Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Suprise witness in Basi-Virk case alleges lobbyist Brian Kieran threatened him over campaign against Gary Collins

Surprise witness alleges threats


A surprise witness in the B.C. Legislature raid case gave sworn testimony yesterday in B.C. Supreme Court that a provincial lobbyist allegedly threatened him if he went public over a political issue involving then- Finance Minister Gary Collins.

John Preissell told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that Brian Kieran, a Crown witness in the breach of trust trial of former government aides David Basi and Bob Virk, threatened Preissell over a planned public campaign against Collins about ICBC issues. Collins was minister responsible at the time.

"The bottom line was he [Kieran] threatened me repeatedly and said if we didn't back off of Mr. Collins we wouldn't get what we wanted," Preissell alleged. "I was actually afraid, I was very afraid."

Kieran declined comment. "I've been advised by my attorney that I should wait until I'm in court to say my piece," Kieran told 24 hours.
Collins' lawyer says the former minister knows nothing about Preissell's claims.

"Mr. Kieran will have to explain why he was contacting Mr. Preissell. It was not at the request of Mr. Collins. He doesn't have any knowledge of the dispute," Collins' lawyer Clark Roberts told 24 hours.

Preissell said that the RCMP "didn't seem too interested" when he contacted them in January 2005.

Virk's defence lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged that the RCMP's disregard for Preissell's information is part of an overall effort to "tailor" the investigation away from elected officials like Collins and towards Basi and Virk.


Anonymous said...

Bill, who is Priessel? There is no context in the post.

Bill Tieleman said...

John Preissel was an auto body and glass repair shop owner in 2003 and his organization was in a dispute with ICBC over repairs.

More in a Tyee piece coming probably Thursday.