Monday, January 25, 2010

BC Legislature Raid trial will finally happen! Crown and defence to set trial date in early February for later this year


Political corruption trial date to be set in early February, over six years after 2003 police raid on B.C. Legislature

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

A trial date in the political corruption case that begin with a police raid on the B.C. Legislature in 2003 will finally be set in early February for later this year, a Special Prosecutor said in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

Bill Berardino said lawyers for the accused – former B.C. Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi – have made such substantial progress working with the Crown on outstanding defence applications that a trial date can be set on either February 8 or 10.

Berardino said the Crown will call seven to 10 core witnesses in efforts to convict David Basi and Virk of breach of trust and fraud and predicted that would take eight to 10 weeks in court.

The two former ministerial aides are alleged to have provided confidential government information to lobbyists representing a losing bidder in the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail to CN Rail in 2003. Aneal Basi faces related money laundering charges.

Justice Anne MacKenzie was visibly pleased at the news a trial date can be set.

“The court wants to acknowledge the hard work of the Crown and defence counsel,” MacKenzie said, referring to negotiations to withdraw potential defence applications, including abuse of process, challenges to wiretaps and disclosure issues.

“This is very helpful to the administration of justice,” MacKenzie said.

Outside court David Basi’s lawyer Michael Bolton said it was “premature to talk about defence witnesses”.

“It depends on which witnesses the Crown call and which witnesses, if any, the defence calls,” Bolton said, also declining to speculate on how long the defence would take to present its case in court.
A version of this story will be published in 24 hours newspaper on Tuesday January 26.


DPL said...

You mean this long delayed case is actually going to get started THIS YEAR

Gary E said...

What I'd like to know Bill, is what else the defense gave up. This is beginning to smell like a smoke and mirrors plea bargain. In other words pleading after the case begins so as not to implicate others already implicated here. I don't know. It just seems strange.

Eleanor Gregory said...

Bill, I know you've made this point several times in your post, however, it bears repeating that the purpose of the hearing set for early February is to "set the date" for trial. This is a scheduling hearing. The trial will not start in early February.

BC Mary said...

Bill, Gary E,

It does seem a bit strange ... like a trial within a trial ... only it's being conducted without a judge.

And so many things are agreed ... to be left off the agenda.

Now who exactly would that please most??

I don't want to think what I'm thinking ...

Anonymous said...

So we have an approximate "start of trial date" at least fives years and two elections past due.

B F D !

Do you guys and gals actually believe our Grity Heroes (on all three sides of this) won't cheat?

I have no doubt a special legal technical issue, ghost written by someone like Stone Wally, will create a a mistrial or a Charter throw out.

Everybody in this (on all three sides) is dirty and in one way or another they all want BASIGATE to go away so they get back to collecting the big $$$.



Crankypants said...

Call me a skeptic, but I don't expect a trial until one actually starts. The fact that the current judge has intimated that a trial date will be set early next month means nothing. There can still be a settlement out of court, which I'm sure would be preferable to the majority of those involved.

The series of events that have taken place in the last year are somewhat suspicious to say the least.

First the original judge is effectively removed by her promotion. Considering that she tended to rule in favour of the defense more often than not may have been the reason. Her rulings tended to lead the media to many avenues of speculation and the email fiasco may have been the last straw.

The new judge has, by her rulings, fast-tracked many issues and in the process quietened the media coverage and thus much of the speculative assertions.

Next we have Jessica MacDonald abruptly leave her post to make way for him to appoint the incumbent deputy AG to her old job. Now we have David Loukadelis replace the former deputy AG. Have these moves been done just because one move necessitated the next, or for a more sinister and calculated reason? It makes one wonder.

If the BC Liberal party and their backers suspect they will go up in flames because of this trial, then they will do everything possible to scuttle it.

There is also the issue of the secret witness. The only one that will hear his/her testimony will be the judge. If she deems that said testimony is inadmissible for whatever reason, what ammunition will the prosecution have left?

The OJ Simpson trial may be rated as nothing more than a sideshow by the time this one comes to a resolution.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think that the fix may be in on this one. The stench will still be lingering long after the actors have left the stage!