Tuesday, September 28, 2010
BC Rail Political Corruption Trial - Sept. 28, 2010
‘Black cloud’ could be hanging over BC Rail case
The Globe and Mail - Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2010
VANCUVER - The wheels of justice are often said to grind slowly, but rarely have they ground as slowly as the excruciating, tortoise-like pace that has befallen British Columbia’s high-stakes, political corruption trial.
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More on than going, proceedings against former Liberal political aides Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi have become a poster child for the catchphrase, “one damn thing after another.”
“You start to wonder whether there’s a black cloud hanging over this case,” said one observer close to the proceedings, after yet another postponement on Monday.
Since opening May 18, the trial, once set for six weeks but now scheduled to run until next March at the earliest, has heard from only two witnesses.
Meanwhile, the trial, itself, did not begin until more than five years after corruption charges were first laid against the accused back in 2005.
This seemingly interminable gestation of a case that reaches high into the ranks of the Liberal government and its controversial decision to sell BC Rail has been manna from heaven for the ruling Liberals.
For years, through elections in 2005 and 2009, Liberal cabinet ministers, from Premier Gordon Campbell on down, have refused to answer a single question about their involvement in the $1-billion BC Rail sale, arguing they can say nothing because the matter is before the courts.
The latest hiccup in proceedings was prompted by Dave Basi falling victim to the flu.
That follows hard on the struggles of last week, when various juror mishaps, including illness and a broken hand, caused the court to stop and start like cars at a traffic light.
The trial was also put on hold for a few days early on to allow Madam Justice Anne MacKenzie to consider the implications, if any, of an unusual incident involving a father of one of the prosecutors, who approached and spoke to two of the jurors.
The judge subsequently instructed jurors to draw no negative influences from the encounter.
There followed a two-month summer break, and long before that, a change in judges, and a two-year fight to resolve a matter before the Supreme Court of Canada.
“You really do start to seriously consider whether this whole thing is cursed,” said political consultant Bill Tieleman, who has covered and blogged about the Basi-Virk case from the beginning.
Long since lost in the distant past is the bold proclamation of then associate chief justice Patrick Dohm who declared the trial would begin on Nov. 28, 2005, “no matter what.”
Read more HERE.
I think I've relayed this comment before, but a friend in Mission said, when I mentioned this whole messy business - "oh yeah, BC Rail, the gift that keeps on giving".
That can be taken two ways; the never-ending peeling away of the onion-layers hiding the truth that seems obvious to all now.....or the idea that CN keeps on getting more and more of the deal, including the right to keep operating even though it's clear by now that the sale was rigged, as was the bidding process.
then BC is generally cursed by this kind of thinking:
Oppal the wrong man for Pickton inquiry
Former attorney general on record as downplaying need for probe
By Lindsay Kines
Times Colonist - Oct 2, 2010
A very thoughtful comment.