Last Friday the mock trial known as the Basi/Virk or BC Rail Trial, took a turn to the even more weird. Perhaps it's all the coverage the trial has been getting lately. Canned Waste has actually mentioned it once or twice in their parakeet litter they will deliver to your house. Neal Hall reported on these strange events for the Sun and Times-Colonist:
A pre-trial hearing involving two former B.C. government aides accused of corruption heard Friday about a mysterious in-camera hearing scheduled for next month that would not only exclude the media and the public but also defence lawyers.
Special prosecutor Bill Berardino suggested to the trial judge that a two-day in-camera hearing be held Dec. 3.
The media has to be notified," B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett suggested to the special prosecutor, who passed up to the judge a previous court ruling and asked her to read three paragraphs.
Justice Bennett quickly expressed her familiarity with the ruling, which was not cited in the courtroom. Then Kevin McCollough, for the defence, expressed his surprise that they would be excluded from this testimony. I don't blame him, as to me it sounds like something from the "Military Commissions" held (or that have been attempted) at Guantanamo Bay for "enemy (non-person) combatants." The dialog continued, roughly:
McCullough: "You're going to be hearing from me on that issue,"
Berardino tries to interject....
Justice Bennett: "Don't say anything more."
McCullough: (We)"think we've figured it out" (the reason....for an in-camera hearing)
Justice Bennett:"Don't say more."
This strange hearing has received some attention in the so-called press, though I haven't seen any mention of it on GlowBall TeeVee. I must admit, though, that I don't watch all the GlowBall TeeVee that I could, so I could have missed a mention. Over at BC Mary's blog, Bill Tieleman's blog and the Tyee however, there has been a lot of speculation about the court ruling referred to and the identity of the super secret witnesses. The guesses range from ole Gordo hisself, to the Ferret, to Duncan and Young (the bribers in the ALR case involving Basi near Sooke) and even the Spidermannnn with too many N's to keep track of. Then again, judging by many people's interpretation of the ruling cited (well kinda cited) it may be some turned drug dealer from the beginning of the Project EveryWhichWay that led into the offices of Gordo's cabinet.
Later on Kevin McCullough said:
"The Bornmann emails are out of this world, There are thousands of them...How these emails weren't disclosed before June 4, 2007, may have to be dealt with."
Maybe you just explained it Kevin. If the emails were "out of this world," perhaps the Special Prosecutor had to call in a couple of favors and get the assistance of NASA and the Canadarm to retrieve them.
In any event, proceedings are scheduled to continue next Monday morning, December 3, 2007. Of course they might be too "super secret" for even the defence counsel to know about, much less us, unwashed rabble.
I posted the above, went for a brief walk and when I returned an article from Robin Matthews was in my inbox. This article will be published complete in the ViveLeCanada (link above right) soon. Robin has a few questions that have also been troubling me of late so I thought I would add them here.
Researching, writing, attending court hearings on the criminal accusations arising out of the scandalous, corrupt sale of B.C. Rail by the Gordon Campbell cabinet, I have been forced to ask myself alarming questions.
- Was the Special Crown Prosecutor chosen impartially?
- Was the RCMP ordered (by whom?) to restrict investigations and to protect cabinet ministers?
- Was the RCMP instructed to limit the number of people against whom charges were laid to the three lower level cabinet aides?
- Did the RCMP "connect" to top political figures and communicate investigative information to them?
- Is "the Crown", and is the RCMP, and is the Gordon Campbell cabinet deliberately impeding the conduct of the process leading to trial?
- Have judges connected to the scandal unnecessarily withheld information on the public record from the public? And if so, why?
- Has Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, presiding judge, competently and forcefully asserted the needs of justice in the matter?
- Has Madam Justice Elisabeth Bennett permitted slovenly reporting of evidence, unnecessary delay, inadequate framing of charges and an inadequate range of investigation?
Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the people of British Columbia deserve HONEST answers to the questions above, and that is just for starters.
Also Professor Matthews has sent a letter to Justice Bennett (and other relevant members of the legal community asking to appear on Monday to contest the request/application for "super secret" hearings.
I have decided - all of those matters considered carefully - to present to you by means of this letter FORMAL REQUEST to appear, with full and equal status, in your court on December 3 to argue against the request (or application) by Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino to gain your consent to hear in secret (in camera) certain witnesses appearing in the criminal fraud and breach of trust trial of Basi, Virk, and Basi.
I do not want to be instructed to "hire a lawyer". I do not want to be told about forms to fill out, depositions to prepare, or other. I am making, with deepest respect, a simple, straightforward request requiring a simple, straightforward reply.
Theoretically our interests as citizens of BC are looked after by the court and Justice System. The way things are today in BC, and North America, I, for one, would feel better if I knew Robin was there to see if indeed that was the case. If Robin's request is refused, I would certainly like to hear a rational reason for such an exclusion. By the way, the fact that somebody higher up the food chain than Basi or Virk could be implicated, doesn't cut it as an explanation and is unacceptable as an excuse.
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