One of the crime scenes

Saturday, October 27, 2007

One Justice System for All?
Apparently Not!

Yesterday saw the occurance of yet another pre-trial hearing in what we have come to call the BC Rail Trial. As usual, nothing much actually occurred other than some bloviating served with a dash of bluster, yesterday mainly from Kevin McCullough, counsel for Bob Virk. According to Bill Tieleman (one of only two or three media representatives who consider this "improtant enough" to cover):

....tempers flared as defence lawyers, the Special Prosecutor and even Justice Elizabeth Bennett all expressed frustration at lengthy delays that have stalled the pending trial, which began with a police raid on the BC Legislature on December 28, 2003.

Kevin McCullough,...... told Bennett that current members of Premier Gordon Campbell's government may be affected when the new evidence is examined.

(The prosecution disclosed (or dumped) 25,000 documents on the defence this week, timely response to Justice Bennetts disclosure "order" in June - kc)

"There are certain documents that may have an impact on certain cabinet ministers and we may have to pursue those documents," McCullough said.

Justice Bennett was, or appeared to be, losing patience with the pace of disclosure and with the defence for pointing out the absurdity of waiting until a couple days before court to make 25,000 pages of docs available. Bill goes on to say:

When counsel for the defence suggested it might need more time to prepare its applications in light of the new evidence, Bennett warned that she would not consider moving the planned December 3 date scheduled in court.

"As long as everyone understands we're not moving the December 3 date - if I have to sit here in an empty courtroom myself, the matters are going to be heard" she exclaimed.

I guess Justice Bennett could accomplish as much as has been getting accomplished sitting by herself in the courtroom. But as Robin Matthews, who was also there points out:

Madam Justice Bennett has been slowly coming under question as a part of the delay mechanism. Where are her stern orders? Where are contempt of court charges for procrastinators? Why doesn't she make clear to herself if Crown is delaying - and, if so, take determined steps?

Robin goes on to make some suggestions as to why this might be so, for those reasons just hie thee on over to Robin's report (Courting disaster) from yesterday at Mary's place.

One other interesting note from yesterday's pre-trial event is that BC Rail itself sent a lawyer (Robert Deane of Borden Ladner Gervais)to observe the proceeding. I guess my biggest shock from that is that I didn't realize there even was a BC Rail anymore, or was that guy really representing CN, the RR that couldn't drive on the tracks?

On the Other Hand

In an earlier piece, For the rich and powerful, “Law” (?) . For the others, “Contempt” from the Court. Robin Matthews addressed the uncanny ability of the courts to expedite at hyper warp speed the protection of corporate interests friends of government society from the likes of criminals like Betty Krawczyk and the unfortunate, late Harriett Nahanee. Justice has once again acted with swiftness when it is apparently in the interests of whomever decides what is priority and what is not. In the Valley Voice, published in New Denver (available here soon* - Court Order puts end to Glacier Creek blockade)is the story of swift justice that waits for no man (or woman).

Glacier Creek is a ground zero of the current resistance to the government in Victoria running rampant over the interests of the local populace to support their dreams of privatization and NO local input. At the head of Glacier Creek is the proposed location of the mini (although less mini by the month) Whistler in the wilderness, Jumbo Resort. Also Glacier Creek is part of one of the famous "green" IPPS and is likely to lose up to 80% of its flow if the current plan to divert its water to Howser Creek and then generate power to ship eastward, in spite of the fact that the generation plant would be within very few miles of the grid to the west. Two relatively pristine watersheds, they have been logged, and the whole corridor over Jumbo pass are to be sacrificed so some corporate types can profit from what used to be a resource owned by the people of British Columbia. The corridor will be wiped out to construct the high power transmission lines eastward, even though the current grid is accessible at Marblehead and Meadow Creek.

This court order though mainly has to do with a blockade of a section of forestry road that crosses private land owned by Mick and Gabriela Grabowsky and is a public hazard due to landslide risk thanks to non-existent or poor maintenance by the MOF. The MOF refuses to indemnify the Grabowskys for liability in case of damages or injury from slides, yet insists on the right to have the road open to the public. The Grabowskys have been at their location, raising horses, since 1993 and interestingly never had any problems with forestry or other government departments until Jumbo Resort and the Howser/Glacier Creek IPP became real possibilities. To read more about the Grabowskys, their Rainbow's End Ranch and their battles with the MOF and such go to Eloise Charet's Waterwalk website. A brief excerpt follows, here.

Because of ill-considered actions taken by MoF and its contractors on Grabowskys' private property; because of the danger that the slide area stills poses to road-users and the uncertainty about who is legally liable, and because the promised written document detailing the August 2, 2007 'gentleman's agreement' between MoF and the Grabowskys was never delivered, a decision has been made by the Grabowskys to once again block Glacier Creek Road to all motor vehicle traffic.

On Saturday, October 13, a representative of Purcell Green (sic) Power a "100-page package of documentation and exibits that would be presented to the Supreme Court just three days later, on October 16." As a result the Court Order removing the blockade took effect the next day October 17, at 2:30pm. As Richard Caniell of the Valhalla Wilderness Society who has been trying to assist the Grabowskys put it in the Voice:

...the process was "abusive of the individuals served documents by the power company's wealthy lawyers" and a "particularly bad experience for the Grabowskys"

"Here is a guy, 15kms from the nearest highway, with no electricity or phone, who is given notice at 4 pm on Saturday that he is to be in court in Vancouver on Tuesday morning"

"...the court order not only prohibits anyone from "obstructing, preventing, impeding, restricting or interfering" with the work of the power company, but also from "encouraging, counseling or conspiring with others to obstruct..........etc., with the company's activities on the project land.

"People cannnot even talk to each other about this, and there was no opportunity to defend this in court"

So whom ever is in control of the justice process can apparently speed things up when it suits them, or so it would appear. Oh to see some of this kind of stern and swift justice applied to the BC Rail case, or is it because of who is affected?

But hardly anybody cared when they wanted to destroy the life style of the Gabrowskys, because most people aren't Gabrowskys. Then they decided to mess with the Wilsons, and there were more of them, but I wasn't a Wilson, so I didn't really care.........and so forth.

* October 10 issue is most recent yet posted as of link to Valley Voice in general go here.


Blogger Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for the references to my story online at my blog about the Basi-Virk trial, Koot.

But at the risk of drawing fire myself, I have to say that the cases you reference in comparison to Basi-Virk are really very, very different.

I believe that Basi-Virk should have proceeded some time ago, as you and many others do, but I also know that a contempt charge for violating a court injunction is not only a simple case but also a challenge to the judiciary's authority.

A criminal case with massive wiretaps, surveillance, parliamentary privilege and myriad other issues is extremely complex and that has to be taken into account.

I believe Justice Bennett will push ahead and am impressed with her conduct in court.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 at 6:49:00 PM PDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home