Monday, April 14, 2008

Defence again alleges political interference by Premier Gordon Campbell in Basi-Virk BC Rail case

Defence alleges problems with disclosure of evidence related to BC Rail amounts to political interference by premier; more delays in case announced

The defence in the trial of three former B.C. government aides facing corruption charges is again alleging political interference by Premier Gordon Campbell in the case.

And defence lawyer Kevin McCullough suggested in B.C. Supreme Court Monday that it may take testimony in court by Campbell to find out why a government protocol for dealing with disclosure of evidence related to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail was changed after being in place for three and a half years.

“These actions by the premier were a Charter breech and effectively amounted to political interference by the premier,” McCullough alleged, referring to the Charter of Rights.

McCullough argued that questioning Campbell in court may be necessary after government lawyer George Copley rejected a defence proposal to put questions in writing to the premier and other officials.

“The kind of questions would be: ‘Why did you change the protocol? Did you discuss this with, for example, Martyn Brown?’” McCullough asked, mentioning Campbell’s longtime top political aide.

McCullough, representing Bob Virk, and defence lawyer Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, also told Justice Elizabeth Bennett that further delays in disclosure of evidence have again forced the trial to be pushed back.

“Effectively between March 11 and today nothing has happened,” McCullough said, referring to the last court update session. “We have received nothing. Nothing.”

NDP MLA Leonard Krog, who attended court, said Campbell’s “stonewalling” on the matter is “jeopardizing this case."

"The public deserves to know why the names of their elected officials are linked to the B.C. Rail corruption case. Instead, the government is stonewalling. That’s not acceptable.” said Krog, critic for the Attorney General and Nanaimo MLA.

For the Premier to be mired in allegations of such a serious nature hurts public trust. And it further underlines the need for the Campbell government to come clean and stop hiding behind their privilege applications,” Krog said.

McCullough also told Bennett that questions raised by the defence around a deal with key Crown witness Erik Bornmann, a provincial lobbyist alleged to have provided Basi and Virk with benefits in exchange for confidential government information, will have to be dealt with in court after discussions with the Special Prosecutor.

"The Bornmann issue, I expect, is going to be litigated," he said.

The protocol issue came up after it was revealed that in May 2007 Campbell had assigned Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel to handle whether documents related to the sale of BC Rail should be released to the defence. In the three and half years prior to that the issue of privilege over cabinet documents had been handled by the secretary to the cabinet.

Seckel denied in February any political interference is involved.

Court will hold another update session at 9 a.m. on May 5.

A version of this story will be published in Tuesday's 24 hours newspaper


DL said...

One step forward and two steps sideways. Must be nice to have unlimited money behind you, mind you it's BC tax payers money we are talking about. Somebody will be writing a book on this case eventually. as Wally says "It's before the court". Wonder how the accused are getting by, no jobs, and at present no jobs in sight.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the BC Liberals are trying to extend the case so that the defence will have a very successful go at dismissing the case for undue delay.

Judge Elizabeth Bennett is putting the administration of justice into disrepute by not severely sanctioning the prosecution for its abuses.

Anonymous said...

"WE ONLY CHEAT WHEN WE CAN'T WIN" . . . the unofficial motto of the Liberal Parties of Canada & British Columbia.


Anonymous said...

And What else is new? Isn't it how Gordon got into office? He lied, lied and lied some more so cheating for him is easy.

Gary E said...

Just after you left today Bill, there was some discussion on another date of May 1st or second. I`m not quite sure as to what it would be for as the young lady next to me had asked a question and I missed what was said. But I beleive it was to straighten out the matter of the Letter. That being the letter to the four witnesses that don`t want to appear in open court. One of those people being the premier.

Anonymous said...


Why didn't the msm report on this latest development?

I think that it is fair for the defence to ask the premier some questions in light of the changes to the protocol.

tinaz said...

It cannot be said that the defence does not have a superb tactic in claiming that they want Gordon Campbell to testify, knowing very well that no premier or PM of this country, while in office, would ever testify on matters effecting their public office, even if they should.

There is something to be said about the Crown refusing to follow the law and procedures. Keep in mind that the Crown's duty is to seek justice and not try to oppress evidence that would assist the defence. Due to the Crown and to Justice Bennett who is not enforcing her order, the case of Basi-Virk will soon come to a collapse at the expense of all the tax payers in Canada for the failure of our appointed officials to follow procedures and this includes the RCMP, who failed royally by raiding the legislation.

With regret I must say that the Basi-Virk case has become the theatre of the absurd.

Tina Z

Anonymous said...

nothing will happen until campbell (the gargler) gets voted out in 2009 ----don`t believe the ipsos reid poll(canwest global owns ipsos reid) the ndp have 33 seats now--they won`t lose any of what they have--and in 2009 they will win 3 more island seats-delta-cloverdale-2 surrey seats-maple ridge--matbe even point grey--so now the ndp have a majority-so as long as they win 3 of the 6 new ridings!!!!--- and if you don`t believe me --just look what happened in the federal by-election-I know federal is diffrent but--------quadra riding was campbells back yard---the liberals won big there in 2006(11000) spread--liberals have held that riding for 25 years!!--an ex bc liberal cabinet minister ran against a new green politician for the conservatives---in ontario ridings in this bi-elction the liberals won huge!--so my reasoning is -that if gordo was so popular,quadra riding should have been a cake walk!---the liberal won by 151 votes( out of 40000 votes) so I am on a one year 3week countdown to the end of gordon(the gargler) campbell