Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Michael Smyth: Dobell's prints now all over a very sticky pie

Will premier's right hand cause case to collapse?

Michael Smyth
The Province - May 13, 2008

Ken Dobell, Premier Gordon Campbell's right-hand man and most trusted adviser, has become legendary for his attitude toward the rules of public conduct. {Snip} ...

Now we discover Dobell was dipping his busy little fingers in the stickiest political pie of them all -- the B.C. Rail corruption case.

Three former senior government insiders are charged with accepting bribes, influence-peddling and money-laundering in the Campbell government's $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail to CN Rail. The trial, postponed many times, is finally set for later this year. [I have asked Michael to confirm this. - BC Mary]

Why has the case taken so long? The main reason is the legal wrangling over evidence seized by the police in their famous 2003 legislature raid.

That day, the cops hauled away dozens of boxes of evidence and computer hard drives, including many cabinet documents about the B.C. Rail deal. Cabinet documents are held in strict secrecy, known as "cabinet privilege."

To protect the integrity of the evidence and the police investigation, the courts set up a special protocol to review the documents for cabinet-privilege concerns.

All the evidence was sealed in a locked room and only four people were allowed to look at it. All four had to sign an agreement to secrecy.

Last week, the NDP Opposition released new records in the case showing that (guess who?!) Ken Dobell stuck his nose into the process back in 2004 and reviewed three crucial cabinet documents in the case.

The government is shrugging this off because Dobell waived any cabinet privilege over the documents, which were then released to police.

But that's not the point. The point is Dobell was not covered by the original evidence-vetting protocol. He did not sign an agreement not to talk about the evidence with others.

Ken Dobell should not have been anywhere near the evidence in this case and you can bet defence lawyers will now jump all over this and say the investigation is tainted and the case should be thrown out.

This is an extremely troubling development for anyone who wants to see the truth finally emerge. That should include everyone in this province. [Yes, Michael, WooHoo!! - BC Mary in the peanut gallery]

The three documents Dobell got involved with go to the heart of the B.C. Rail scandal. The police wanted to use the documents to interview former cabinet ministers Gary Collins and Judith Reid.

Curiously, within weeks of Dobell seeing these secret documents and knowing why the police wanted to talk to Collins about them, Collins announced he was quitting politics. You think the defence won't be raising that little coincidence? Think again.

Sadly, I'm sure there are people in the government secretly happy about all this. They would like to see the case collapse rather than have dirty laundry strung on the line before the next election.

I only hope Justice Elizabeth Bennett can work through the government's bungled handling of the evidence and ensure the case goes forward. The public deserves the truth.



Say what you like about CanWest's general performance, this particular column is a good piece of journalism. Sure it's a bit late. Sure the media should've been the ones to get those court transcripts long ago, but at least Michael doesn't insult the NDP Opposition (which did get the transcripts, sorted and grouped them, then made them available to the public online). So, in the crazy world we inhabit these days, Michael Smyth deserves many bouquets for coming through with a fair analysis like this. - BC Mary.


Express Collision Shop Said,

From the "Sneaking out the Back Door Files"

Emails from George Copeley to Elizabeth Macmillan regarding the Defenses application for production of documents in possession of government not seized from the leg. June 2007.page 215 from Sue Filion's second affidavit

An issue of custody and control arises with a number of named persons. Putting aside relevance, the Provincial Government cannot be ordered by the Court to produce documents over which it does not have custody or control. Without going into extensive detail, the Provincial Government would not have custody or control of documents possessed by the following persons:

(1) Former Minister Gary Collins, Colin Hansen, Judith Reid, Geoff Plant, insofar as the application seeks documents from them personally rather than their ministerial officers.
(2) Former officials, Joy Illington, Brenda Eaton, Ken Dobell, etc. insofar etc
(3) MLA's current and former Speakers of the House, Clerk of the House, Caucus Committee all of whom are the responsibility of the speaker.
(4) BC Rail
(5) Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner

This email had me wondering how much homework ministers and government workers are allowed to take home and if only this application took place three years earlier. Is Ken Dobell allowed to comment on this trial? Ken seems to be the only one commenting on this trial from the gov and ex gov types and/or is he just a lobbyist(content consultant) now?
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