Monday, December 03, 2007
Confirmed: 10:00 AM today December 3 in Vancouver Supreme Court
Case #23299 covers, as usual, the first 6 pages of the Vancouver Supreme Court listings for Monday, December 3, with two additions:
* vacate or vary any and all orders regarding in camera proceedings on December 3 and 4.
* Grant applicants standing to make this application.
Usually this case is identified as #23299-1, #23299-2, and #23299-3 covering Basi, Virk, and Basi. Today there are two additional identifiers: #23299-5 and #23299-6. - BC Mary.
JUDGES DECISION AT 2:00 pm
Public excluded from BC Rail case in-camera hearing
Neal Hall, The Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, December 03, 2007
VANCOUVER - The public was briefly excluded Monday during a rare in-camera hearing at a trial of two former provincial government political aides accused of corruption offences. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett allowed the in-camera hearing, which lasted less than an hour, to hear details from the Crown about why the closed-door hearing was needed.
The judge then opened the court to hear applications from the media, which opposed holding an in-camera hearing.
After the in-camera hearing ended, the judge stated that the issue involves Crown disclosure of documents to determine if privilege is attached.
The media argued that a temporary publication ban should be imposed as an alternative to closing the court to the public.
The judge, who imposed a temporary publication ban on the proceedings, said she will make a ruling at 2 p.m. on the media application.
Outside court, defence lawyer Michael Bolton, representing the accused Dave Basi, said the Crown has advised the defence that the prosecution seeks to exclude the accused and their lawyers while the privilege claim is being heard.
"It goes well beyond an in-camera hearing," the lawyer explained. "It's very, very, very unusual to the point of being almost an unconscionable concept to exclude the accused person from part of his trial."
Bolton added: "It's never a good thing for judicial proceedings to be shrouded in secrecy and censorship."
But the judge is applying the law set by the Supreme Court of Canada, he said.
So far, the pre-trial proceedings have focused on further Crown disclosure of documents related to criminal allegations that the accused accepted benefits in exchange for confidential information.
At the centre of the case is the government's $1 billion privatization sale of BC Rail to Canadian National Railway in 2003.
A police investigation of former government aides Basi and Bob Virk led to a raid on the legislature almost four years ago -- on Dec. 28, 2003.
Basi, 40, a former ministerial assistant to former finance minister Gary Collins, and Virk, 33, a former assistant to then-transportation minister Judith Reid, are charged with accepting a benefit, fraud and breach of trust in relation to the government's sale of BC Rail.
Court documents allege that Basi accepted almost $30,000 from Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, then lobbyists for Denver-Colorado-based OmniTRAX, one of the bidders for BC Rail. It is alleged a portion of the money was passed along to Virk, who also wanted a job with the federal Liberal government.
Basi's cousin, Anneal Basi, a former government communications officer, is also accused of two counts of money laundering.
I guess Vancouver Sun didn't get this on-line as quickly.
The news is much appreciated.