Saturday, January 08, 2011
Mr Justice Saunders said that the public was entitled to expect honest treatment of public funds.
The outrageous special deal for Basi and Virk - UPDATED
By Norm Farrell
Northern Insights - Jan. 7, 2011
A reader pointed us to a recent BBC News report about a British politician convicted of financial fraud. Please compare this legal action to outrageous conduct witnessed in the Basi Virk trial related to BC Rail et al. Ex-Labour MP David Chaytor was jailed for 18 months for fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in expenses. The former MP is now facing a large legal bill for both his defence and the costs of bringing the prosecution against him.
Mr Justice Saunders said that the public was entitled to expect honest treatment of public funds. He said Chaytor could not attract sympathy for having limited means, that these kind of offences are difficult to detect and amounted to a serious breach of public trust:
"MPs are trusted by Parliament to make honest claims and the rules make that abundantly clear. The foreword by the Speaker to the Green Book which sets out the Rules says that ‘Members are responsible for ensuring that their use of allowances is beyond reproach’. It is right that MPs should be trusted. They hold an important position in our constitution. These false claims were made in my judgment in breach of a high degree of trust placed in MPs to only make legitimate claims."
The sentencing guideline in Britain for this level of crime against public trust was two years imprisonment. Chaytor was allowed a 25% reduction for pleading guilty. Had the size of the fraud been larger, the prison term would have been longer. For breach of trust involving £1 million, the guideline is ten years in jail.
Ordinarily in Canada, fraud involving breach of public trust is a very serious offense carrying lengthy terms in custody. The Basi/Virk case resulted in very mild punishment and a $6 million cash payment by the public for the benefit of the convicted men. Additionally, the BC Government released without compensation real estate held as security for defendant's legal costs.
There is a prima facie case that BC Liberals provided Basi and Virk with a sweetheart deal in exchange for guilty pleas that allowed the trial to be ended. The prosecution had hoped to keep government documents out of the hands of defence lawyers but prosecutors lost that issue through rulings from the bench. Many documents were said to be destroyed but, through electronic recovery, these became part of the evidence. With those documents, Basi and Virk might not have proved themselves innocent of wrongdoing but the people directing their actions would have been exposed as well. That is why the Liberals wanted to stop the trial and explains why the defendants were willing to accept a conviction that involved only symbolic punishment.
The rest of this article was written in October. I think it is worth re-reading because this, the largest issue of political corruption in BC history, is still unsettled.
Despite claims this week by mendacious politicians, the Basi/Virk case ended because Liberals deemed the consequences of halting the trial to be less damaging than harm from continued testimony or claimed memory losses by a parade of insiders certain to be embarrassed by indisputable documentary evidence ...
Read on, just click HERE. Excellent.
I want Basi to pay this sum of money back. I am insulted at the irresponsible govt that would cut programs to austistic kids, close schools, cancel surgeries, but line lawyers pockets so one of their henchmen can walk free and be saved harmless for costs, even though guily as sin.
This is an outrage and De Jong is either lying, incompentant, or both.
I've just returned from the funeral of someone I loved dearly and who was the salt of the earth and someone deserving of respect for living a life of honesty, caring for her fellow man, humble and wise. On my trip home I found myself helpless in an avalanche area where the highway was closed for many hours and I was totally at the mercy of fate but given time to think.
I know that most of the people involved in the sale of BC rail and the ensuing trial read these blogs and I would like to say a few words to you.
Whether you were involved in this as a Government employee, RCMP, a Judicial Judge, a minister who's decisions brought us here,a lawyer for either the defense or prosecution or a special prosecutor your life has forever changed. Whatever your accomplishment to this point or whatever your ambitions may be from this point your life has changed forever because of your involvement here. If you were a part of this totally absurd insult to all that is before us then you can no longer ask for or deserve the respect of good people unless you take a stand to make this right. You can no longer enjoy the sleep that comes with doing what is instinctively right. Respect of people and family and your fellow citizens is something you no longer deserve or should expect. If you were one who made a few bucks at taxpayers expense I would say to you now that if you think it worth it then you are beyond hope.
Everybody wants to make this a Basi/Virk issue but the BC Rail issue goes much farther and until we get beyond wearing blinders the truth about BC Rail will never be known.
$6 million will not get back all those programs, not even close. Not even for one of them. What you should be wanting is to get BC Rail back, its couple of hundred million revenues into the provincial treasury and its $2 billion asset.
The $6 million may be considered simply another DBA cost of the giving away of BC Rail to the governing party's main political contributor, CN. Just another hidden cost (well, not so hidden) in the papering-over of the deal to keep the truth from public eyes.
Singling out de Jong only on this - for having to be the fall guy on a deal brokered far above him, no doubt - when the evidence is about to be returned to the Crown (so it may be destroyed) - almost sounds like the line coming from the Christy Clark camp, who are out slagging and defaming their opponents so as to keep the heat off Christy, who was one of the principal wheeler-dealers setting up the BC Rail giveaway but now doesn't want a public inquiry.
Six million? Yeah, at least that much was lost annually to towns along the BC Rail route when passenger service was shut down. Around that much was the cost of a cabinet expansion when Campbell first came to power.
Instead of complaining about the cost of teh buy-out, you should be complaining about the WHY of the buy-out, WHY the trial was shut down, and WHO was going to get exposed if the trial were to prceed.
Carping about only the 6 million and what a cretin Basi is - that's spin doctor talk, meant to pretend that the public only wants that paltry bit of loot, and that they believe it's all Basi's fault. If you're really a concerned citizen, you should show up at the courthouse on Tuesday to try to prevent the return of evidence to the Crown, who have shown their complete ineptitude and dishonesty throughout the case, so that it can be kept for a public inquiry which will fully expose all the criminals of much greater stature, and much greater cost to the public treasury than a mere six million dollars.
Want to get some money back? Take back the salaries of the cabinet ministers and first minister, retroactively, who conducted the public's business dishonestly.
"We want a refund".
Links to this post: