Thursday, February 19, 2009

NDP Opposition lawyer asks Basi-Virk judge to release FOI documents related to BC Rail privatization

A lawyer representing the New Democratic Party Official Opposition has asked BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett to release up to 8,000 pages of documents that defence lawyers in the BC Legislature Raid have obtained through Freedom of Information requests.

Lawyer Mike Mulligan appeared in court Thursday to ask Bennett to release to the opposition documents lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - the three former BC Liberal government aides facing corruption charges - have received through FOIs.

Bennett appeared unhappy with Mulligan's request, saying that it could disrupt trial proceedings but agreed to consider it. She is expected to make a ruling on February 25, after Robert Deane, a lawyer representing BC Rail, has an opportunity to review the material and see if his client has any objections to its release.

While Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough said nothing in 15 binders of FOI documents would jeopardize his client's right to a fair trial, both the defence and Special Prosecutor were opposed to Mulligan's application, saying it would require many hours of photocopying.

I was unable to attend the pre-trial hearing today but have been informed about the proceedings from reliable observers.

There are also accounts online from the Vancouver Sun's Neal Hall and Robin Mathews of Vive Le Canada and The Legislature Raids blog.

NDP MLA Leonard Krog said in an interview with me this evening that the information it has requested could shed light on what happened in the BC Rail deal.

"The opposition is hopeful that some of the truth about the sale of BC Rail will come to light as a result of this application," Krog said. "British Columbians deserve to know the truth before the May 12 election."

Arguments on release of other FOI-requested documents continues in court this week and next.



Anonymous said...

I've heard a rumour that the CEO may be considering dropping the writ so that the election will be held sooner than May 12....from a usually reliable source.

DPL said...

Moving right along.

Anonymous said...

Now the NDP is on the circus train. Ultimately just another bog to slow this process down even further. We all know this case will never see the light of day. The delays and stall tactics will go and on until one day it will be deemed "to long" to be fair to Basi and Virk and the case will get punted. Anyone doubt this outcome ?

Anonymous said...

Many hours of photocopying? Hahahahaha...what a lame excuse! Can't they come up with something better? Hell, call me, I'll come and do it for free.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:34
That'd be right in line with this Liberal governments M.O.

-cancel fall sittings of the leg
-change the law re. deficit budgeting
-drop the writ

What else am I missing?

I sure would like to know what transpired before going to the polls.

Gary E said...

Anon 8:34

What transpired with the sale of BC Rail is the bid winner was predetermined and the "billion dollar sale" netted the people of BC NOTHING, Zero, Zilch. It was given away.

blaffergassted said...

Excellent overview of the case from Vaughn Palmer, Keith Baldrey and Neal Hall on the Shaw TV's Voice of BC last night.

I got the impression that these CanWest staffers believe the wrong people are on trial.

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Let's lift the fog:

As I have written on this august blog before: If the NDP have any intention of winning in May, and I still believe it is their election to lose, then they must stay away from committing MAJOR blunders.

The announcement of this $10B green bond scheme was such a PR disaster, that it should rival the story of the Titanic. On the day of the anniversary of the bloody Owe-lympics, the idiots in Silo James, release a good-for-nothing plank, and exclusively to the Sun, whose bosses are Premier Groin's lickspittles.

Now add this latest idiocy. Instead of thinking through that they may disrupt the trial, they commit to yet another 'Hail Mary' pass by not announcing (which will GAIN them HUGE votes) that the single most significant event in B. C. political history, 'Basi-Virk', will be subject to a full independent public inquiry, if the NDP are made govt. Rather, they pull this mindless stunt and then tack the public right to know to it as window-dressing.

This is the team that will beat the Liberals?

It takes guts and sizable testicles to beat down corruption and wasted tax dollars that could be going to the downtrodden, the addicted, the most needy, to old folks and children in distress...etc.

The NDP are lucky the leading to the election isn't being played using baseball rules...

They're at two strikes.

...and have no balls...or brains...

Anonymous said...

So when the media were in court today to seek a decision on documents regarding this case, they were wrong too?

I think that you are way off base when an Opposition goes to court to seek documents that are the subject of an FOI. That is the issue at bar. Whether or not the Opposition can have access to document that shed light on the sale of BC Rail.

Don't cloud the issue with your contempt of Ms. James.


A. G. Tsakumis said...


I have absolutely NO contempt for Ms. James. I find her engaging and competent.

I can't say the same for the twits who comitted the two strikes (on her behalf) though.

Anonymous said...

i wonder what trade off was...

Eleanor Gregory said...

I haven't read the terms of the NDP's application but I'm puzzled about what they are doing. It is a well established principle in civil procedure that a party to a lawsuit who has obtained access to the opposing party's documents under an order for production has no right to make the contents of those documents public, communicate them to anyone else, or use them for a "collateral object". The NDP isn't a party to this lawsuit, so I don't get how they even have standing to apply.

...Not that I wouldn't really like to read some of those documents, mind you.

Anonymous said...

I find it strange that Tsakumis is commenting on a co-worker's blog so frequently.

I think he has developed a new type of troll.

A. G. Tsakumis said...


As far as I know, this blog is open to anyone. I go through phases frankly, where I comment on a whole slew of issues for some time and then I don't. No rhyme or reason I suppose.

If you don't like what I have written, that's okay.

Read all the other posts.

And go grow some so you can comment out from behind the comfy, and, often cowardly, curtain of anonymity.

Anonymous said...


You state here at 11:50 pm that "I find her [Carole James] engaging and competent.

Yet not too long ago you stated:

"Carole James is woefully inept and totally unprepared to lead any govt."

How does that jive?

DPL said...

One person posting here says she can't understand as the NDP arn't involved. If Krog, who just happens to be a lawyer is speaking, it's because he would have intervening status. If he didn't have that status he wouldn't be asking or saying anything in the court. I'm no lawyer but was offered such status in a case a number of years ago. The legal system works

Bill Tieleman said...

Alex Tsakumis - my valued colleague - is always welcome to post at this blog! his erudite and blunt comments are prized here!

But then again, so is everyone else - that is, those who avoid defamatory or obscene comments.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alex!

So hire the airplane and paint the trailing banners:

Vote NDP for an immediate Public Inquiry into the BC Rail deal!

Heck, I'd even vote Campbell Gang if they'd promise ... uh oh, wait a minute ... any Campbell Promise must always be read back to front and upside down. So no, I take that back.

Just the Public Inquiry, please, and a.s.a.p., regardless of what other actions are being sung and danced in Supreme Court these many months and years.

Vote for a Public Inquiry into how BC Rail slid from public ownership into private pockets! Yes! YES!!

Brilliant suggestion, Alex! Thank you!!

BC Mary.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Dave Barret in 1972, and supported him to the end. The current party is committing suicide by whimping out on B-V-B while trying to outdo the Libs on servitude to BC cops.

Now the NDP's cop centrist elite has rubber stamped the appointment of Stan Lowe to the Office of the Police Complaint Commission. Lowe sandbagged Crown prosecution of cops in the Ian Bush and Robert Dziekanski cases. Cop doormats like Kwan-Nuraney-Farnsworth will take the party down.

I was at the Braidwood Commission hearings (Dziekanski Tazer death) today. Cst Gerry Rundel was ripped to shreds in examination. On 5 AM, or 3 hours after the tazering, he claimed tazering was justified because Dziekanski "held up a taser in a threatening manner." After a Commission attorney showed him video proof that no such thing happened, Rundel recanted.

The lead officer - Benjamin Robinson (under current DUI/negligence criminal charges) - gets to testify last. Rundel claimed he was unaware of 2 taser strikes, that were inflicted while he easily hold RD down. That removes non-compliance and resistance as causes for 2 tazer strikes. Cst Billington - the only officer with tazer training - is painted as only following orders; on Rundel's testimony, Cst Bentley - who only followed up Rundel's physical work - will likely follow Rundel's testimony. It appears that 3 cops will paint the initial use of a Conducted Energy Device as lawful, and if Rundel's testimony is indicative of what is to come, then they won't back Robinson's defence as to the other two.

Criminal charges are supposed to follow circumstances where there is a controversy of fact that founds an issue for trial. I have seen enough to convict all 4 cops of Assault, however, 3 (allow I would like to hear Cst Bentley speak of his bizarre use of his asp baton on a limp hand), have mitigating factors that would have effected sentencing, had Lowe not defeated justice.

Last, demeanour is the test of credibility. I watched Braidwood, and he only rarely looked at Rundel. Credibility issues were raised on 3 occasions today. How on earth can Braidwood produce an objective decision?

Why would politically appointed judges pay attention to NDP disclosure requests, when party leaders defer to dubious government choices?

A. G. Tsakumis said...

Thanks Mary--always good to hear from you.

Look, this is really simple...this case is the most significant (alleged) corruption case in the history of this province--period. To reduce it down to simple terms: If as Madame Justice Bennett states, that the pubic right to know is "overwhelming" then if this is tossed from court, the public's right to know must be satisfied, quite plainly, for ALL to see.

Otherwise, if that public "right to know" is not satisfied, we will be looking at the emancipation of evil.

Right in the eyes...

Anonymous: Yes, I did describe Carole that way, and that was several months ago. Since then she has found her political mojo, for the most part. I report what I see: I saw that she was bloviating and floating, I reported it; she changed, and in some instances dramatically, so I wrote about it. Nothing complicated, but thx for asking.

More to the point, Carole James' problem is that there are already three MLAs who are quietly running leadership campaigns, praying that she will not win.

However, if the NDP concentrate on the key twelve constituencies (and they can help this cause by encouraging against this bloody idiotic STV) then they might be able to pull it off.

I'll name them for you:

The two North constituencies
Two Burnabies
Two on the Island
Surrey (the new one)
Point Grey (yes, the Premier's own constituency)
Kamloops (one)

There are others too...but I'm tired and heading to bed. I will do a full column on these soon.


coaster said...

Alex says that the Opposition motion will delay the proceedings. That is likely true, but as things stood, there was no chance of any important information coming out before May 12, so an application for disclosure was the only option. "Hail Mary" pass... sure, but it is the only option.

Anonymous said...

I listened to van Dongen's get tough on gangs speech.

Fortunately, I wasn't driving or operating heavy equipment at the time......

Anonymous said...



The Libs won the seat by a 23% margin in '05 and it was their 16th safest seat.

Perhaps you were thinking of Surrey-Cloverdale? :)