Friday, December 16, 2011
B.C. Chief Justice. Playing to the Gallery.
Special to The Legislature Raids, December 16, 2011
There is much to laugh about in the politics of B.C. (when one is not crying). Keith Fraser of the Vancouver Province has just filed a story reporting that the Chief Justice of the B.C. Supreme Court has made a bold move.
Robert Bauman has ordered that newspaper ads be run to attempt to locate people who have received the kind of special pay-off received by Dave Basi and Bobby Virk at the end of the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial.
Bauman’s bold move on behalf of justice and clarity is – to be generous to the Chief Justice – too, too little, too, too late, and almost, but not quite, laughable. Not quite, because the Auditor General who has asked for the ads is really trying to do his job well.
We know – don’t we – that then Attorney General Michael de Jong set up (in 2010) a feather-weight review of the appointment process for hiring “Special Crown Prosecutors” – the (mostly) boys who would manipulate what the court chooses to call the “special indemnities” paid to accused in apparent contradiction of policies not to pay legal fees (of those mostly in or connected to government) when declared guilty.
Out of nowhere, Michael de Jong wanted the feather-weight review. Was he aware that his government was being closed in upon – and might get caught…?
We know – don’t we – that with the assent of Leonard Krog, NDP Attorney General critic and Mike Farnsworth, NDP Solicitor General critic, feather-weight reviewer Stephen Owen found the process for appointing Special Prosecutors as pure and sweet as a spring breeze over Skaha Lake. Lovely. Well run. Fine. Great. Fastidious. Praiseworthy. But there is reason to believe the process has been used to appoint people who will work against justice and clarity, to cover-up for powerful people allied to the Liberal government of B.C. A real investigation of the process to appoint “the boys in the golden circle” as Special Prosecutors still needs to be done.
We know Wally Oppal was caught misusing the process. The trial he pushed into operation against the alleged bigamists of Bountiful was tossed out of court and killed on the spot because of the wrongful actions of the former Supreme Court appeals judge and Attorney General, Wally Oppal. Maybe Oppal didn’t know the rules. I mean we have to be fair to him, don’t we. But then the accused in the case went to court – and Oppal was named in the wrong. Maybe he didn’t know the rules….
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C., Robert Bauman, on the other hand, was told twice, formally, that the Special Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, and Basi case was appointed in violation of the legislation setting up the position of Special Prosecutor. Not only was William Berardino appointed in violation of the legislation, but in violation Big Time, as they say.
Special Prosecutors are not supposed to have any relation with cabinet members, police, civil servants and their like when taking a case that even might relate to them. Special Prosecutors are not supposed to have any relation that would lead even to a perception of bias. They don’t have to have proved bias. They just have to look like they might SEEM to be biased, and then they can’t be appointed.
William Berardino was appointed to the case in 2003 when he had not long since been partner and colleague of appointing Attorney General Geoff Plant for seven years and of appointing Deputy Attorney General Allan P. Seckel for eleven years.
The Basi, Virk, and Basi case was anchored in the activities of the Gordon Campbell/Christy Clark cabinet. Major civil servants were involved in the whole baroque structure of deceit which corruptly transferred BC Rail to the CNR. The Special Prosecutor appointed should have had no relation to anyone anywhere near those people. But he was appointed by a ministry containing a member of cabinet and a top civil servant – both of whom had been in long, close association with him.
When that information was revealed, I wrote to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C., Robert Bauman, the Associate Chief Justice, and the judge on the Basi, Virk, and Basi case and, formally, informed them of the matter. They refused to act. They DID NOT SAY I was wrong. And so I wrote to them again, formally. They refused to act. They DID NOT SAY I was wrong.
Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie – knowing William Berardino was wrongly appointed, and knowing that his wrongful appointment made the trial illegitmate – refused to do anything and permitted the trial to go on. They permitted, I insist, an illegitmate trial – which they knew to be illegitmate – to continue.
Think about that.
When is was ALL over, and when two of the accused admitted kinds of guilt, and when all their legal and court costs were paid by the taxpayer, the Auditor General of B.C. began to ask questions. He even had to go to court to force answers from the Christy Clark wedge of the BC Rail Scandal.
And now he wants to know more – he wants to know what is going on in the internal machinery of the Special Prosecutor process. He wants to know everyone else who received the kind of treatment over payments of legal costs that Dave Basi and Bobby Virk received at the end of the illegitimate trial that was illegitimate because the Special Prosecutor in the case was appointed in violation of the legislation governing appointments.
No one is asking to have the legitimacy of William Berardino’s appointment investigated.
Within his powers to oversee expenditures, the Auditor General of B.C. wants to know how the taxpayers’ money is being spent in matters that relate to the appointment of Special Prosecutors AND to people who have found themselves in a like situation as Dave Basi and Bobby Virk have found themselves.
We taxpayers can only wish him the best of luck. And we need to ask, don’t we? why Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Associate Chief Justice (and judge on the trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi), the Honourable Anne MacKenzie, permitted William Berardino to remain Special Crown Prosecutor when they were formally told that he was present in the court illegitimately.
Will anyone ever go to court to get that answer?
Reminder: federally appointed judges rake in pensions equal to 67% of wages after 10 years of service.
It seems that request should at least be on record with the Auditor General's office. I would do it myself as an ordinary citizen, but you are much more knowledgeable about the Special Proscecutor in the BVB/BC Rail case.
Alex Tsakumis might also be someone who could do that, having some specific knowledge about Bernardino. However, he seems to focus his towering anger on Christy Clark almost exclusively, particular his evidence. Also, Mr. Tsakumis is rather vague on Bernardino, admitting that he was in conflict of interest as Special Prosecutor, but that he likes Bernardino personally -- a compromising balancing act, I think.
So you're the only one who I can think of who could/should make the request to the Auditor General to investigate the appointment of Bernardino as special prosecutor.
Finally, special disgust must be reserved for the BC NDP, especially Leonard Krog and Mike Farnworth for their willingness to protect wrong-doing at the highest levels, and playing footsie with Mike de Jong in his whitewash of Bernardino's appointment. This isn't the first or last time the NDP rubber-stamped the Liberals' decisions or stayed quiet in the background.
This is the party that wants to form the next government of BC?!?
People who are putting their faith in the NDP to call a public inquiry will have a rude awakening. The BC NDP have had multiple major opportunities on different issues to prove they aren't as craven and self-serving as other parties but they drop the ball most of the time.
Sadly, I don't believe we can trust the NDP to do the right thing on behalf of the people of BC -- in the BVB/BC Rail matter or any other. They will also work in the interests of their friends and "base" supporters, not in the interests of the public.
I'm in a conundrum. Never voted for Campbell/Liberals -- saw through that deceptive destructive megalomaniac long before he started to get caught out. Had high hopes for the NDP, especially when Horgan emerged as a possible leader, but Dix and Sihota prevailed. Now we're seeing the sad return to the worst of the hard left, who will turn out to be untrustworthy dictators as much as the hard right (Harper) but in different areas.
"Finally, special disgust must be reserved for the BC NDP, especially Leonard Krog and Mike Farnworth for their willingness to protect wrong-doing at the highest levels..."
I wrote an email to NDP leader Adrian Dix, asking why the NDP were so timid in dealing with the Liberals on this issue.
A month went by before I received a form email thanking me for my email and including a list of contacts within the NDP if I had concerns about various issues. There was NO response to the questions I had asked in the email.
I had so hoped that the NDP might dig their collective teeth into this crime. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.
I agree with you. It's appalling that the NDP can't even send a "form email thanking you for your email" ...
they might as well hang signs out saying "Don't vote for us, we can't be bothered to look after the province!"
What is the nature of this BC sickness, anybody know?
The fact that first past the post voting system remains in existence. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will change until this part of our system is reformed in some manner, for example;
In the last federal election with first past the post voting system;
Conservative: 167 NDP: 102 Liberal: 34 Bloc Quebecois: 4 Green: 1
With proportional representation Prime Minister Stephen Harper would have won a minority government, with these seat totals:
Conservative: 122 NDP: 95 Liberal: 59 Bloc Quebecois: 19 Green
Think of it like driving down a highway. We can drive on the left side, the right side, or the middle but it remains the same old road…..