One of the crime scenes

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Never on a Friday

What's going on in the world of justice? Apparently the four day week has become the norm. This week two fairly significant trials got underway, the Libby trial in Washington DC and the Pickton trial in New Westminister. Both trials went all the way from Monday through Thursday. I don't want to seem mean or demanding, but when did Friday become part of the weekend?

From this observer's vantage point justice is a commodity that is becoming further out of reach, especially to the average person, almost weekly. Let's just reflect upon the way the so-called Liberal government closed numerous courtrooms shortly after becoming king for how ever long they can avoid going to jail themselves. In a jurisdiction (namely the province of BC) with a growing population, how can one justify reducing the venues for the people to seek justice?

The above doesn't even take into consideration the article by Ian Mulgrew that BC Mary points us to decrying the complexity of legal proceedings today. As BC Mary links to here
perhaps the whole system has just become too complicated to work.

Ian Mulgrew the Vancouver Sun that it's the Canadian legal system, not just Willy Pickton, on trial. He says that the guilt or innocence of Pickton is not the only question to be answered ... that "systemic, structural reforms have not kept pace with other advances over the last century" ... that "Canada's legal system has not changed significantly from its 19th century roots". It can't handle 21st century crime. I've wondered about that, too ... the documents in the BCRail case totalling over 100,000 and counting.

Nor would a 19th century trial be subjected to 350 journalists obsessed with the shock-value of the Pickton case. My concern is that the Pickton trial may prevent the BC Rail trial from receiving even the minimum of public attention, by flooding the news media with emotional, stomach-churning publicity when the BCRail Trial begins on April 2nd.

Mr. Mulgrew compares the idea of a nineteenth century doctor arriving in a modern operating room to that of a contemporary lawyer appearing in a court of today. It's pretty obvious that the doctor would be much more out of his depth, while the lawyer might actually just grin and say, wow, we've certainly made progress at ruling the world.

I know that people involved in the administration of justice do more than one sees in court, the attorneys for the prosecution and defence and the judges both have duties that take place outside the courtroom. But the thing is, we the people pay for the courtroom to be built, maintained etc. and as one of those people, I don't see why the courtroom can't be put to use at least five or maybe even six days a week. People have to wait so long to go to court that often they die before their case is dealt with.

Of course I guess if your hourly rate is in three figures, you don't really need to work five days a week.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A New Year & Deja Vu
A trial date has been set for the three B.C. Liberal political appointees charged in connection with the police raids on the B.C. legislature more than two years ago.
David Basi, his brother-in-law Robert Virk and his cousin Aneal Basi will go on trial on April 24. They have chosen to be tried by judge alone.

The above is almost today's news but instead it is from the CBC website for January 12, 2006. The rest of the article and pictures of Bobby Virk and Dave (or Udhe, as he is referred to in court documents) Basi can be found here

In fact there was a court hearing in the case yesterday and a date was set for trial. This time the trial is set to begin April 2, that is this year, 2007. We will see I guess. Supposedly this time all parties have agreed to not seek any further delays.

The defense is trying to have the warrants for the original raid (and the resulting evidence) and the wiretap evidence all thrown out. A date was set to look at these issues of March 5. This would be an egregious example of jurispudence by technicality and leave virtually no case and no chance for the people of British Columbia to ever know what was really happening as they were being fleeced of their assets, in this case BC Rail.

Also according to the ever vigilant BC Mary

Defence lawyers will also file another disclosure application on February 26, seeking more information from the Crown.

In a short 20-minute session marked by cooperation between defence lawyers and the special prosecutor, Justice Bennett set March 7 at 9 a.m. for an update on progress on disclosure of evidence in the RCMP Project Room, as granted in a previous hearing.

I fail to understand why the defence would delay for over a month to make application for further disclosure, or is it just part of a delay and procrastinate strategy? If they know they want more information from the crown and trial is coming the day after April Fool's day, why not ask for it now?

So to sort of sum up and re-iterate the current schedule is:

February 26 - Application for further disclosure

March 5 - Charter of Rights challenge of warrants and wiretaps

March 7 - Hearing to update progress on disclosure (project room)

April 2 - The trial scheduled to actually begin

Interestingly, the Public Access Completed Court Lists for January 11 through January 15 takes up 29 pages in .pdf format. Pages 14 through 28 deal exclusively with the Basi/Virk case and issues in that case. This from what was claimed to be a twenty minute, co-operative hearing. It remains to be seen if this proceeding will deliver justice, but there is no question it can certainly generate the paper. Perhaps this whole exercise is an attempt to stimulate the BC pulp industry. These results should be available until about the end of the week (or January 19-20) here.

Hopefully in spite of the attempts to demonize the RCMP as overzealous and the Attorney General making totally inappropriate and prejudicial statements, this trial will go ahead and justice will be served. Ideally as information is revealed it will lead to the true culprits in this criminal enterprise and I don't think that they are the Basis and Virk. Dave Basi and Bobby Virk didn't have the clout to shape policy or make decisions such as who to give a railroad to for peanuts. They were only the gatekeepers with the ability to manage access to the true players in this ongoing criminal enterprise otherwise referred to by me as the Soup Nazi and his cabinet full of Crackers.

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