By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS
An angry judge criticized missing evidence in the B.C. Legislature raid case as the defence pressed the prosecution for additional documents related to alleged B.C. Liberal Party media manipulation and dirty tricks.
Justice Elizabeth Bennett interjected several times as Special Prosecutor Andrea MacKay attempted to explain why several documents were neither disclosed to the defence nor identified on a "not disclosed" list.
"The concern is that despite checks and balances, a number of documents have gone missing in this case," Bennett said.
Kevin McCullough, lawyer for former provincial ministerial aide Bob Virk, argued that "media monitoring" contracts between the B.C. Liberal Party and David Basi, Virk's co-accused in the breach of trust and fraud trial, must be disclosed.
McCullough has alleged that Basi, former ministerial aide to ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins, was paid $20,000 for media manipulation on talk radio shows and political dirty tricks connected to the $1-billion privatization of B.C. Rail.
"Why haven't we received that Liberal Party contract right now? Why not just give it to us?" he asked. Bennett agreed.
ADDITIONAL INFO not in 24 hours
“Can you give that to your friends before they reply?” Bennett asked MacKay, who said she would provide it. After lunch McCullough again asked why the Liberal Party contract had not been produced, with MacKay saying she had not been to her office over the lunch break to retreive it.
Earlier Special Prosecutor MacKay outlined that there were 78 documents not disclosed to the defence, including several in which solicitor-client privilege was being claimed.
"These documents were not on the 'not disclosed' list," McCullough complained.
In further discussion of the B.C. Liberal Party contract with Basi for 'media monitoring' MacKay said there was a "Report to Crown Counsel on the Liberal contract charge approval process."
"The Crown was taking the position that that document not be disclosed because it was not proceeding with charges," MacKay said.
"Then why wasn't it on the 'documents not disclosed list?" McCullough asked.
There was also a lengthy discussion of the contents of seven filing cabinets related to the drug investigation that originally brought David Basi to the attention of police. The defence argued that it should have access to at least an inventory of what is in the files.
"Not only have they [the Crown] not created an inventory, they haven't even looked at them," an exasperated McCullough told Justice Bennett. "That's based on a conversation I had at noon with my friend.
Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham immediately objected.
"I never said I haven't looked at them. Ms MacKay has. I only said there was no inventory," Winteringham explained.
Bennett then interjected: "There are seven file cabinets in the drug room. Has the Crown looked at every single page of those documents?"
Mackay replied: "The Crown has not looked at every single document in those file cabinets. The file coordinator has seen every document."
That brought McCullough back to his feet.
"They haven't made an inventory of the drug file. They haven't been through it. They simply haven't done that. And I was led to believe the opposite," he said.
MacKay argued that there were concerns about the confidentiality of the files and the possibility that an RCMP drug informant could be identified if defence lawyers gained access to the files.
Later MacKay tested Bennett's patience again by attempting to take her through the details of a precedent setting case involving informants and privilege to access to their information.
"I've been involved in the leading case of [informer] privilege in this province," Bennett told MacKay.
Later MacKay drew the judge's ire again.
"Milady, I know you made an earlier decision but you are not bound by that decision..." MacKay started.
"I know that I'm not bound by my decision," Bennett firmly stated.
The defence disclosure application hearing continues Thursday and Friday at least in BC Supreme Court.