Thursday, March 03, 2011
Special Prosecutor Appointments in B.C. Intended Deceits? ... BC Rail ...
By Robin Mathews
March 3, 2011
A letter to Richard Peck QC. [Sent by email and by regular Postal Service mailing.]
XXX Salsbury Drive,
Vancouver, B.C. V5L XXX,
March 2, 2011
Richard C. C. Peck QC,
744 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1A5
Dear Mr. Peck:
The question of your appointment to review the Report made by Mr. Justice Braidwood last June on the death of Robert Dziekanski on October 18, 2007 is the subject of this letter. You were appointed more than eight months ago. Press notices informed the public that you were invited to reassess the Crown’s decision not to lay charges in the matter.
I believe the fact that you were appointed Special Prosecutor may, perhaps, be an unfortunate route that was taken. The process of the appointment of Special Prosecutors in British Columbia is – in my respectful opinion – soiled almost beyond repair … so much so that merely to be appointed by that process might not add to the lustre and reputation of even the most respected of counsel.
You have long experience with Wally Oppal. You were, I believe, a part of the large Inquiry he did into policing many years ago. At that time I missed meeting you. Urged on by a young lawyer who knew I had witnessed wholly unnecessary police brutality, I made a short written report (against my wishes). In consultation with you, apparently, the young lawyer urged me to be interviewed by Mr. Oppal on the matter. I did not wish to do so. He assured me that you would be present, as would the secretary for the Commission, with Mr. Oppal.
I took an afternoon and arrived at the appointed hour, to sit some time before being noticed. Then, finally, Mr. Oppal came out, invited me into his office. He was alone. He obviously didn’t want to talk to me, and he brusquely saw me from his office in the space of a few short moments … as soon as he could. He did not ask me a single question about the experience that brought me to his office. You were not there. Perhaps it was desirable to have a list of people ‘interviewed’ in order to help give the final Report substance. You would be able to answer that “perhaps”. I could see no other reason for me to waste an afternoon.
You know, maybe better than most, that as Attorney General, Wally Oppal made mincemeat of the process of Special Prosecutorial appointment, travelling through two appointments before getting to Terrence Robertson on the Bountiful Bigamy matter – and then to have Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein stop the court action … declaring that Special Prosecutor shopping had been engaged in by the Attorney General. Further action on the matter ensued to Wally Oppal’s discredit. No one has asked how Terrence Robertson could have made such a serious mistake…. Questions about the Special Prosecutorial appointment system in British Columbia simply are not asked – even by those deemed to be the most prestigious and responsible lawyers in the province.
The outcome of that quite startling end to the (Bountiful Bigamy) trial eventuated in Wally Oppal being appointed to a ‘plum’ position in the ‘downtown East End murdered women’ matter, and Terrence Robertson being appointed Special Prosecutor in the matter of Kash Heed. Peter Wilson has been appointed new Special Prosecutor in the Kash Heed matter, after some dissatisfaction was shown at the results of Mr. Robertson’s appointment (to put the matter mildly).
Mr. Wilson has been appointed almost as long as you have been.
When it came to my attention that William Berardino QC was appointed Special Prosecutor in the BC Rail Scandal matters by the agency of the Attorney General’s ministry in which Geoff Plant, Attorney General, and Allan Seckel, Deputy Attorney General had been long-time partners and colleagues of Mr. Berardino, I was surprised. The legislation covering the appointment process was violated.
I will not tire you with a rehearsal of response, except to say the Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. refused to act (one being the judge on the case); as did the assistant deputy Attorney General, the Attorney General, the Canadian Judicial Council, and Mr. Stephen Owen, appointed (I believe in a conflict of interest) by Attorney General Michael de Jong to “Review” the appointments process. By silence, equivocation, or disinformation all refused to undertake their responsibilities in the matter.
The ending of the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial – I think it may be suggested – is not an ending over which any Special Prosecutor should be pleased to have presided. As an ordinary British Columbian I was offended and insulted by it and – among many others - deeply concerned for the administration of justice in Canada.
It is in that milieu – whether you like it or not – that you have been appointed and have accepted appointment as a Special Prosecutor to consider whether the Crown’s decision not to press charges in the Dziekanski matter was an appropriate decision.
With respect I have to say to you that – until the Special Prosecutor process is completely examined, exposed, and reconstructed – no decision by a Special Prosecutor in British Columbia can have – in my eyes – anything but wholly accidental legitimacy. I make that point in one way or another whenever I write on the subject. And I will continue to do so.
The Robert Dziekanski matter is the subject of this letter, as I wrote at the beginning. When do you intend to submit your Report? How much, precisely, are the taxpayers of British Columbia paying you as Special Prosecutor? Is it at your own discretion when – if ever – you complete your Report on the matter? Does your mandate cover investigation of the actions of the RCMP Deputy Commissioner, or are the actions of the top officer considered unrelated to the actions of junior officers in this matter? Have you interviewed him in any way concerning the Braidwood Report?