One of the crime scenes

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Robin Mathews
Lays it Out!


An Expert Summary of the BC Rail Scandal Fiasco -
What's Left Out. (October 27, 2010)


My friend Bill Tieleman has delivered the piece on
the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial that we’ve been waiting for.
Acknowledged as one of the best-informed observers watching and
prying into the meaning of the BC Rail Scandal, Bill Tieleman’s
wisdom needs to be studied by everyone who cares about British
Columbia. His October 26 article, “Hung Out To Dry” is one of the
best summary articles written to date.

But its flaws are dazzling.

Mr. Tieleman (like all the mainstream press and
media people) studiously avoids a few absolutely central matters –
and the question must ring through anybody’s mind: Why? Why?

Hitting the nail squarely on the head, he writes
that former “BC Liberal ministerial aides Basi and Virk do not
deserve to spend a single day under house arrest, let alone the two
years less a day they were sentenced to last week under a guilty plea
bargain agreement….” They were, he says, “Hung Out to Dry”.

And then he steps away from his statement and turns
to the huge, calamitous, devious doings of Gordon Campbell and
associates.

Nowhere does Mr. Tieleman say there is sound legal
basis to exempt the two men from any charges whatsoever. Under
perfect conditions there may have been reason to charge all three men
– which he does not acknowledge. And, now we’ll never know - a
situation, itself, which creates a gigantic slander of the men.

And – humourously (as well as unfortunately) –
Mr. Tieleman uses Shakespeare’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (two
minor figures in the play HAMLET) as (innocent) parallels to
(innocent) Basi and Virk. Except Mr. Tieleman seems to forget
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are, in effect, hired by the villain of
the play, Claudius, knowingly to accompany Hamlet to England with a
secret letter in their possession instructing Hamlet’s future hosts
to murder him! Nice guys.

The sound basis for disallowing any charges
(which Mr. Tieleman and all the other mainstream press and media
people refuse to mention) is plain. In December 2003, before the
search warrant raids on the legislature offices of Dave Basi and Bob
Virk only (not on any of the offices of the people who gave the two
men orders), a Special Prosecutor was named.

In such a case in which two men (instruments of
government) were to have their offices raided and then, a year later,
were to be charged, the legislation covering the appointment of
Special Prosecutors is unequivocal: the Special Prosecutor must be
visibly independent and unbiased. He or she must have no connection
whatever with the accused. He or she must not have even the potential
to be perceived as being biased.

He or she must have no connection whatever with
elected government officials, civil servants, police or like
persons. And in this case – compellingly – in which the cabinet is
believed to have been deeply involved in the corrupt transfer of BC
Rail to the CNR, the Special Prosecutor should have been chosen from
the 11,000 lawyers in B.C. so that he or she was obviously and
unequivocally clear of any attachment to interested government figures.

But the appointed person, William Berardino QC, had
been for seven years partner and colleague (and, one assumes, friend)
of Geoff Plant, Attorney General in the ministry which appointed him,
directly linked through membership in cabinet to Gordon Campbell and
all senior operatives in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.
William Berardino had been, as well, eleven years partner and
colleague (and, one assumes, friend) of the Deputy Minister in that
same ministry, Allan Seckel.

That was enough to rule out Mr. Berardino,
categorically. But then in the Spring of 2007, Gordon Campbell
entered the pre-trial process, dissolved the working protocol to vet
cabinet documents sought by the Defence counsel, and replaced it with
Allan Seckel, then Deputy Attorney General. Mr. Seckel, Gordon
Campbell said, would consult with the Special Prosecutor, William
Berardino. Mr. Seckel and Mr. Berardino had been partners and
colleagues in private practice for eleven years. Mr. Seckel had
worked on the election campaign of Geoff Plant who became Attorney
General, and not long after that Allan Seckel was appointed Deputy
Attorney General.

The action of Gordon Campbell – entering the
judicial process – stank to high heaven, and underscored the mess
“the Crown” was in.

The Special Prosecutor (1) in the Basi, Virk, and
Basi case was wrongfully appointed in violation of the legislation
governing appointment. (2) Therefore, he could not act. (3) If he
were to act, as he did in the case, the trial had to be illegitimate
– and it was. (4) Since it was illegitimate, the charges which he
organized and placed against the three accused were without legal
force. (5) All of the accused, all three, were, therefore, subjected
to a pre-trial and trial process that was improper and without
validity. (6) And so Basi and Virk “do not deserve to spend a single
day under house arrest, let alone the two years less a day they were
sentenced to last week under a guilty plea bargain agreement ….”

Why won’t Bill Tieleman and the other writers for
the mainstream press and media point that out? It provides
indisputable proof of Mr. Tieleman’s main point.

The whole process from the beginning has - it is
estimated – cost nearly 20 million dollars … almost all of it without
legitimacy because the Special Prosecutor was wrongfully appointed.

My friend Bill Tieleman doesn’t fill in the
canvas. He – and the whole corps of Mainstream Press and Media
people - ignore the fact that the assistant Deputy Attorney General,
the Attorney General, the Chief Justice and Associate Chief Justice
of the B.C. Supreme Court, the government appointed Reviewer of the
Special Prosecutor appointment system, Stephen Owen, and the
investigator for the Canadian Judicial Council - Chief Justice of the
Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench - ALL lied, ducked out, equivocated,
made empty excuses, or refused altogether to acknowledge the fact of
William Berardino’s wrongful appointment.

All of the people from the Mainstream Press and
Media refuse even to refer to the fact that the presiding judge,
Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, was fully informed that the
Special Prosecutor was wrongfully in the courtroom … and she would do
nothing whatever to inform the jury of the fact or to remedy the
situation.

Had the Mainstream Press and Media done their
work fairly on that matter, the whole course of the trial in the last
six months might have been completely different … and much, much
better as far as achieving some measure of justice is concerned. The
Mainstream Press and Media – many observers, I am sure believe -
constitute a major part of the sell-out of justice in the BC Rail
Scandal and the matters involving the three accused men. Their
coverage of the Basi,Virk, and Basi case has been obscene.

There are those who say the role of the
Mainstream Press and Media at the present time is to work for Private
Corporate Capital and to sell out the people of the country. That
seems to be what happened here.

Bill Tieleman is correct in his headline that
says: “Media quick to close the book”. He suggests they closed it
after the trial. They closed it long before the end of the trial, as
I have just shown. Moreover, instead of challenging the police
investigation from the start of the pre-trial hearings four years ago
… the press equivocated, as Mr. Tieleman does in his expert summary.
Even now, he will only write about “the astonishing disregard for
good judgement repeatedly demonstrated by the RCMP”.

The more than three years of pre-trial hearings,
I insist, gave every indication that there should have been a deep
and total RCMP investigation of the major actors in the corrupt
transfer of BC Rail to the CNR – up to and including Gordon Campbell.
I asked RCMP Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass for that investigation …
and he refused.

There still should be that investigation– and the
Mainstream Press and Media refuse to say so. They fail … and fail …
and fail.

The pre-trial hearings, I believe, revealed the
RCMP stalling, delaying, shadow-boxing, giving every indication the
Force was attempting to obstruct the process. I believe that would be
the conclusion of any reasonable and prudent British Columbian
attending.

The aborted “trial” of the three men, which
followed, revealed key actors who hardly dared answer a single direct
question. Martyn Brown and Brian Kenning looked so bad … I believe …
desperation fell upon the Campbell group. I believe that group
decided they had to do almost anything to close up the trial. We know
what happened….

It must be said … and not a single member of the
Mainstream Press and Media will say it. The actions of the RCMP in
the whole matter of the BC Rail Scandal give the appearance – I
believe that would be the conclusion of any reasonable British
Columbian who observed the legal process – of being devoted to
covering-up for the major actors in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail
to the CNR, to confusing the real sequence of events and the scope of
wrong-doing, to acting on behalf of highly suspect persons, and to co-
operating in the concentration upon certain allegations against the
three men accused.

Bill Tieleman underscores the dubiousness of the trial by
emphasizing the strange set of events when then-Finance Minister Gary
Collins met Dwight Johnson and Pat Broe from bidder OmniTRAX at the
famous Villa del Lupo restaurant in Vancouver in December of 2003.
Mr. Tieleman points to the offer of a “consolation prize” to OmniTRAX
for staying in the bidding process for BC Rail. The reference is
contained in the “statement of facts” which the accused agreed to
that forms the basis of their reduced conviction. The reference to
the “consolation prize” is there in the statement, it seems,
specifically so that the accused can sign a statement exempting Gary
Collins from any part in offering it.

What Mr. Tieleman doesn’t say is Defence argued in pre-trial
hearings that Gary Collins was under “investigation”, and that
investigation (after the December 12 meeting at Villa del Lupo) was
dropped, and that there is no available record of an order to end
investigation. As I remember, the presiding judge accepted those
allegations by Defence as reasonable and said there must be record of
the termination of the investigation of Gary Collins … somewhere. If
so, it has never seen the light of day.

An investigation of top government figures in the corrupt
transfer of BC Rail to the CNR appears to have been begun … and
closed down sharply. Every representative of the Mainstream Press
and Media should be on their hind legs demanding that investigation
be re-opened and pursued to the last tiny shred of evidence.

Okay, Mr. Tieleman, over to you and the others in the
Mainstream Press and Media.

11 Comments:

Anonymous BC Mary said...

A very big tip o'the tuque to you, Koot, for a daring assessment of the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial.

I was greatly puzzled when I read Bill Tieleman's otherwise excellent summary, where he wrote that he didn't see that it made much difference whether Berardino had been appointed at arm's length. (Quoting from memory)

I thought it was a good thing that Bill had acknowledged that there were doubts about Berardino's suitability ... but passing strange that he brushed off such a clear point of law governing everything Berardino said or did at trial.

I hope you get an answer. Good work, Koot.


P.S. Sorry I've been off-line. We're moving into a new home and waiting while one computer hook-up disconnected and the new safely installed ... I hope, by Monday all glitches will be worked out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 7:41:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Canadian Canary said...

Now THIS is speaking truth to power.

If I had the ability, I'd mail your very fine editorial to every household in BC. Meantime, I'll circulate it far and wide as my means allow.

Mary, good to hear your site hasn't moved because you are! Thought maybe something nefarious was happening with it.

Keep up the good fight, y'all.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 6:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bill Tieleman said...

Happy to reply to my friend Robin Mathews arguments - and happy that Robin was a regular, erudite and pleasant companion to have around through much of the Basi-Virk pre-trial hearings and the short lived trial. His coverage - some of which I very much disagree with - was a valuable addition.

Robin writes: "But the appointed person, William Berardino QC, had
been for seven years partner and colleague (and, one assumes, friend) of Geoff Plant, Attorney General in the ministry which appointed him, directly linked through membership in cabinet to Gordon Campbell and all senior operatives in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.
William Berardino had been, as well, eleven years partner and
colleague (and, one assumes, friend) of the Deputy Minister in that same ministry, Allan Seckel."

Well - that's a lot of assumptions.

I've worked in many jobs and not even met some of my colleagues in the workplace or spent any time with them beyond hello in the hallway or - in most circumstances - knew them very peripherally at work.

But even if we grant Robin his undocumented assumptions and say Berardino was a partner and friend years before with Plant and Seckel, so what?

What is the bias? Berardino arguably dragged out the case by two extra years through his appeal of the secret informant issue to the BC Court of Appeal and then Supreme Court of Canada - did that help Gordon Campbell by extending it? I don't see how.

Did Berardino somehow stop the most damaging revelations from coming out in April and May of 2007 about connections between David Basi and dirty trick allegedly directed from the premier's office? No.

If Berardino were truly biased he would have folded the prosecution tent at some juncture - like after the Appeal Court decision - and Basi and Virk would have never even seen a single witness.

The conspiracy theory doesn't hold water. Berardino can be criticized for some decisions perhaps but I saw no evidence of him or his colleagues being in league with Geoff Plant or Allan Seckel. I've not written about it because I don't believe there's any evidence of it and Robin doesn't convince me any more here.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 9:54:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bill Tieleman said...

Happy to reply to my friend Robin Mathews arguments - and happy that Robin was a regular, erudite and pleasant companion to have around through much of the Basi-Virk pre-trial hearings and the short lived trial. His coverage - some of which I very much disagree with - was a valuable addition.

Robin writes: "But the appointed person, William Berardino QC, had
been for seven years partner and colleague (and, one assumes, friend) of Geoff Plant, Attorney General in the ministry which appointed him, directly linked through membership in cabinet to Gordon Campbell and all senior operatives in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.
William Berardino had been, as well, eleven years partner and
colleague (and, one assumes, friend) of the Deputy Minister in that same ministry, Allan Seckel."

Well - that's a lot of assumptions.

I've worked in many jobs and not even met some of my colleagues in the workplace or spent any time with them beyond hello in the hallway or - in most circumstances - knew them very peripherally at work.

But even if we grant Robin his undocumented assumptions and say Berardino was a partner and friend years before with Plant and Seckel, so what?

What is the bias? Berardino arguably dragged out the case by two extra years through his appeal of the secret informant issue to the BC Court of Appeal and then Supreme Court of Canada - did that help Gordon Campbell by extending it? I don't see how.

Did Berardino somehow stop the most damaging revelations from coming out in April and May of 2007 about connections between David Basi and dirty trick allegedly directed from the premier's office? No.

If Berardino were truly biased he would have folded the prosecution tent at some juncture - like after the Appeal Court decision - and Basi and Virk would have never even seen a single witness.

The conspiracy theory doesn't hold water. Berardino can be criticized for some decisions perhaps but I saw no evidence of him or his colleagues being in league with Geoff Plant or Allan Seckel. I've not written about it because I don't believe there's any evidence of it and Robin doesn't convince me any more here.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 9:54:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Canadian Canary said...

The phrase "conspiracy theory" is often used as a mechanism to denigrate concerns raised about undue and improper influence.

I've spent several decades as a consultant to many government bodies and private corporations, and what is often decried as "conspiracy" is called "strategy". Indeed, most officers of public or private organizations wouldn't last long if they didn't employ strategies to achieve their goals.

I've also run election campaigns in other provinces, for multiple parties, so I understand raw politics.

The issue is whether those making the decisions are being unduly influenced or compromised while making decisions or taking action.

It does no good to ignore the elephant in the room that this government has taken extraordinary actions to destroy, hide and obfuscate information about its actions.

So Bill, while you castigate Robin Mathews for "conspiracy theories" perhaps you might reflect for us, your understanding of how and why several thousand pieces of email from several government ministries were suddenly destroyed in the middle of arguably the most explosive government scandal of BC's history.

Perhaps the proof of what Robin Mathews, and many other BC citizens suspect, may well have been (or still be in) those apparently destroyed emails.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:56:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous Canadian Canary said...

Apologies if I'm monopolizing the e-waves but, oddly, I'm reminded of a column earlier this year from Victoria's Times Colonist that might help put this matter in the proper perspective:

The Times Colonist produced an award-winning series of articles on the corruption in BC's court houses. That was following by an outstanding column by Les Leyne, someone I don't often agree with. His column should be mandatory reading for any student wishing to obtain a high school graduation certificate. It should be mandatory reading for everyone when they turn voting age.

Page of links to full four-part series on Access Denied - BC's Court System:
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/topic.html?t=topic&q=Access+Denied

SECRECY THREAT TO BASIC JUSTICE PRINCIPLE

By Les Leyne, Times Colonist
February 6, 2010

My colleagues occasionally fretted while putting together this week's series on public access to court documents about whether the issue really mattered to people.

So reporters have trouble getting public documents because of arbitrary and capricious rules. "Just do what you're paid to do," some people might respond. And the team working on the reports worried it would just seem like a whine about difficulties encountered in doing their jobs.

But the articles they've produced are much more significant than that.

They reveal the inconsistent and random process for getting information out of the court system. Information that, with certain obvious exceptions, should be out in the open.

It's remarkable that people still have to be reminded of the important principle of open courts. When that basic tenet is being eroded by local conventions that have evolved differently in each courthouse, it's time to question what's going on...


Read more at:

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/topic.html?t=topic&q=Access+Denied

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 12:03:00 PM PDT  
Blogger kootcoot said...

Canadian Canary, re:obfuscation and the ability to access information in the courts.

Go back to the earliest days of BC Mary's Legislature Raids where there is a story about her getting the run around back and forth from courthouse to courthouse on Vancouver Island simply trying to access what should be public information about PUBLIC MATTERS!

I can access from my computer here in the hurtland information more easily, and more complete about legal proceedings taking place in Southern California FOR NO CHARGE and sometimes slightly shy of a transcript - also a continuing matter is easy to follow from hearing to hearing and finding to finding with nothing disappearing after one day or one week. Jeeeeeez.

You just put a name or case number in a search box and voila, from arraignment to pre-trial to verdict by date and particulars.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 1:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger kootcoot said...

BTW Bill T, you were so anxious to display your disingenuousness here above that you couldn't help but submit your feeble defense of "nothing to see here" 2X. Come on Bill, are you expecting me to even consider the fact that effing PARTNERS in a big time law firm might be strangers to one another - especially after seven or eleven years as PARTNERS? Give your head a shake. We aren't talking about some low level associate or articling student here for a summer or a year with Seckel, Geoff "the" Plante and Wild Bill Berardino!

If the Bar Association or whatever they call the "brotherhood" in BC really had any kind of ethical standards people like Prosecutor "Shop til you Drop" StoneWally, "oh so" Special "shield the guilty" Prosecutor Berardino and less than honest AG Ding Dong and (in)Justice Annie Mack who never heard a non-responsive witness she didn't believe would be in stocks before their ethics committee and soon looking for work in some other field that requires you ask "Would you like fries with that?"

and CC - don't even think about "Apologies if I'm monopolizing the e-waves" you are welcome to use all the pixels you want here, your observations are more than welcome, they are appreciated greatly.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 2:04:00 PM PDT  
Blogger kootcoot said...

and Bill - as to:

"Did Berardino somehow stop the most damaging revelations from coming out" - and who cares specifically about 2007. He by agreeing to let the real crooks here buy the Basi boy's silence with OUR MONEY kept pretty much ALL THE GODDAMN revelations from coming out now DIDN'T HE?

If Berardino was working for US, the people of BC as he was supposed to be he could have successfully prosecuted the Basi boys without having to offer a bribe and laughable reduced sentence of normal suburban life - though we may have heard the hours of wiretaps containing the voices of the never charged elected officials who actually rigged the deal.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 2:09:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous BC Mary said...

Koot,

If you can spare the time, would you please go over to my place and release the comments awaiting moderation? Delete the idiots and SPAM, of course. But I'm hoping that there are more comments over there, like the ones you have (above) ...

I find it difficult to believe that Bill Tieleman believes what he says (above) which he reduces succinctly to "So what?" Holy Ratzinger, British Columbia (in brighter times) created the role of Special Prosecutor to preserve for the SP an undeniable neutrality. Ontario, for that reason, often brings in a BC lawyer to act for them as an SP. It's a judicial officer we should protect and be proud of ... not shrug it off with a "So what?" if the guy sat at the same boardroom table, discussing their own joint futures, as other key figures in a trial. Or, for cryin' out loud, had made political donations to them in mid-trial.

There were so many cross-overs in the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial (think of RCMP lead investigator as bro-in-law of BCLiberal president), we should have had an SP from far, far away with a different background. I can't get my head around why Bill wouldn't think so, too.
.

Friday, October 29, 2010 at 4:06:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just like on your blog bill,you had the whole violin section out for a crook,sure he was a bit player in a much bigger game but where are our violin sections we were ripped off by these assholes all of them,and you defend them,looking for a crumb? Don't forget they despise you and I'm slowly losing my confidence in your writing fairly,are you part of the move along crowd nothing to see here sure looks like it conspiracy my ass it's the truth and you know it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 7:04:00 AM PDT  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home