Mr. Crawley is a capable and tirelessly polite fellow who works for the Ontario government, and has for ages. He is a spokesman for the Attorney-General’s ministry.

{Snip} ...

Over the years, I have tested Mr. Crawley, to whom all roads lead in the Attorney-General’s department, which is responsible for among other things the criminal courts.

Just this week, I was attempting to find out the name of the Crown attorney who would be handling a double murder trial in Barrie, Ont.

It ought to have been a simple matter – getting the name of a public servant assigned to a public trial.

I phoned several offices within the Barrie courthouse until finally I was referred to Mr. Crawley, who works in Toronto.

I left a blistering message on his voicemail, pointing out that in a supposedly free and open society, this sort of information ought not to be a state secret. I followed up with a more polite e-mail.

He replied in 13 minutes with the name.

“Why on earth can a local courthouse not give out this B.S. minimal information?” I asked. Mr. Crawley replied within four minutes: “I’m not sure why this was not provided sooner. Perhaps there was some legitimate doubt as to who the Crown assigned to this is, so to be safe, you were referred to me,” he said.

“I have some lovely land for sale in Florida too,” I replied.

The last time I unloaded upon Mr. Crawley was a couple of years ago. I was in Ottawa to cover the murder trial of a young offender, and when I asked at the main desk what courtroom it was being held in, an official, and her superior, refused to tell me on the grounds that the Youth Criminal Justice Act protects the identities of young people.

I explained that I knew that, but that what it meant was that young people weren’t to be identified in the paper; it didn’t mean the press couldn’t be directed to the right room.

That time too I left a raging, profane message, and Mr. Crawley soon replied, and put out the fire.

I aim not to praise Mr. Crawley, or for that matter to bury him.

Rather, the point is that the justice system in this province – and in my experience this holds true throughout the country – is this ridiculously secretive.

And that is but the superficial bit of a courts system which is already prone to slapping on publication bans without giving newspaper lawyers proper notice, and is opaque and probably more tightly controlled under the Dalton McGuinty Liberals than anything that alleged conniving control freak of a Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, whose sins God knows are documented up the wazoo, could ever dream up.

What makes it ever worse is the self-satisfaction with which the court system wraps itself even as it is increasingly peopled by nervous Nellies (the better to refer to the likes of official spokesmen) and growing more hidebound.

This week in Toronto, for instance, I was covering the attempted murder trial of a man charged with pushing two teenage boys into the path of a subway train. None of the judge or lawyers wore microphones, there is no amplification of sound in the courtroom, and most of us were straining to hear.

At one point, I finally stood up and begged the judge to speak up.

Another day, a colleague sought permission to copy some of the exhibits; the judge said she would think on it overnight. When she finally gave the okay the following day, the Crown stalled before agreeing – all this in a system which is supposed to be open.

And yet the week before, at the formal “opening of the courts,” chief Ontario judges of the courts at all levels were delivering solemn speeches to their own about how splendidly the justice system and all of them are doing.

In the United States, court records have been available to the public online for a modest fee for years; in much of Canada, paper files are the norm, relegated to musty rooms staffed by suspicious clerks.

As one chief justice said last week, “The pace of change may be perceived, by some, as simply too protracted; but in large and foundational institutions, well-executed progress, not speed, must be the gauge of successful change.”

Give your head a shake, ma’am: How about you start with some bloody microphones so that those you purport to serve can hear you, and maybe, just maybe, once in a while see to it that your folks get their bums to court on time?

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Bill Tieleman says: The schedule of witnesses to be called by the prosecution at the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial remains mostly unknown. The next prosecution witness is expected to be John McLernan, former president of BC Rail.

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What I learned at the BC Rail corruption trial last week

By Ian Reid
Vancouver Observer - Sept. 19, 2010


Excerpt:

... Brian Kenning hogged the limelight the first week back at the BC Rail corruption trial. He deserved every uncomfortable minute.

Until earlier this year Kenning was a political appointee to the board of BC Rail, where he headed the audit committee.  He was also one of two trusted board members asked to sit on the Evaluation Committee that managed the sale of BC Rail for the BC Liberal government.

So what has Brian Kenning been doing for the last nine years?

Well, first of all, he’s been busy forgetting what he knew, except when the Special Prosecutor asked him a question.  Those answers he remembered, but nothing much else. It’s all such a blur.

Something Kenning’s been working hard at forgetting is Gordon Campbell.  Kenning wasn’t appointed by Campbell - nor any politician - never really met the guy, in fact wouldn’t know him if he bumped into him in a gentleman’s club on the French Riviera, martini in hand.  And Kenning has no idea why his firms have donated so much money to the Premier’s party.

Kenning especially doesn’t remember Patrick Kinsella.  No.  Never.  Heard. Of. Him.

But Kenning was working hard those nine years.  He quietly, but thoroughly, watched the expenditures go by.  Each and every decision made by the BC Rail management team was rubber stamped by Mr. Kenning and his audit committee:  Hockey tickets, no-bid contracts to Liberal insiders, airline tickets to Dubai, golf club memberships, big severance packages, bigger salaries to the managers of what was nothing more than a corporate shell – all duly noted and approved.

Kenning also made sure the BC Rail privatization process wasn’t compromised by leaks---except when it was---and then he made sure the process continued, especially if the process favoured the favourite, CN.  Which it did, a lot.

That’s not really fair.  Mr. Kenning made it clear that he was a discriminating man.  He was very concerned about the leaks the Special Prosecutor cares about.  The ones the defence raised?  Not so much.

So it wasn’t Kenning’s fault he didn’t notice that the leak that scuttled the Roberts Bank Spur Line deal in the spring of 2004.  It occurred after the defendants were either fired or placed on leave, so what’s to remember?

Like the previous witness, Martyn Brown, Mr. Kenning seems to have a selective memory. If it’s bad for the government, it’s beyond recall.

And that’s what I actually learned last week at the BC Rail Corruption trial.


Ian Reid's full column is HERE.

http://www.vancouverobserver.com/blogs/politicaljunkie/2010/09/19/what-i-learned-bc-rail-corruption-trial-last-week

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Comments:
Long ago in the first stages of discovery (which was cut short by Madam Justice MacKenzie) I stated that these three "Basi Boys" were being hung out to dry.

Now the thought occurs to me that the reason the discovery portion was dragged out was so the prosecution could get some ducks (like the first two "witnesses") in a row.

And I'm wondering if when the jury retires, is the judge going to mention something about the apparent rampant onslaught of alzhiemers here?
 
I seem to remember, during the four days of Mr. Kenning's testimony, that he said he went back and "refreshed" his memory as to what he had testified the day before.

I wonder where, and from what he is looking at, that allows him to "refresh" his memory.

Typically, when someone is a Board Member, upon their leaving, there's a requirement that all documents be returned to the Board. They're not his property to hang onto, they're the property of BC Rail, even if his name is on the document.
 
Everyone, please read the Globe and Mail's column in the weekend edition by Christie Blatchford. It talks about Ontario, but the same cancer is rampant in BC's justice system, specifically the BC Supreme Court and court administration which is the responsibility of the Attorney General.

I don't believe it is a coincidence that the courts in each province just "happen" to be behaving in the same egregious manner. It is a surreptitious effort by the legal and political elite to fundamentally change our system of governance in our country to strip citizens of any powers or rights, and to concentrate enormous power in the hands of "law-yers" whether they be judges, police officers, court officers or political office holders.

And, they're getting away with it. Here is a portion of it's column, but it deserves a full reading. Or, rather, you owe it to yourself to read it. Well informed is well armed.

JUSTICE IS BLIND, AND IN ONTARIO, IT'S ALSO BECOMING MUTE
Globe and Mail, September 18, 2010
Christie Blatchford

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/christie-blatchford/justice-is-blind-and-in-ontario-its-also-becoming-mute/article1712559/

[SNIP] ...Rather, the point is that the justice system in this province – and in my experience this holds true throughout the country – is this ridiculously secretive.

And that is but the superficial bit of a courts system which is already prone to slapping on publication bans without giving newspaper lawyers proper notice, and is opaque and probably more tightly controlled under the Dalton McGuinty Liberals than anything that alleged conniving control freak of a Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, whose sins God knows are documented up the wazoo, could ever dream up.

What makes it ever worse is the self-satisfaction with which the court system wraps itself even as it is increasingly peopled by nervous Nellies (the better to refer to the likes of official spokesmen) and growing more hidebound.

This week in Toronto, for instance, I was covering the attempted murder trial of a man charged with pushing two teenage boys into the path of a subway train. None of the judge or lawyers wore microphones, there is no amplification of sound in the courtroom, and most of us were straining to hear.

At one point, I finally stood up and begged the judge to speak up.

Another day, a colleague sought permission to copy some of the exhibits; the judge said she would think on it overnight. When she finally gave the okay the following day, the Crown stalled before agreeing – all this in a system which is supposed to be open.

And yet the week before, at the formal “opening of the courts,” chief Ontario judges of the courts at all levels were delivering solemn speeches to their own about how splendidly the justice system and all of them are doing.

In the United States, court records have been available to the public online for a modest fee for years; in much of Canada, paper files are the norm, relegated to musty rooms staffed by suspicious clerks. ... [SNIP]

THANK YOU Christie Blatchford, someone whose columns I don't often read, but will now.
 
Maybe some day these Witnesses will be charged for Pergury like Reyat just was this week for the Air India case. The charge:


"By making orally a false statement under solemn affirmation knowing that the statement was false and with intent to mislead the Court taht He did not know or recall any details of the alleged conspiracy beyong those matters stated,including in particular that(then it lists the 19 times)
Also Globe and Mail.

Also note @ the Beginning of the Trial Judge at Air India perjury trial urges jurors to resist researching Reyat
then
Globe and Mail Sept 16

"Jurors only have to conclude that an Air India bomb-maker lied once out of the 19 occasions the Crown says he was untruthful in order for him to be found guilty of perjury, a judge said Thursday."

"You can convict Reyat if you find only one lie, judge tells jurors"

•Reyat’s evidence defies common sense, perjury trial told"

"Mr. Doust said they must use their common sense in deciding if Mr. Reyat was telling the truth when he repeatedly said “I don't know,” “I don't remember” and “I don't recall” while testifying about matters that would be hard to forget."

"In his instructions, Mr. McEwan said in order to find Mr. Reyat guilty of perjury, jurors must be convinced he knowingly made a false statement with intent to mislead the court."
Mr. Reyat's perjury case is unusual because no witnesses were called and jurors must rely on a recording of his three days of testimony in 2003.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/you-can-convict-reyat-if-you-find-only-one-lie-judge-tells-jurors/article1711135/
 
During the testimony by Mr. Kenning, when questioned by Mr. McCullough as to hired him, he denied that it was Premier Gordon Campbell. He said that he was phoned by Mr. McLernon, and hired by him.

Well, that's not quite right Mr. Kenning, for someone who is as knowledgeable as a Director, and proving to be forgetful, at times, let me "refresh" your memory:

"Board of directors

30 (1) A board of directors for the management of the company's business, consisting of not more than 9 members, may be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, to hold office during pleasure.

(2) The directors must exercise the powers and perform the functions directed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council."

British Columbia Railway Act

http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96036_01#section30


"Lieutenant Governor in Council" aka the "Executive Council" made up of Premier Gordon Campbell's BC Liberal Cabinet.
 
It seems, Judge MacKenzie, is also brain dead, or has been threatened, she will lose her job. It is really amazing, what people are willing to, sell their souls for. Campbell's corrupt sale of the, BC Railroad is being tried, in a corrupt court, by a corrupt judge. That trial is nothing but a farce. Campbell, Hansen and the phony BC Liberal party stand for...Lies, deceit, broken promises, corruption, fraud, theft, a convicted felon, hate, spite, malice, vendetta's, threats. The BC Liberal party, should be dissolved. I think Fadden, of Canadian Intelligence, has very good reason, to watch BC. I for one, am dammed glad he is.
 
I posted about the corruption surfacing in the various police entities yesterday. If I may be so bold...
http://sistersagesmusings.ca/2010/09/18/the-horseman/
 
"As a commercial and competitive Crown corporation, BCRC does not
place any demands on public taxpayer funds. BCRC has not received any direct operating subsidies or grants from the Province since March
31, 1993."

Source:http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2003/sp/crowncorps/bcrail.pdf

This doesn't sound a bit like the dependent company, with its hands outstretched for help, that the Directors claimed that BC Rail was in, does it.

"British Columbia Railway Company Page 5 of 27
Service Plan 2003 - 2005"

The Gateway project isn't included because Gordo hadn't seen it on his horizon, but when it did arrive, the government produced a new mandate which had the Board of Directors taking flight to Hong Kong, Dubai and other points east to compare their company real estate services to the competitors in 2008.
http://bcrco.com/fia2008.pdf

Then there's the new Board of Directors, and their website, which says that they have a "Long-Term Operating Arrangement dated 05-19-06"

http://bcrco.com/operating.pdf

Note to BC Rail Website personnel,

snip

"Since 2007, Vancouver Wharves has been part of Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan Canada Terminals (KMCT) has a long term lease on the property and acquired the Vancouver Wharves assets from BC Rail Corporation."

snip

http://www.kne.com/business/canada/data/2/rec_docs/VW_FactSheet.pdf
 
With all due respect I have to disagree with Dr. Mathews that Mr.Kenning and Martyn Brown cannot and should not be charged with perjury for their unremitting chorus of "I don't recall."

"No one may say the two witnesses were violating their oaths in which they undertook to tell truth. No one may say they were engaging in perjury."

It is interesting too to note that Ian Reid points out that the amnesia seems to clear when the illegitimate Wild Bill Berardino has question - which makes it clear that the amnesia is SELECTIVE!

"Well, first of all, he’s been busy forgetting what he knew, except when the Special Prosecutor asked him a question. Those answers he remembered, but nothing much else."

I don't actually know if the Charter has anything equivalent to the Fifth Amendment, providing protection against self-incrimination. However, even the "Fifth" doesn't allow a witness to protect OTHERS as Martyn Brown and Mr.Kenning are so obviously doing with their selective memories.

Do these people really think the people of British Columbia are that stupid? Well, we (or enough of us) believed the lies of Campbell and company enough to elect them three times - so maybe as a group we are that stupid - Though I never trusted Campbell even when he was mayor of Vancouver, and the degree to which I care about Vancouver is negligible.

Brown and Kenning COULD and SHOULD be charged with perjury, as their testimony is as obviously self-serving and dishonest as Mr.Reyat's. Of course this judge, special prosecutor and trial are completely compromised and corrupt, so lying your face off is accepted practice as long as it serves the Campbell Crime Family (but don't allow your eyebrows to involuntarily rise at the outrage if you are seated at the defence table, because this disreputable court demands to be respected). So they will probably get away with perjury and Campbell and company will get away with breach of the public trust - and this will go on until the last resort is violent rebellion or acceptance of abject slavery.
 
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