Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Basi-Virk defence allegation bombshells dropped - was Premier Campbell informed of Basi investigation through BC Liberal Party?

UPDATED 5 p.m.

Lawyers for defendants David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi dropped several bombshell allegations in BC Supreme Court this morning.

Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged in court that Premier Gordon Campbell was informed by BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert in June of 2005 that RCMP were forwarding a report to Crown counsel on David Basi's alleged "media monitoring" contracts with the BC Liberal Party.

McCullough alleged that the report came because: "One of the investigations of Mr. Basi was whether there was any wrongdoing regarding the media monitoring contracts with the Liberal Party."

McCullough pointed out that RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere "was and still remains the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert" although he did not at any point allege any impropriety on the part of either DeBruyckere or Reichert.

Reichert has not responded to my inquiries at this time.

The "media monitoring" contracts, McCullough said, were given to Basi at the same time he was ministerial assistant to then-Finance Minister Gary Collins.

McCullough called the "media monitoring" contracts "a highly political effort to sway public opinion through the use of radio shows and other events." McCullough did not further explain exactly what the contracts allegedly involved.

Premier Gordon Campbell was not in the Legislature for question period today nor did he attend a BC Liberal Party caucus meeting, according to my colleague Sean Holman of 24 hours and Public Eye Online, so was not available to reporters to comment. Campbell was at a cabinet meeting this morning.

McCullough said DeBruyckere disclosed his relationship with Reichert to his superiors in March 2004.

It should be noted that these are simply allegations and that they remain unproven in court.

In another major allegation, McCullough claimed that the RCMP had "acted in bad faith" by telling the media that no elected officials were under investigation when they "knew full well they were investigating Mr. Collins in November."

McCullough alleged that the RCMP misled the public by denying any politicians were being investigated, including through poice news releases.

It was also alleged by the defence that the RCMP were "clearly duplicitous" in obtaining wiretap authorizations by failing to disclose the concerns of a Supreme Court justice about Parliamentary privilege being infringed with wiretaps.

And McCullough said that the RCMP obtained a wiretap on "the Finance Minister's phone" in the Legislature in October 2003.

In an interesting development, lawyer Clark Roberts, a former BC Liberal Party staffer and former federal Liberal Party candidate with close personal ties to Gary Collins was present in the courtroom.

Mr. Roberts told me that he was in the courtroom on behalf of a client whom he could not disclose and that he was "here on a watching brief" for that client.

Also in the courtroom in the afternoon - Attorney General Wally Oppal's Public Affairs Officer Seumus Gordon from the Public Affairs Bureau. I was unable to ask Gordon why he was there.




8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill:

Is "Allegated" really a technical term used in court?

John said...

Gordon Campbell was nowhere to be found today, lawyers showing up for mystery clients. It seems the chickens have come home to roost!! I think its not insignificant to note the rcmp misled everybody when they stated no elected officials were under investigation. Who is advising these clowns, the ex commissioner Zacardelli, maybe its the same bozo's that had Arar deported to Syria. Why did they conduct a massive surveillance operation at Villa de Lupo, to see if the restaurant used too many preservatives in their food!!

Gazetteer said...

Mr. T.--

Can we assume, based on the reference to Mr. Holman, that you all are going to follow this story using a Tag Team approach?

(I, for one, certainly hope so).

Great stuff - thanks.


____
Oh, ya - and when are you going to have somebody, perhaps Mr. King, set up an interactive 24 Hours website so that we can really keep track of all the developments as they emerge?

.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, seems the only (ex) Provincial Liberal named in this Canwest piece is Collins:

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=9bfb85d4-b76a-456c-be55-d40a2673831a&k=53034

Seems Canwest will go to any length to mitigate the damage to Campbell.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bill, you tease...you know damn well that an OIC appointment appearing in the gallery is a scandal in and of itself. After all, who's paying for his time?

Bill Tieleman said...

No - "allegated" is not a legal courtroom term! My apologies for the typo - too much writing today.

Yes - I am a tease regarding A-G Oppal's staff being in court.

No - Sean Holman and I work as a team but he is in Victoria and regrettably unable to cover the Vancouver BC Supreme Court action. But Sean is 24 hours Legislative reporter, so any Victoria political angles will get covered.

No - I don't know of any plans for 24 hours website to go interactive and constantly updated but it's a good idea! Meanwhile, I will update on this blog as often as possible - given that I have another job other than covering Basi-Virk - and Sean Holman will no doubt keep people informed.

I also think Neal Hall of the Sun will file a more fulsome report than the online version Wednesday evening.

And my magnum opus for The Tyee and my shorter reports for 24 hours will also be right here Thursday morning!

Thanks for all your interest.

Gazetteer said...

Thanks for the succinct, but entirely unallegated, responses to our rather intrusive questions Bill.

.

Anonymous said...

Bill:

Congrats. Keep up the good work.
And the typoes shall all be forgiven.