Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Defence demands Premier Gordon Campbell testify in Basi-Virk case over allegations of political interference in disclosure of evidence

Defence lawyers for three ex-government aides facing corruption charges are demanding BC Premier Gordon Campbell testify about their allegations of political interference in the disclosure of evidence by the provincial government.

The defence also alleged in court that a secret Crown witness is a "former federal Liberal insider" who provided "very, very, very serious" allegations against two other Crown witnesses.

Kevin McCullough, lawyer for former ministerial aide Bob Virk, also claimed that the RCMP did not pursue those allegations.

"There was zero, zero follow up by the RCMP to those very serious allegations, which is totally consistent with the targeted way the RCMP pursued this investigation," McCullough said.

And the defence says the Special Prosecutor in the BC Legislature raid case has recently told them there are 857 documents on a documents-not-disclosed list, prompting new complaints about the disclosure of evidence.

Michael Bolton, lawyer for ex-ministerial aide David Basi, told BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett that a court protocol on disclosure of evidence was changed arbitrarily by Campbell.

"There appears to us to be an element of political interference with regard to the protocol," Bolton said. "There will have to be evidence."

"It appears that though the premier said the deputy attorney-general was dealing with those matters, it appears the cabinet secretary was doing so," Bolton said.

And McCullough alleged that the protocol change was made without any involvement by government lawyer George Copley, who represents the province in court.

Copley responded to the defence demand that the premier testify by asking for more information.

"Before I seek instructions we have to know what the questions are and the relevance," Copley told Bennett.

Special prosecutor Janet Winteringham responded to defence complaints by noting that many of the disclosure requests have been met and others are in progress.

Outside the court NDP MLA Leonard Krog called for Campbell to testify and for the government to drop its efforts to restrict disclosure of some documents related to the case on the basis of solicitor-client privilege.

"The significance of the premier attending is enormous," Krog said. "The premier can make himself available and there's no excuse not to."

"The changing of the protocol and the lack of involvement by Mr. Copley is pretty shocking," he said.

Krog said Copley had agreed to his written request to release affidavits submitted to the court by the government regarding the assertion of cabinet and solicitor-client privilege. Those documents will be made public at the court registry, possibly later today.


Gary E said...

This revelaation sure flies in the face of the government saying there is no political interference. And further "we won't comment on matters before the courts. Seems to me this arbitrary switching of protocol is an "comment on matters before the courts".

Anonymous said...


It seems as though poor George is being hung out to dry.

DL said...

Should be interesting to see Gordon bobbing and weaving on this invite to show up. DL

Anonymous said...

The old tried and true "What goes round comes round" is finally maybe starting to bear fruit!
Where is our CannedWaste media in all this huge scandalized BC Railgate?
I guess Bingo-gate (NDP) a couple of grand, porch-gate (NDP) around 10grand are much more scandalizing than the giveaway of 535 of BC's public rivers to foreign corporations, the 4-6 hundred million$ over budget of the convention center so far, the 2010 Winter Olympics 1.5 billion over budget so far, the secret costs of the Gateway project (SPP Super highway) and on and on?
So where is CanWest in all this?
"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life".-- Jane Addams

Anonymous said...

How can you expect CanWest and the rest of BC's beautiful media to report on Basigate when to do so would be to have them poop all over their fellow polo club members.

It's politically incorrect to talk of class warfare but in BC the Campbell Liberal Government and the wealthy elite of media and business are one in the same.

With no effective opposition and no substantive critical media, Gordon Campbell is not the Premier of BC he is the . . . Godfather.

When Gordo retires to Maui with that "special friend" he will be far wealthier than he was when he entered office.


Anonymous said...

The comment about "federal liberal insider" is telling.

Who turned on who?

The skeletons of the Bornmann crowd will soon be marching out of the closets soon enough....

Deep Throat said...

Jessica, sorry that I am late for our meeting but I had a few important matters to discuss with Martyn Brown and Minister Coleman.

That’s okay Mr. Premier, I was busy reading the papers today regarding the Ken Dobell affair. I just don’t understand how this could have happened and I feel really terrible about it. I am sorry that I have caused you and Ken all these problems. You know that I am trying really hard to be a good Deputy Minister to the Premier.

Now, now Jessica don’t take it to hard…I am somewhat to blame…I guess that I should have been more clear in my directions when I asked you to write that memo to me about Ken Dobell.

By-the-way I guess you heard that I may have to testify in court about the change in protocol that we instituted back in May of 2007 regarding the release of government documents in the Basi/Virk affair. I was wondering if you could write me a memo regarding how we did that…you know…how it all came to be. I am sure that you will want some time think about it given that it happened last year so why don’t you borrow my place in Sechelt for the weekend. You can write the memo while you are up there.

But Mr. Premier, why do I need to write a memo?

Well...I just think that it would help to clarify matters…you know put things in perspective.

Mr. Premier, you know that I will always do what you ask…but I need some time to think about how I should do what you are asking of me.

Mr. Premier, on another matter, I was talking to Shirley Bond the other day and she has got it in her head that you may not be available for you own Estimates. She was very scared that she might have to “step in” for you. You know how she is. At any rate, I assured her that from what I understand Martyn Brown for some reason came up with the idea of holding your Estimates in “the small house” so she won’t have to worry about being on T.V.

Mr. Premier, I know it is not my place but why did we make that change…you know we are always trying to be as open and transparent as possible and this change “flies in the face” of those principles.

Jessica, I think you have a very interesting point…let me think about it.

G West said...

deep throat-

I admire your work. Perhaps you could work on a bit of dialogue between the Premier and George Copley, Q.C., the retired civil servant (since April of 2007) to whom Campbell gave the 'silver' Premier's award in the 'legacy' category.

Might be some interesting and revealing things there too, eh?

Budd Campbell said...

If the secret witness is a federal Liberal insider, the Martin/Dion/Marissen crowd must be hoping more than anyone that the other players succeed in provoking a mistrial.

One wonders who this person made serious allegations about and what those allegations were. That the person's situation is relevantly described in terms of their political party, the Federal Liberals, rather than being an employee of the BC Govt, must be considered a very ominous indication in Ottawa.

Gazetteer said...

DT's 'fictional' narrative brought John Dean's trip to a cabin at Camp David to mind in April of 1973.

It was during that trip, ostensibl to write a 'full report' that would demonstrate that all was well with Watergate, that Mr. Dean finally came face-to-face with himself in the rain and realized that he was being set up as the ultimate scapegoat....


Deep Throat said...

Who said they were fictional?

Gazetteer said...


Is there a Butterfield in the House....errrrr...Ledge?


Anonymous said...

I re-read the "Discretion to Prosecute Inquiry" that arose from the Bill Reid scandal. Moe Sihota and the rest of Caucus had their hands forced - viz use of "private prosecution" procedure - until AG Smith at long last released details of that process. The government was defeated on the Reid and other concealment issues. They will be defeated again, if they don't learn from history.