Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Basi-Virk Special Prosecutor team member Janet Winteringham runs in BC Law Society Bencher election

Basi-Virk case Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham is running for election to the position of Bencher at the BC Law Society.

Benchers are the Board of Directors of the BC Law Society.

As the Law Society website explains: "They govern the work of the Society in accordance with the Legal Profession Act, set and enforce standards of professional responsibility for lawyers and oversee the implementation and administration of Law Society programs. There are usually 10 Bencher meetings per year."

The BC Law Society elects 12 lawyers from the Vancouver region on Monday, November 16 to two-year terms and Winteringham is among 23 candidates for the position of Bencher .

Winteringham is second in command under senior Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino in the prosecution of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - the three former BC Liberal government aides facing corruption charges related to the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail in 2003.

David Basi and Bob Virk were ministerial assistants at the time and are alleged to have passed on confidential government information about the bidding to Erik Bornmann, a lobbyist for bidder OmniTRAX.

Bornman and lobbyist partner Brian Kieran are now both key Crown witnesses who face no charges but are alleged in police documents unproven in court to have provided benefits to Basi and Virk for the information. Aneal Basi is charged with money laundering related to the alleged payment of benefits.

Winteringham is a veteran lawyer called to the BC Bar in 1992. She and two partners own Winteringham MacKay George - a boutique criminal and civil litigation practice.


BC Mary said...

If elected, would this require that Ms Winteringham step aside from the Basi Virk trial?

Anonymous said...

Didn't she work with Berardino's firm?

Bill Tieleman said...

No, Winteringham has not worked at Bill Berardino's firm.

Anonymous said...

Let's just hope this doesn't cause more delays. The darned trial has already gone on too long.

Bill Tieleman said...

No resignation would be required if Janet Winteringham is elected - the Benchers are all active lawyers with a wide variety of careers underway.

Gazetteer said...

While I very much appreciate Bill's digging on all things pertaining to the BC Rail matter, I must confess that I find the fact that this item is actually a matter of interest to be a strong indicator of how well the stalling tactics have worked.

And I say this without any snark whatsoever given the fact that the current state of affairs is so disheartening.

In fact, I am one of those folks that has hoped, from almost the very beginning, that the trial would go forward and that evidence would be presented and scrutinized to the fullest and in the most fulsome manner possible.

Now, I'm sorry to have to admit that I am no longer convinced that will ever happen.




Evalynn said...

So why is Winteringham's potential position as a Bencher of any significance ? Are you suggesting anything untoward may result ? If it is a position where abuse of power is a concern then do we need to be aware of just who will be involved in the voting ?

Anonymous said...

Is there a conflict of interest if
a Bencher has done work for the provincial gov't? Webster used to be a part of this group as did my former doctor. Who represents media and medical now?

Bill Tieleman said...

To be clear - I am not suggesting anything negative at all in Janet Winteringham's run for the Law Society Bencher position - I just mention it out of interest.

Janet has been unfailingly polite at all times to the media in my experience and simply has the job of being Special Prosecutor in a high profile case.

Other high profile lawyers are also running, including my former counsel David Crossin and Art Vertlieb - most recently counsel for the Braidwood Inquiry.

Anonymous said...

You did not answer the question of which media member is now a Law Society Bencher and which Doctor? Tried to send a message about info available about BC Rail today and it was blocked, or censored. Warren Buffet bought Burlington
Rail yesterday which means more use of LA Port and less need of Vancouver and no need for Deltaport. Have also accessed
info on Gordo's visits to WA state
and was about to get Kinsella's but no one seems to care. Is your site still sending info to Chinese?

Bill Tieleman said...

Ross K - I hope you read my earlier posting on the Ontario case the was delayed 56 months and thrown out for taking too long - and then the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned that decision and ordered the trial to resume. Best news for a trial in Basi-Virk I've seen yet.

To Anonymous 8:55 p.m. - I looked at the Benchers and don't see any obvious media people among the Lay Benchers - the non-lawyers. The links in my posting let you look for yourself. There is one doctor listed.

Gazetteer said...



I really, really hope you are right.

However, I think you can understand my growing concern.


Anonymous said...

Forgive my ignorance, but what are "Benchers" and what does this body do?

Bill Tieleman said...

Read paragraph 2 of this story.

Follow the links.

Skookum1 said...

Are you suggesting anything untoward may result ?

Nothing untoward, perhaps, but it's an old saw that politics is about optics. And the fact is that she is counsel in a very high profile, very political legal case, and therefore the nomination and associated election cannot be seen as anything but ultimately political in nature. Maybe as a test of the legal community's opinion of the case, and of Crown Counsel's performance therein.

So while the Law Society's inner workings are usually obscure to the public's eyes as much as proceedings within Masonic halls, in this case there's a decided public interest because of the political nature of the prosecution she is now engaged in. And in a society where law and government are increasingly decided in court, and argued by lawyers rather than politicians (who won't comment "because the matter is before the courts), the response of the members of the Law Society to this nomination and election is worth dissecting....maybe only a tea-leaf reading, but maybe also a portent of which way the wind is blowing within the legal community, vis a vis the Campbell/BC Liberal style of government and also Crown's handling of this case....