Tuesday, December 09, 2008

BASI-VIRK - Update - no Supreme Court of Canada date yet set; disclosure hearing continues

Contrary to published reports in the Vancouver Sun and National Post, no Supreme Court of Canada hearing on the secret witness issue in the Basi-Virk case has yet been set, according to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In emal communications with a Supreme Court of Canada official today I have been told that the one-day appeal on the secret witness will take place in either April or May of 2009 but that a date has not been confirmed.

The Sun reported the hearing will take place April 22. Currently there are already several hearings scheduled for that week, including the Kelly Ellard appeal in the murder of Reena Virk on April 20 and other hearings on April 21 and 24.

I can only presume that the April 22 date has been suggested to some of the parties involved but given that the Supreme Court of Canada declined to confirm that date when asked and that the official court schedule does not include a hearing on the Basi-Virk matter, we will have to wait to find out.

Nonetheless, as previously reported here, there is no chance the BC Legislature raid trial will start before the May 2009 provincial election.

Meanwhile, disclosure hearings continue to grind on, with more documents being disclosed to the defence through rulings by Justice Elizabeth Bennett.

A veteral legal observer who dropped in on the hearings last week reported directly to me that the subject matter was exceedingly tedious, although no doubt important to both sides.

Another observer informs me that some prominent names previously raised in past court sessions have come up but without any details.

I attended a short part of the December 8 session, after Justice Elizabeth Bennett made an oral ruling that will release about 20 more documents.

The hearings are dealing with "litigation privilege" issues that affect about 330 documents and "solicitor-client privilege" issues that affect around 29 other documents.

The hearings are frustrating for media and observers, as everything in court is merely discussed orally, with no documents tabled for examination by the public.

For example, Public Prosecution Service lawyer W.P. Riley went through a number of documents while I was in attendance, arguing for parts of them to be the subject of privilege.

"I need to assert a public interest privilege over the 5th and 6th paragraphs - I don't need to say any more about it than that," Riley said.

At another point Bennett spoke of her earlier decision, stating that: "I don't think my ruling is earthshattering."

The pre-trial hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday December 10th all day, the morning only on Thursday December 11th and Friday December 12th through the day, when provincial government lawyer George Copley returns to the court after a long absence to deal with disclosure matters concerning his client.


Anonymous said...

Look for Copley to dance the dance as he is not interested in having any part of this case.

Mr. Copley will be very uncomfortable.

DPL said...

Slow but steady. I figure the Judge doesn't want the stuff to end up in the Appeals Court. No matter how much some folks want it over now, we all must remember peoples careers are involved. so it as Bill says, no way before the provincial election. That doesn't mean people can't wonder aloud as to who may or may not be the figures hiding behind the curtain

Gazetteer said...

I'm shocked!

Shocked I tell you that the good folks from CanWest might have something not quite right in a development relating to Railgate.


BC Mary said...


Me too! And even more shocked that CanWest news services (on the West Coast, at least) have been remodelled for improved obfuscation!

I'm still paying for a subscription to something with a new improved type which is pale grey on white background and barely legible.

Simple headline scan has been replaced by paragraphs flung here and there ("Just go to XX, click on XX and XX ...")

Typing Basi Virk into the Search box gets you a short list of old stories.

So that I defy anybody to discover, for a certainty, whether or not there's any CanWest update on yesterday's Basi Virk pre-trial hearing.

I couldn't help thinking what I can't help thinking ... and I, too, am shocked.


DPL said...

B.B.& V are on this morning 10th Dec at 09:00 so things do move along

Anonymous said...

Ask Jamie Graham or the RCMP what happened, April(19th)2004, or January 27 2007...
There are many, who should be charged with TREASON!

Anonymous said...

5 years later;
2 much money being earned all around?
Maintain the status quo at all costs?
Legal system or Justice system?
Caveat emptor ?/Carpe diem ?

BC Mary said...

Yeah, right, DPL ...

and what happened in court today? Is it OK by you when we don't know?

Sure, sure, "Just keep movin' along, folks, ain't nuthin' to see here ..." It surely does irk those grown-ups who are doing their best to keep informed on what happened to BC Rail.

Here's an example of why you can stop worrying over our bad behaviour. Over at The Legislature Raids -- thanks to a tip from a concerned Citizen Journalist -- I heard that Jasmohan Singh Bains (often mentioned in the Basi Virk hearings) has been to trial and sentenced to 9 years. I wasn't sure this was true, since WE HAD SEEN NOTHING ABOUT IT IN THE NEWS, DENIS.

So I spent 24 hours and found that it is true, and I posted a summary of the Reasons for Judgment and the Reasons for Sentence.

I was able to do that, y'see Denis, because a concerned Citizen and I weren't willing to sit back, put bags over our heads, and hope to God somebody else would get the story for us.

Please note that It required quite a lot of questioning. Sometimes the questions are passionately asked. Why not? The passion is what gets us somewhere.



Anonymous said...

Mary, I hate to interrupt you while you are patting yourself on the back and congratulating yourself and this so called "citizen journalist". Whats interesting and intriguing is the fact it was the defence lawyers who mentioned the conviction of Mr. Bains in their submissions to the judge. Without this nobody would know what happened to ole Mr. Bains.

You can go back to patting yourself on the back about this startling revelation put forward by the defence lawyers.

DPL said...

Gosh, I expect to get a grilling from BC Mary by mentioning that the BB&V pretrial continues. I have no idea just what went on today as I live a ferry ride away from the courthouse. If I really really was concerned that the legal process wasn't being followed, I guess I could spend a few hours to attend. Have you ever considered showing up, BC Mary or are you too far away from the courthouse as well? I trust the judge knows what she is doing. If the local newspapers don't keep us instantly informed, heck it's not my fault. They do come up with a small blurb now and again, between the murders,impared coppers, arsons and other assorted bits of news. No it's not OK that I don't know what went on in court today so give it a rest will you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:04,

There are thousands and thousands of B.C. citizens who can't get to 800 Smythe Street, Vancouver, to attend the BC Supreme Court pre-trial hearings. But who have a legal interest in knowing the details of the BC Rail Case. All the details.

Big Media told us nothing about the Bains trial, not even the verdict or the sentencing. That's why I appreciate a citizen who is able to be present in the courtroom and who takes the time to tell us what went on.

How about explaining why it's "interesting" or "intriguing", if it's true, that it was one of the Defence lawyers who mentioned the Bains trial ... what's your point? does it matter who said it?

We wouldn't have known about the Bains trial (which allegedly has a connection to the Basi Virk Basi trial) if the Citizen Journalist hadn't told us. No matter who said it, we wouldn't have known ... even though it's important that the public should know.

So I think what's interesting and intriguing is: are you advocating more secrecy, not less, in the Basi Virk hearings?

Perhaps the rest of us are missing an important point here.

- BC Mary