By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours
Sparks flew Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court between a lawyer for B.C. Liberal Party insider Patrick Kinsella and defence lawyers for two ex-B.C. Liberal government aides facing corruption charges over Kinsella’s alleged role in the 2003 sale of B.C. Rail.
Kinsella’s lawyer James Sullivan attacked Kevin McCullough, lawyer for Bob Virk, over allegations about the 2001 and 2005 B.C. Liberal campaign co-chair’s role in the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail.
“Mr. McCullough tends to let his imagination run wild and make spurious and unfounded allegations,” Sullivan told Justice Elizabeth Bennett, referring to defence claims in court that Kinsella may have been working for CN Rail as well as B.C. Rail, which paid him $297,000 for “business advice”.
McCullough shot back: “What he has said is wrong and offensive.”
Sullivan has demanded an apology to Kinsella from the New Democratic Party for repeating the allegations, saying his client never met or spoke to Premier Gordon Campbell or his staff about the B.C. Rail sale. NDP leader Carole James refuses to retract the statements.
Bennett also rejected defence allegations that Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel had “interfered” in the prosecution.
“There’s not a scintilla of evidence that Mr. Seckel has acted improperly,” Bennett said in an oral ruling.
Michael Bolton, lawyer for David Basi, said Kinsella will likely be a witness in the trial.
And McCullough raised concerns about who has seen transcripts of the pre-trial hearings obtained by Sullivan through a transcript company, saying potential witnesses are not supposed to see them.
“It’s a very serious issue. These transcripts were out when they ought not to have been,” McCullough said.
UPDATE May 5, 2009
I would like to clarify some points made in this earlier story.
It should be made clear that the error in providing transcripts to Patrick Kinsella's legal counsel, James Sullivan, was made by the transcribing company.
Justice Bennett had previously issued a Court Direction that transcripts of pre-trial hearings were not to be released without her permission.
Sullivan was unaware of the Court Direction and was not informed by the transcribing company when the order was placed. After learning of the Court Direction on April 27, Sullivan wrote to Justice Bennett requesting her views on how to deal with the situation.
At the court session April 30 Justice Bennett agreed with Sullivan's submission that there was no way he could have known about the Court Direction and agreed he could keep the transcripts.