One of the crime scenes

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Another Day,
Another Delay!"
-Mike Farnsworth

Well I thought I was going to have to sue Mr. Farnsworth, NDP public safety critic and today's designated Oppo CourtRoom 54 Monitor, for plagiarism, but then I checked and found that my July 17 headline read "Another Day, & More Delay." Well how many ways can anyone say "more of the same, namely nothing," anyway?

In spite of Justice Bennett's threat a week or two ago that they would stay in session starting today until resolving the ongoing disclosure problems, they adjourned again until tomorrow, at least. According to Neal Hall in the Stunned Vancouver Paper of Record:

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett had a hint of weariness in her voice today after learning the B.C. government has found more than 100 e-mails that were seized during a raid on the legislature more than four years ago

The documents have never been reviewed by the judge to decide whether the e-mails are relevant to a pending trial, slated to begin March 17.

The judge adjourned the matter over to 10 a.m. Tuesday to allow government lawyer George Copley to retrieve about 140 e-mails from Victoria and provide a written summary of each one.

Apparently these emails were "were seized in 2003 from the computers of Dave Basi and Bob Virk" during the original Raid on the Ledge in December of 2003. I guess it would be wildly optimistic and overly demanding to expect them to have been turned over to the defense ALREADY!

I think I'm just going start writing these things the night before. It isn't like there is any reason to expect anything to really, you know.......happen! Then again, I guess I should wait, I may not be able to guess the next EXCUSE!

In Other Legal Matters:
Also according to the Sun:

A six-year battle between the B.C. government and health care workers has ended in a deal that will protect current workers and compensate the thousands thrown out of work by the province, Hospital Employees' Union secretary-business manager Judy Darcy said today. ..../snip

The province was ordered to offer the unions compensation after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the government had no legal right to rip up a contract and overrule the collective bargaining process.

The bolded sections are highlighted by me as the the Sun doesn't seem to emphasize a couple of points that I consider relevant.

1. How arrogant the Campbell Govermment was in the first place to assume that signed contracts weren't binding on them.

2. The fact that this decision by the Supreme Court of Canada was handed down almost one year ago, if I remember correctly.

3. This whole thing has taken SIX years to get to this state of resolution, so maybe Basi, Virk and Basi v. the Queen isn't going so slow after all. It isn't as if we are dealing with people with any RESPECT for the RULE of LAW.

I'm still somewhat surprised that they haven't just gone and changed whatever laws were necessary to invalidate the Supreme Court's decision. I guess it must have been Charter issues and they didn't want to waste a "WithStanding" claim on a special interest group like hospital workers.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another One
Bites the Dust

During the last four years, Bill Tieleman writing in 24 hours and the Tyee, has been the most consistent journalist at covering the glacial progress of the Basi et. al. or B.C. Rail trial. Recently he even suffered the indignity of having his office burgled and messed up/vandalized in an effort by someone to either find information or send a message, or perhaps both. Then over at BC Mary's Legislature Raids blog, Mary posted some musings by three concerned Canadians with the headline -Before police raided the B.C. Legislature, there was time to destroy evidence. Now all of a sudden Mr. T seems to have turned into a concern troll, accusing those who have an interest in the BC Rail/BBV Trial of rushing to conclusions. BC Mary posted Bill's comment regarding the musings of Three Concerned Canadians on her front page and essentially rang the bell for Round Two in what is obviously not a closed discussion.

I must admit that since Bill has been the only journalist/pundit to consistently even pay attention to this issue I find it particularly disappointing to see him take this approach to those who are only exercising their right to hold and express opinions. I also take issue with his claim that these individuals are expressing any kind of CONCLUSIONS. The only way to deal with this will be to act like I am replying to an e-mail. The ">" symbols precede lines of Bill's original offensive (to me) comment.

News, Views and Attitudes

>While I appreciate that the lack of complete information
>and even more importantly, lack of a trial, four years
>after the raid on the BC Legislature is highly frustrating,
>it is critical that the facts be examined before
>conclusions are drawn.

>Unfortunately the Three Concerned Citizens have made
>some errors in their posting here.

>First, the Crown Counsel Act
>is clear about Special Prosecutors
>– they are appointed by the
>Assistant Deputy Attorney General,
>Criminal Justice Branch.
>That lawyer must not be in the employ of the
>Attorney General – i.e. an outside counsel
>is required, as we’ve seen previously.
>The idea that Geoff Plant appointed
>Bill Berardino is therefore wrong.

Who cares who "officially" made the appointment. The more important question is:Whose interests does the appointment serve? Bill is mainly constructing a convenient "straw man" here, that he can later chop into pieces and hopefully convey the impression that he has proven meaningless what the Three Concerned Canadians were saying.

>Secondly, the fact that Bill Berardino and
>Geoff Plant once practiced law in the same
>very large law office before Plant
>went into politics in 1996 – is meaningless.
>Most obviously, if the defence team who have been
>exceptionally vigilant in pointing out the flaws in the
>Special Prosecutor’s approach and that of the RCMP
>investigators thought Berardino was in some conflict,
>they would have filed an objections years ago
>. They have not.

Bill, you're not young enough to convince me you think 1996 was a long time ago and therfore any connection "way back then" is as you put it "meaningless." Hogwash. It is common knowledge that the legal community is an old boys' club, with some token women allowed today, with connections that go back to law school and before.Consider the example of Erik Bornmannnnnnnn, self admitted break and enter artist (tho not in a court of law, perhaps) and tenderer of bribes, though not charged.

As far as the defense filing an objection, who can say that they won't sometime, IF THE CHARADE EVER GETS FAR ENOUGH ALONG. Ol' Bill is kind of an SP in name only anyway, as he hardly bothers to show up.

>Thirdly, David Harris is a law partner
>of Berardino and was
>originally appointed Special Prosecutor,
> with Berardino later taking over.
>Nothing unusual here. Andrea Mackay,
>also with the firm, has taken over
>the case at times in Berardino’s absence.
>It simply seems to mean the firm is
>acting as Special Prosecutor.
>Janet Winteringham, who is not part
>of the firm, is also a senior lawyer
>acting as part of the Special
>Prosecutor team.

You certainly want to harp, and harp on the law firm and its connections or lack of connections. I didn't realize that "firms" were appointed as S.P.s either.

Red Herring on toast anyone?

>Fourthly, the publication of the appointment
>of a Special Prosecutor in the Gazette
>may “delayed if to do so would be
>in the interests of the administration of
>justice.” This makes sense, as media
>immediately begin speculating and
>investigating whenever a Special Prosecutor
>is appointed.

However it doesn't make sense to delay the announcement to everyone EXCEPT the SUSPECTS. Political aides like Basi and Virk don't so much wield power as control access to those who do. Nobody was likely to bribe David Basi to influence a decision that he could make. Perhaps someone said:

" So let's appoint a Special Prosecutor and keep it secret, but let's let the suspects like gordo and Gary the Ferret et. al. know in advance, just in case there is any embarrassing paperwork laying around. Oh yeah before I forget, let's call that surveillance off on the Finance Minister."

Then again, perhaps not!

>Lastly, the Three Citizens write:
>“Look: There was time.
>There was a motive.
>There was opportunity.
>There was a team. There was
>the quietness of the Legislature at
>Christmas when many people were
>off duty.”I’m sorry but the
>idea that a group of politicians and
>political staff subverted the course
>of justice by sneaking around in
>balaclavas shredding evidence and
>no one to this day found
>it simply beggars the imagination!

You think this is "unimaginable?" BTW Bill, if indeed "no one to this day (has) found it (the evidence)" that would indicate that the shredding (if any) was successful. It's difficult enough to get information that hasn't be lost, shredded or misplaced as you can attest from the success (or lack of same) of your Requests for Information under Freedom of Information legislation. And where did the guys in balaclavas come from Bill, your imagination, or are you not sharing some information with us?

This government hasn't been particularly known for its respect for the law and the justice system as a whole. This is illustrated by their court squabble with their own Crown Attorneys, their slashing of the poor's access to legal representation, closing of courthouses across the province and their repeated refusal to abide by court decisions that go against their policies. When condemned by the UN itself, the Campbell & Cronies response is "Who are the UN, they ain't the boss of me!"

>The real “conspiracy” if there is
>one is that the defence has been
> consistently frustrated in
>receiving evidence that
>truly exists and is in police files;
>that documents were
>marked by RCMP “do not disclose”;
>that 100,000 pages or
>more of evidence has been produced,
>swamping the defence in
>paper; that the RCMP has a series
>of conflicts of interest
>to explain on the stand in
>front of Justice Elizabeth
>Bennett; that key political figures
>have to explain their
>actions in a court of law regarding
>the $1 billion privatization of
>BC Rail and much, much more.

Bill, are you suggesting that "only" what you can imagine, or list above rises to the level of "conspiracy" or wrongdoing? I agree that each thing you describe above is a problem and requires further investigation and explanation. However I refuse to accept your arbitrary limits on the degree and/or amount of wrongdoing this government "may" be found to have committed. The whole purpose of "shredding" paperwork is to cause it to cease to exist. You should remember that it is extremely difficult to prove a negative or the existence of that which has been destroyed. Are you saying the lack of a pile of paper shreds proves no shredding occurred?

>Allegations of shadowy men in a
>shadowy Legislature shredding
>documents and Special Prosecutors
>who are connected to government
>figures are not helpful to figuring
>out what happened.

So Bill, did you just wake up like the fellow in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and discover you were turning into a concern troll?

The government tries to keep everything secret, the media aids and abets in this effort and the court system seems to be stalled at the discovery phase perhaps forever. Of course I guess you don't want to put your access at risk, or were there even more serious threats made in the course of your "break in?"

I think everyone has the right to speculate about this. Until someone, the government, the media or the courts provide some facts, speculation is all there is and you debase yourself and insult us, by trying to belittle everyone's speculations.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Who could have guessed, but according to Neal Hall, who apparently was actually there, writing in the Vancouver Sun

The pre-trial proceedings involving three former B.C. government aides accused of corruption has been adjourned until Jan. 28.

The matter was briefly in court Monday, when B.C. Supreme Court Justice " blah, blah, blah, etc.....snip

...."The defence position is the documents should be disclosed because the judge has found that they were relevant to the case."

The most interesting statement to this observer was that also according to Mr. Hall, Justice Bennett, who has convened these parties for twenty minutes here, five minutes there, countless times in the early part of this millennium, apparently told everybody to be ready on January 28, because:

....she is prepared to "sit as long as we need to" on Jan. 28 and 29 to resolve all the disclosure issues before the trial starts.

In other words bring sandwiches and sleeping bags gang. Well, maybe I'm reading too much into her statement. She has often said how seriously the court takes these issues and how forthwith she expects them to be addressed - generally just before adjourning again for a week or a month or more.

Somebody is showing contempt for the court in my opinion, perhaps they could be kept overnight in lockup to help encourage progress in dealing with these issues. I doubt if I would be allowed to withhold documents and otherwise obstruct the progress of a criminal case for four years without getting to stay at the crowbar B & B.

NDP Justice Critic Leonard Krog had this to say.

"The government's position asserting solicitor-client privilege I don't find acceptable,

The taxpayers paid for those legal opinions. Claiming solicitor-client privilege is ridiculous at this stage."

If the Campbell Government has nothing to hide, why are they hiding stuff?

To belabor the obvious:

He with nothing to hide,

Has nothing to hide.

Oh yeah, it was also a bit of a surprise to see this covered the next morning in the Vancouver Sun. It's almost like a real anyway.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Basi, Virk AND...
Mr."Limited Access"

Who'd a thunk, but the BC Rail trial is happening this morning down by Robson Square. Just what is happening, if anything and if any "real" media will illuminate the people of our province about it is too mysterious to predict. I thought I would reproduce the original charges that (supposedly) are the reason for these semi- frequent brief get togethers at the courthouse, and then even they began to look strange.

Vancouver Law Courts, January 14, 2008 Case 23299-1
Click to Enlarge Table
Three government aides were originally charged in this case, Aneal Basi, Bobby Virk and David Basi, the most senior (we were told) of the aides, the Pat Brady to Finance Minister Gary "Ferret" Collins' Roy Rogers. But today we just have the hapless Bobby Virk and cousin Aneal mentioned and the rest of the seven plus pages of charges and motions etc. are all to do with that mysterious character "Limited Access." Perhaps Mr. Dave has legally changed his name to "Limited Access," I must admit, I don't subject myself to enough Canned Waste publications to keep up to date on name change announcements.

It could simply be a mistake, I guess even JC Assist could commit human error, perhaps even more than if they were a part of government doing the government's work. Either way it is being done at PUBLIC expense, don't delude yourselves about that for even a nanosecond. I've discovered proceedings in this case "accidentally" published on the wrong courthouse page, which in itself was a pretty fortuitous accident. I do have other things to do rather than check the listings for every courthouse in BC, everyday.

Overall I would be willing to suggest that we as citizens of British Columbia are POORLY served by this government AND the loyal (to whom?) opposition AND the press when it comes to being informed about what is happening in our province and to our province.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brand New Year
Same Old, Same Old..

The second pre-trial hearing in the case of HMTQ v. Basi etal. transpired yesterday, kind of. As usual with 7 or 8 pages of issues to deal with the judge, lawyers for both sides and a skiff (a very light dusting) of media/public assembled for a few minutes to adjourn again, due to disclosure problems and/or requests to bar the admission of documents or even the defense lawyers. Sometimes it seems like it would be appropriate to move the proceedings to that lovely facility on the Island of Cuba, where Justice is also dispensed with a style worthy of Franz Kafka. Maybe I will write a boiler plate version to publish on court day, or the day after, something like.

Special Prosecutor (or his stand in) William Berardino and lawyers for Basi, Basi and Virk met (name the date) today for (choose a number) minutes before choose one.
1. The Special Prosecutor submitted an application to have the defense barred from the proceedings.

2. The defense lawyers asked for the (pick a number greater than 12)th time to have documents turned over.

Then Justice Bennett told everyone they would meet again next week and that she would be extremely concerned, maybe even upset(might hold her breath for two minutes?) if somebody didn't comply with one of her requests someday before the Olympics.

Pardon Me, there was something NEW!

The esteemed floor covering preferred by all the most fashionable parakeets, The Vancouver Sun, actually mentioned that this non-hearing kinda took place. Well, in MLA fears corruption trial will be delayed as Victoria resists disclosure Neal Hall did mention that the parties to the case met briefly.

The matter came up in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver briefly Wednesday to deal with the defence trying to gain access to 17 provincial cabinet documents, which the government does not want to disclose, claiming solicitor-client privilege.

Most of the article was about Leonard Krog's observations concerning the delays with this trial and a suggestion that the government itself (my goodness, gracious, do we actually have an opposition this year?) was responsible for the delays. Well, all I can say is Land Sakes Betsy Alive. Mr. Krog, who happens to be the Justice Critic across the House said: (bolding mine)

.....that Premier Gordon Campbell hasn't lived up to his promise to ensure openness and transparency in the criminal case involving senior political aides.

"The premier simply is not walking the talk,"...... "The public has the right to know."

As usual Robin Matthews, who was there, manages to convey the gist of the matter best. Once again the bolding is mine, because I think this part (the bolded part) really gets to the gist of the matter.

Most of the press had been grape-vined, so only three people were in the gallery. Anyhow, the major press appears to be cooperating with the Gordon Campbell government and pretending there's nothing of interest in the most important "trial" in B.C. in the last many years. The major press never asks key questions, and it appears to do what it can to cover them up. Which, in itself, raises all kinds of questions.

Before shutting down in December, slight notice was paid to the attempt by the lawyer for the B.C. government to deny the Defence evidence. That's a pretty picture: the Gordon Campbell government trying to prevent justice being done. Solicitor/client privilege was invoked. Think of it. Acting in the name of the people of B.C., cabinet ministers and top civil servants claim that what they did is a secret between them and their lawyers. Pardon?

Misplaced Concern for Privacy:

The Campbell excuse for government seems to believe that privacy is very important when it comes to what they do in our name - thus the lack of co-operation with defense requests for documents and other evidence relevant to this case. They also put on a big show of their regard for OUR privacy as they APPEAR to put our privacy above even the worthy goals of medical research. As Pamela Fayerman pointed out in yesterday's Vancouver Sun:

Numerous B.C. health studies are not proceeding, languishing on hold or facing long delays because privacy legislation prevents researchers from actively recruiting participants.

A sample of taxpayer-funded studies actually or potentially affected by the legislation include ones on Parkinson's disease, back injuries, prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, and the quality of life and health-care needs of childhood cancer survivors.

Scientists say the problem is a 2003 amendment to the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act prohibiting government from releasing information to scientists for the purpose of contacting individuals about participating in research.

It is difficult to believe that this is the SAME government who decided there was no problem with outsourcing our Medical Billing and Records to Accenture (phoenix like creature risen from the spore of disgraced Andersen Accounting of Enron fame)in the United States, where thanks to the Patriot Act, no assurance of privacy or confidentiality exists. When will the first BC resident be denied entry due to "medical" reasons, or more rationally, when WAS the first, and how often does it happen. If you think this is unreasonable, how would you like to purchase the new bridge heading out of Golden from me? I'm also trying to sell the big Orange Bridge across the West Arm of Kootenay Lake - buy 'em both for a super package price.

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