Friday, July 25, 2008

Basi-Virk defence gets BC Rail confidential government documents in deal; publication ban still possible

BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett has approved a pre-trial agreement between legal counsel for the defence in the BC Legislature raid and lawyers for the provincial government that will see confidential BC Rail documents provided to the defence but solicitor-client privilege maintained and a publication ban possible.

Lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, the three former BC Liberal government aides facing corruption charges, declined comment on the decision outside court Friday. Neither the defence nor special prosecutor had supported media arguments against a publication ban.

Bennett rejected requests by media lawyers for standing in the matter but said they could challenge any possible publication ban if any of the documents are entered as evidence in the trial.

Roger McConchie, lawyer for the Globe and Mail and CTV, told Canadian Press he was pleased despite Bennett's decision because it still leaves media free to challenge a publication ban.

"Common sense tells me these documents, or some of them, are going to be used in open court," he said. "We're not going to be hampered in any way in arguing against a publication ban."

The dispute on documents centered on about 90 B.C. Rail documents the government claimed are exempt from disclosure due to solicitor-client privilege and the defence wanted access to in order to see if they would be useful to defending the accused.

But nothing much will happen in the oft-delayed case that was triggered by the December 28, 2003 raid on the BC Legislature until the Supreme Court of Canada decides if it will hear an appeal by the special prosecutor to overturn two lower BC court decisions regarding potential testimony by and about a secret police informant.

The actual beginning of the trial could be delayed by a year or more if the appeal is heard.

Meanwhile, a BC Supreme Court update on disclosure of evidence and other issues is scheduled for September 17.


Gary E said...

Four years and seven months on Monday Bill.That's the delay we are already into. I was in Court in April 2006 and at that time they hoped to go to trial by September. That is now a joke.

The first delay was in taking a year to lay charges. And during that time the Special Prosecutor was replaced.

Then we get a new Prosecutor who by all appearances is a master at delay. Helped of course I allege by the Premier and his lackies.

So in my opinion the only thing different about this delay is (if the Supreme Court doesn't expedite it) that it will go well past the next election. The only winner there is Campbell if this news doesn't get to the masses.

Anonymous said...


If the defence truly want to get on with this trial, why are they not fighting the Appeal of this thing to the SCC?

I heard you on NW today. I agree that the way this trial is going, it will be 15 years.

Anonymous said...

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a meaningless scrap of paper if politically appointed judges can override the absolute right to answer in defence to charges. Bennett is voiding any defence.

It wasn't private individuals who murdered 100,000,000 innocent persons in the dark 20th century; it was governments. All but the morally bankrupt must at long last admit that the Brenner court is an elitist corporation, void of public purpose. If the media and blogs continue to erase evidence of the path to absolute government, then the CCRF should be formally abolished.

secondlook said...

In my humble opinion, I believe that neither side wants to see this trial proceed. Why would they when it is all too easy to cut deals behind closed doors?

The Basi/Virk lawyers hold a lot of leverage over their clients political masters at this stage of the 'game'.

Forget about the best interests of British Columbians.

Isn't the name of the game to suppress the truth for the best interests of the 'Cabal' with the AG, Solicitor General senior levels of the RCMP and the BC Supreme Court are in lock step with the political string pullers.

The rot runs deep.

Anonymous said...

I think AG Doyle said it best when he told us the WFP deal was not in the public interest. "secondlook" said neither side wants this trial to proceed. I think he is correct. Maybe this is what Pat Bell refers to when he says this is how business is done in BC. However the public interest says it should. We need to know precisely what happened.

secondlook said...

I know that, you Bill, and all of your many readers will be proud and excited to learn that BC Mary has been nominated for a Jack Webster Award re: her tremendous work and insights, on behalf of British Columbians, focused on the BC Raid on the Leg/BC Rail scandala and all of the tentacles involved.

Here's to you, BC Mary!

Anonymous said...

Okay, its been four years and seven months, but how much time would those involved with breach of trust charges receive via the courts if found guilty?

I would have thought clearing their good name, Basi/Virk would be the ultimate goal, therefore will there be a forthcoming lawsuit against the government?

And who will be paying for that, taxpayers have thus far, because no one has been found guilty as charged.

Taxpayers pockets are deep at the BC Treasury whether the BC Liberals win, or lose, at the polls next time around.