One of the crime scenes

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another Day
& More Delay!

After six weeks of _________ (holidays? crown diligently finding and providing documentation to the defense? stalling? or maybe your suggestion?) there was a court appearance for some people involved in the BC Rail trial yesterday. According to Robin Matthews (who was there) many folks weren't there, like members of the mainstream media. Robin has an excellent (as usual) post which can be accessed over at BC Mary's blog called Random Notes from Courtroom 53. As Robin points out,

A number of familiar journalists were not present. Is it holiday time in Vancouver or did they get word there'd be little to cover? There was plenty to cover.

If there is a recurrent and underlying theme to this kabuki style trial and Robin's observations about yesterday it would be DELAY. I'm practically certain that if Robin's post was subjected to a word use statistical analysis "delay" would have the highest frequency of usage, after common articles, pronouns and verbs. Just for a bit of the flavor, or a course in how to use delay in sentences (or as the crown appears to be doing, as a legal strategy) may I offer the following examples.......

"Prosecution, again, insisted that mess must be avoided and everything about its delay bore on the necessity to produce clean, clear, certain materials. (That is a little funny in the light of the past record of the Prosecution - the Crown - which, again and again produced incomplete or badly described materials.)"

"Defence was not happy with the Crown's explanation for delay, and it cited letters written over and over to the Crown requesting a schedule to review the Drug files. The Crown made no reply. It was apparently too busy with important work to acknowledge and reply to letters from Defence.On the one hand, Defence is demonstrating to the Court apparent fudging by the Crown. On the other hand, the Crown is perhaps saying "we're in charge here, and we will direct the movement of the process. We, after all, are the Crown."

Whatever the case, the delay in beginning the Drug files Review was a good month."

"Philosophically, the question persists. Are the delays necessary? Defence seems to think they are not."

"For the most part, however, the Crown has been delaying and Defence has been trying to speed things along. Doesn't Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett see that? If she does, she gives no evidence of doing so."

The Lost is Found

Just when I get the milk cartons printed up, it seems our invisible or missing Special Prosecutor reappears, or at least it looks like him. Although it wasn't clear from other coverage that I found, Robin saw Bill or someone who looks just like him in Courtroom 53, yesterday.

And yes, Bill Berardino was there, Bill looked all sleekit and smooth, making only one or two small interventions. But Winteringham carried the can for most of the day.

Meanwhile Darah Hansen of the Sun, who perhaps hasn't even heard of Bill Berardino, much less ever seen him, simply said -
Special prosecutor Janet Winteringham said today the Crown has since delivered most of the oustanding documents ordered by the judge, including four boxes of papers pertaining to the sale of BC Rail, and several witness statements.

Meanwhile neither the Province or the Times-Colonist felt that this day in Room 53 rose to the level of news. Of course we know from previous experience that the editor at the Times-Colonist has high standards for newsworthiness, and doesn't like to waste her readers' time on fluff. The legal story of the day in the T-C was the following, left over from Sunday.

Prosecutor receives award for financial fraud cases
VANCOUVER -- Veteran B.C. prosecutor Peter Stabler has been given an international award to recognize his years handling complex financial fraud cases.


Stabler will be presented the award at the IAFCI annual conference in Toronto at the end of August.

May I respectfully suggest that if Mr. Stabler is such an internationally recognized hot shot on "complex financial fraud cases," that he might be an excellent choice as special prosecutor on the BC Rail/Ledge Raid file. I assume his attendence record is at least as impressive as that of "Milk Carton" Bill Berardino

What's Next?

Even though pages 17 through 30 (inclusive) of the Completed Court Lists for 800 Smithe Street are taken up with BVB stuff, there is very little actual information shared on the Public Access Completed Supreme Court List - in fact for each item on the docket we are informed in the Disposition column that "No Results (are) Entered." By sometime next week, even this information will become no longer available as Court Results are posted for five days at most. The column for next appearance is blank for twelve pages, though I guess you had to be there as between Darah and Robin it appears that the following is what the future holds for this case.

August 21 - Lawyers in case to confer with Justice Bennett by conference call

September 4 - Status Review - Crown supposed to have completed disclosure (ordered June 4)

There is no trial date set at this time (at all)!

I'll end this post with Robin's words........

This is a pre-trial process that - more and more - seems to implicate in deepest suspicion of wrong-doing cabinet officials, RCMP officers, top political Liberals and the government of Gordon Campbell in what may be the highest malfeasance in respect to the corrupt sale of BC Rail. I do not have the slightest doubt that in a matter of such grave importance to justice in Canada and to the proper conduct of public affairs for the population of the country the court has powers to move the action forward and to open it up in ways of fundamental importance.

That does not appear to be happening. (bolding kc)

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