Defence lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - the three former provincial government aides facing corruptions charges related to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail - joined with Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino in asking BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett to accept further delays in dealing with the 4-year old case.
There will also be a Charter of Rights application coming from the defence this month on the issue of calling witnesses such as BC Premier Gordon Campbell and Deputy Attorney-General Allan Seckel to testify about their roles in the disclosure of evidence in the case. The defence has previously alleged political interference in the case by the premier.
And New Democratic Party MLA Leonard Krog again raised the possibility that the trial will never be heard in court, calling on Campbell to promise a full public inquiry if the case is dismissed by Bennett.
Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough told Bennett that the Special Prosecutor is claiming privilege over about 2,200 documents - a claim that may take several weeks to sort through in court.
Outside court Basi's lawyer Mike Bolton explained that the privilege claim is not to be confused with the privilege claims of the BC government based on either cabinet privilege or solicitor-client privilege that have earlier been bones of contention.
"There's a variety of different claims," in the 2,200 documents Bolton said. "Pertaining to other investigations, solicitor-client privilege, relevancy claims and police work project privilege."
"It's completely separate from the cabinet solicitor-client privilege, different documents," he added.
That's one reason why Bennett agreed to the joint defence-crown request to put back the starting date for pre-trial hearings on the vetting of evidence related to the case, from the originally planned date of June 16 to June 30.
But the two sides did not agree on how long the vetting of BC Rail documents will take.
Bennett asked Berardino how long he anticipated it would require.
"As a general rule, subject to anyone here saying something, two to three weeks," Berardino replied.
"Very optimistic," McCullough immediately interjected.
He later suggested far longer. "I don't think it will take two to three weeks - the volume is substantial and I think it will take considerably longer," McCullough said.
McCullough also asked Bennett to schedule another case update hearing in mid-June.
"What I had hoped to accomplish," Bennett replied, "was to have the vetting completed by the end of the summer."
But even that may be a challenge, as a lengthy discussion of all parties' holiday plans proved.
After some vacation negotiations, it was determined that the court will sit June 30 for three days before Bennett takes off the week of July 7 to teach a judicial course. The hearings will then resume July 14 and run until August 15, when the court will not sit for three weeks as counsel take holidays, until September 8.
Bennett also agreed to McCullough's request for an update, which will take place on Friday June 20 at 9 a.m.
Outside the courtroom MLA Leonard Krog, critic for the Attorney-General's ministry, appeared somewhat exasperated at the extended proceedings and possibility of the case being dismissed.
"This government is still under the cloud of the raid on the BC Legislature after four years," he said. "If the case is thrown out, if the premier has any integrity he will call an immediate inquiry into this long, sorry tale."
Meanwhile, the action next shifts to the BC Court of Appeal on June 9, where an appeal by Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino will be heard.
Berardino hopes to convince the Appeal Court to overturn a ruling by Justice Bennett that would allow defence lawyers to hear testimony by a secret witness in the case.
That appeal is set for three days in court and is expected to take place completely in camera - in other words, no access allowed for the media or the public.
All in all, another great day in a case that shows little signs of ending anytime soon.