Thursday, March 04, 2010

Judge imposes sweeping publication ban on Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid Case

UPDATE March 9-2010

In reporting the information below I inadvertently missed the full scope of Justice Anne MacKenzie's publication ban order - it is far more sweeping than I realized, because what is online at the BC Supreme Court website is different than her actual order.

If you check
the link here it leads to a PDF file online with the actual signed order - this is what it says:

"Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, no information about these proceedings including evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

Note that there is no reference to "in the absence of the jury" as it says in the online Publication Ban section of the BC Supreme Court website I quoted below.

This is an extremely important - and I have no idea why the wording is different but clearly the reproduced order is the actual document, not the website summary.

What this means is that potentially no one could report on the trial of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi until it is over!!!

Certainly nothing can be reported until either after the trial is over - or untl Justice MacKenzie changes her order.

I regret relying on the website version - which you can see is quite different - than the actual publication ban.


Justice Anne MacKenzie has imposed a publication ban on the media reporting certain aspects of the BC Legislature Raid case pending the trial of former BC Liberal government aides David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi on corruption charges related to the $1 billion sale of BC Rail.

Here is the publication ban posted online at the BC Supreme Court website regarding David Basi - the other two are the same.

More on this later - if possible! SEE BELOW

Publication Ban Notification Project

Ban Details

Registry Number:23299

Case Name:R. v. Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi


Registry: Vancouver

Order By: Supreme Court

Statute: , Other


Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court.

UPDATE 5 p.m. - If anything I am even more concerned about this publication ban, having considered the possible consequences and lack of clarity on what can and cannot be published - and make no mistake - online blogs are publications for all legal purposes.

Below is the section of the Criminal Code which Justice MacKenzie has used to implement the publication ban.

I continue to investigate exactly what this means, but pose these questions - for which I have no answers:

1) Can I write a speculative article on the trial - what the defence and Crown arguments will likely be given the pre-trial hearings to date?

2) If I learn new information about the role of a potential or actual witness in the trial can I publish it?

3) Why can't I publish "any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings" when they have previously been published widely?

4) H
ow would I find out any of these answers short of getting a knock on the door by a police officer after breaking the ban?

No one wants to jeopardize the rights of the accused to a fair trial, no one want to influence the jury and no one wants to violate the efforts of the courts to ensure the trial is conducted appropriately.

But these fundamental questions and many more are troubling given the lack of information provided with this publication ban order.

Here is the Criminal Code section Justice MacKenzie cites above:

Criminal Code s.648 - Restriction on publication

(1) After permission to separate is given to members of a jury under subsection 647(1), no information regarding any portion of the trial at which the jury is not present shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way before the jury retires to consider its verdict.


(2) Every one who fails to comply with subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.



Anonymous said...

No surprise. Hope they have a huge viewing section in the courtroom.

How likely is it that the MSM will contest this ruling?

Anonymous said...


My read of this suggests that any person printing any article based on the years of judgements that have been made in this case would be in violation of this order.

For example, your reports from the Supreme courts decision to provide the defence emails from the Premier may be violating this order as those articles are still on your site.

Quite frankly, does my comment go against Justice Mackenzie's order?

Norman Farrell said...

What is the precedent for this? It seems so broad that it goes against rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Anonymous said...

I would humbly suggest that everyone publish and/or post and/or comment as much as they can on the "Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid Case". Then could we form a a class action suit against who?

Anonymous said...

Does it imply that comments on news sites such as here or the cbc will no longer be able to publish BCRail related comments?

They are already edited as it stands.

Anonymous said...

I think that this announcement coming from the court in the absence of a court hearing into the publication ban speaks volumes about why Justice Mackenzie was appointed.

This leads to more questions about the trial and the lead up to the case.

David Karp said...

Your questions are good. I'm curious of the answers myself now.

I first thought the CP Stylebook might have answers. But I don't think it does. The only thing it says that might be relevant (specifically to your second question) is that "Witnesses can be interviewed when a crime is committed, but their statements should not be used to link a specific suspect to actions that could be disputed later in court. Witnesses must not be interviewed once a suspect has come before the courts."

As for the all-important fourth question, I checked the BC Supreme Court website and they say, very unhelpfully, "It is the responsibility of members of the public who attend court proceedings or access court judgments to inform themselves of the circumstances under which publication bans may be in effect and to ensure compliance with those bans."

If I were you, I'd email Jill Leacock (because it sounds like she deals with journos at the court) and see if she can answer your questions, and if not, refer you to someone who can. I found her contact info here:

Skookum1 said...

I can see the headline now:

"Several bloggers jailed over coverage of trial"

Note that this doesn't say "trial connected with sale of BC Rail" or even "Basi-Virk trial". I wouldn't be surprised if further edicts from the bench make it impossible even to mention the existence of the trial.

Also, that headline would have to appear, most likely, in a US or UK paper.......

And for the record, even though blogger and wikipedia operate off US-based servers, contributors to them from Canadian sources (even if posted manually, i.e. by manuscript sent and typed into them on the other side of the border) would still be in violation of the order.

I think it's pretty clear that Justice Bennett, who felt strongly about the public's right to know and acted accordingly, would never have brought in such a ban. And one of the real reasons why Justice Mackenzie was brought to this case is now apparent; as if it weren't already. To clamp down on the truth, and criminalize all those who want it told.

Justice Dohm and Gordon Campbell probably shared a toast over this (and on the public tab, most likely).

I can't imagine this travesty of justice being allowed in the UK or the US. Can you imagine the media feeding frenzy if they were told that a high-profile corruption case was off-limits to report on simply because it had gone to jury?

This country is a dictatorship. Don't let anybody tell you it's a democracy or wrap themselves in the mantle of what a great country it is. Gold medals bedamned, they mean nothing as far as "what a great country this is". If that were the case the Soviet Union, East Germany and the People's Republic were wonderful and benevolent.

Justice Mackenzie you should be ashamed yourself. Whatever belief you may have had in democracy and justice you have now just revealed to have been a youthful indiscertion; welcome to the ranks of the cynical judicial appartchik. Your pension is is your place in history (though it's not a nice place in history, and you will be vilified by generations to come as a willing hack of a corrupt regime).

Skookum1 said...

Justice Bennett released thousands of hidden documents to public view/inspection.....Justice Mackenzie has just made it illegal to talk about what's in them.......

Norman Farrell said...

Bloggers could take this back to court for reversal. But then, the cost of court actions in this province prohibit all but the rich from doing this.

Then, we should rely on our free and independent newspapers to appeal as they have done long ago. Well, maybe not. Seems Canwest never wanted to report much on this case anyway.

How about electronic media? Shaw, Rogers and the others? No. They too have business reasons to cooperate with governments, don't they.

People. This is why concentrated ownership of media is dangerous and why inhibiting access to the courts is dangerous.

Leah said...

This has proven one thing to me, like nothing else has.

The BCSC is as corrupt, filthy and vile as the Campbell government is. One hand feeds the other.

One can almost imagine them sipping their favorite drink on a beach somewhere in a sunny clime (Palm Springs come to mind?)...laughing their arses off about those silly folk back home who really believed there is such a thing as integrity in the courts or the legislature.

Rav said...

....."there shall be no publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of any evidence, submissions, rulings or Reasons for Judgment given in these proceedings in the absence of the jury until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

essentially, we can talk about stuff that is mentioned in court during the trial when the jury is present, but we cannot talk about stuff when they are not present...

i assume anything published upto now is okay... but we cannot say anything that has not been shown to the jury..... so from now until may 3, we probably should keep our mouth shut and then after talk about what the jury has heard? is this a correct interpretation of it?

Bill Tieleman said...

Rav - you are likely correct - that means no pre-trial summaries of the case from the past 6 years, no articles on the defence or Crown arguments, no profiles of key players - nada, nothing, zip.

A fine state of affairs.

Anonymous said...

..... and all because the Defense team sought a trial by jury, rather than the judge.

Seeing as how the jury hasn't been selected yet, anything published now, and during the trial, would tamper due process of there being a fair this day and age of blogs.

Anonymous said...

Stalin, Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, and Robert Mugabe would have been extremely proud of BC courts and judges.

Arne S. said...

Regarding our “rights” to information, I would like to recommend this article that was published in January 2010 in the Kamloops Daily News (but not picked up by the MSM).

The article states how the Interior Health Authority was able to obtain a permanent ban on a video that shows care facility staff abusing an elderly man. This ban is so draconian that no one is allowed to even describe the contents of the video! The man’s family was so harassed, and intimidated (by taxpayer-funded lawyers) that they have left the province.

The reason given by the Health Authority for seeking the permanent ban was to protect staff privacy. Seriously. Apparently staff privacy trumps the safety and rights of an elderly person in care. Police, the Ministry of Health, Attorney-General, and the courts all looked the other way. A crime (supposedly of such a horrendous nature that no one should ever see it, or even have it described) was allowed to be committed.

We in BC are doomed to become, and perhaps already are, a society of monsters, where police and health “care” facility staff abuse innocent parties with impunity, using their powers to engage in (literally) unspeakably awful acts.

But hey, let’s party on like there’s no tomorrow – and that’s just what we’ll get (if we’re lucky). If we’re unlucky we’ll be locked in a facility with staff who have their own ideas of partying.

Our society is being hollowed out before our very eyes. Just like a spider hollows out the shell of an insect, having sucked all the juices out of it and drained it of life.

Rod Smelser said...

Alright, here goes.

Who is Anne Mackenzie, really? What is her complete biography, personal, professional and political, from junior high school to today.

Or is there a prohibition on publishing that, too?

Anonymous said...

use twitter, can't convict everyone

Anonymous said...

post from other countries, redirect servers, do what ever has to be done to get the truth out, email your friends overseas, especially Britain and the US they love Canadian gossip. Direct Canadians to the links, this law only applies in Canada.

Anonymous said...

hear no evil speak no evil see no evil,maybe the blindfolded lady that's holding the scales statue should be replaced by a three monkeys,statue?

kootcoot said...

"But these fundamental questions and many more are troubling given the lack of information provided with this publication ban order"

Also need I add, given the amount of avoidance of the trial to date by the so-called "real" media, the constant obfuscation, actions that would appear to be evidence tampering and Stonewalley's (and any of the rest of them questioned about anything up to the actual existence of the proceedings) eternal chorus of "It's before the courts are also troubling.

I think anon above (2:17) may be overly concerned that you may need to remove posts dealing with the trial from the last six years. If that were so then Lenny Asper (oops he's gone) and Pointy of the Sun better get busy collecting a shredding their previous editions. They won't need to look for many though, as they've been pretty lax in finding this newsworthy. Shredding every Sun ever printed or that will ever be, now there's idea!

As to "publishing" and where it is published - I'm thinking of having an American friend, close by, attend (he's much closer than I - he could vote against John Les, except for the Medicine Line) the proceedings - can he "communicate" his impressions to me PERSONALLY?

BTW, it seems mostly older folks know shorthand anymore!

"..... and all because the Defense team sought a trial by jury, rather than the judge."

The BVB boys are likely playing along - the prosecution (and the judge) wanted them to request a jury, just for this reason - the fix is in. Otherwise the best defence would be to come clean and roll over on the higher life forms. But just think of how many jurors can be excluded for being aware of the issues and perhaps having an opinion. The only eligible members of the jury pool will be the most unaware (a very large pool) of the electorate.

Let's have a betting pool and try to pick how many jurors finally seated actually voted last May. I'll take 3, or 4 if 3 is taken.

This ban likely would eventually be overturned after lengthy appeals - cuz we all know the Campbell crowd will appeal anything on our time to the last level - and so will Wild Bill Beradino as in the Secret Witness appeal all the way to the top.

On the other hand, if Stevie gets to appoint seven judges to the Supreme Court of Canada it is goodbye justice for the rest of my lifetime. I'm surprised he doesn't make the bench longer so he can appoint some already - like Brian did with the Senate so he could win! We only cheat if we have to!

Anonymous said...

did you know that your blog and BC Mary's blog disappeared for a couple of days?

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks - I've heard this blog and BC Mary's were offline for a while but it definitely was not for two days - I have no knowledge of what happened and never had any problem accessing it myself.

Sometimes when I'm posting an item it is temporarily down during that time but it sounds like it was longer than that.

Anonymous said...

maybe it just felt like two days...

I check this blog compulsively.

Anonymous said...

I disagree on one point....the jury will be well trained and hand picked by the mob. Very scary times these are. Our priority should be working together to get a voting system that works, one that reflects each vote, believe it is somewhere in Europe....NOT the two CHOICES Campbell gave the citizens, FPP or STV, both bad like Himself, he's a complete joke, sick, sick. If we don't I can see the Campbell family abolishing voting, seriously, and ruling til they die then pass it on down the family. We must save our province and our country from these tyrants.

Anonymous said...

Onto another serious matter.

The Green Party is reviving the call for electronic voting in provincial elections. The internet is so damn insecure that I would never support that.

I can imagine my rich religious-conservative sister voting a thousand times. (And my computer literate lefty friends doing the same, too!)

It would be a total mess rife with abuse.

PLEASE - One person one vote. All voters must be verified by a real live sworn election official!

Even the "simple" electronic tabulation systems used in civic elections are prone to abuse.

Anonymous said...


Explain to me why Justice Mackenzie has imposed a publication ban on the BC Rail case when another high profile case involving inderjit Singht Reyat of the Air India case, has not?????

Inderjit Reyat is charged with perjury and his jury selection hearing happened last week. The trial is scheduled for next week. Media reports were detailed in the hearing regarding the reasons for potential jurists not being available to sit.

Justice Mackenzie continues to raise questions about her appointment.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone can correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't this a standard publication ban used in jury trials? I think there are two reasons for it: first, to allow for a fair jury selection process; and second, so the jury doesn't see anyting in the media that hasn't been presented as evidence at trial. The jury is only allowed to consider evidence presented at trial. In the Air India case, and many others, there were many pieces of information that were not released until after the verdict. After the verdict, it's all fair game.

Anonymous said...

The Air India case was Judge alone with Justice Ian Josephson. Publications bans in that trial involved secret witnesses, not any pre-trial decisions


Two trials, two different judges, both are jury trials. One with a publication ban one without. Something does not add up.

You can read about the prejury trial in today's MSM, but don't look for any mention of the upcoming BC Rail trial given Justice Mackenzies order.

Rod Smelser said...

Bill -

I cannot find any mention of this publication ban on either PublicEyeOnline or The Tyee. Is there a reason they aren't talking about it?

kootcoot said...

AnonoMouse at 5:38
"If we don't I can see the Campbell family abolishing voting,"

Which "Campbell" family would be in charge of abolishing voting, the old one, or the new one, the real one or the pretend one (the one brought out for elections and other special occasions)!

And Rod Smelser:

I cannot find any mention of this publication ban on either PublicEyeOnline or The Tyee. Is there a reason they aren't talking about it?

Maybe they think the ban extends to the ban itself!

E.M said...

Pardon Me if this has been brought up, the BC Court f Appeal page tells Us that

" "The publication ban prohibits the publication in any document or broadcast or transmission of evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment given in this proceeding in the absence of the jury. This publication ban will expire when the jury renders its verdict.
As a result of this publication ban order, all of the rulings and Reasons for Judgment which were previously published on the Court's website have been removed. These rulings and Reasons for Judgment will be re-published when the publication ban expires. "

Court of appeal webpage
I did a search and found two decisions only regarding Basi Virk, and that is the Publication ban.
NOTE: It does not say in the absence of the Jury.
Pursuant to s.648of the Criminal code and inherent jurisdiction of the court,no information about these proceedings including evidence,submissions, rulings,and Reasons for judgement shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court.March 02 2010,%202010.pdf

-----posting at Mary's also--

Anonymous said...

this ruling was brought down to cover the judges ass for the future rulings she'll be making ,and also to cover the ass of the many layers of criminality that have happened in this case by many people the law truly is an asp!

Skookum1 said...

E M, Does the publication ban carry weight outside the boundaries of British Columbia. i.e. is an edict of a British Columbia court binding on all Canadian citizens (and publications)?

E.M said...

Im pretty sure but not positive that its Canada wide ban.

I found this looking for info

The Net Routes Around Censorship
Robert Pickton, 53, is facing 15 counts of first-degree murder in connection with the disappearances of more than 50 women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
As sometimes occurs in high profile cases like this, there is a publication ban.

As another example of "the Net" recognizing censorship as damage and routing information around it, there is a web site where people interested in the case can get access to news items published outside Canada:

An RCMP spokesperson in Vancouver said they are "looking at" web sites to see if there are any breaches of the publication ban.

Here is another good read blod and the ban.

kootcoot said...

"An RCMP spokesperson in Vancouver said they are "looking at" web sites to see if there are any breaches of the publication ban."

Then what? If they can't beat it up, shoot in in the back of the head in self defense, taser it or carry on an illicit affair with it, they're not interested.

Anonymous said...

I had three brothers and a sister, in the armed forces during WW11. BC, is no different than, Communist Russia. Destroying evidence was routine, there was a steady diet of corruption, lying and deceit. Every Russian also knew, about the corruption, in their country, as we know that, BC is rotten to the core. To expect, honesty and decency, of our governing officials and the judicial system is, an exercise in futility. That is not going to happen. How many times have BC citizens been lied to, by, the gruesome twosome. Campbell has, criminal tendencies, we little guys have been victimized by Campbell and Hansen, to know. It would not be, beneath their dignity, to destroy evidence. Lying, is, Campbell and Hansen's forte. We, also knew, the crimes of the RCMP, would go unpunished, and go free to offend again. Our young Canadian boys, were blown to hell, so, this would not happen in Canada. They dammed well saw what, dictatorship, communism and fascists, did to those country's. They died for nothing.

E.M said...

When I noticed the difference yesterday between the one on the SC webpage, and the two ban notices when I did a search under bans, I did not notice the 2 had different headers.

R. v. Basi, R. v. Basi – 2010/03/02
Supreme Court

more ...


R. v. Virk, Basi and Basi, R. v. Virk, Basi and Basi – 2010/03/02
Court of Appeal

Why if it is one trial that they listed it this way???

Anonymous said...

What we have in BC,when it comes to the Basi,Virk,situation is a collection of some really sleazy people. The judge,lawyers and the liberal government.
I would give it all to NBC in the US. They informed 10 million listeners(olympics) what our local neocons news outlets won't do and that is how the foreign owned fish farm owners are killing off our wild stock salmon. Again the actions of another group of really sick people, who contribute to the coffers of the Campbell gov.
I'm sure NBC would like to be involved It's news

David Blair said...

Strange how perspective can affect judgment. Here are Chief Justice McEachern's views on the effect of peaceful picketing of courthouses (from British Columbia Government Employees Union [1983] B.C.J. No. 2504):

33 I also wish to stress, as I mentioned in my earlier reasons, the absolute necessity for the public to have an unrestricted right to attend at courthouses so as to scrutinize what goes on there. I cannot do better than cite Lord Shaw in Scott (Morgan) v. Scott, [1913] A.C. 417 at 477 (H.L.), where, on the question of courts functioning in secret, he quoted both Bentham and Hallam. Particularly appropriate is the dictum of Bentham that "publicity is the very soul of justice". In this sense I think publicity includes both the right to attend and the right to report judicial proceedings.

34 It is clear to me that the establishment of a picket line at a courthouse is calculated to encroach upon and to endanger this most precious safeguard to the open administration of justice because many of our citizens will not cross a picket line.

North Van's Grumps said...

We've seen the wiretap that has been introduced in Pre-trial which covered Dave Basi talking to Gary Collins but according to Hansard in Question Period between Joy MacPhail and G. Plant she raises the "test" required to allow police into the Legislature. The test being Maingot 1980 on parliamentary privileges which prevents police from going on a "fishing trips" via wiretaps.

For all intents and purposes the government has asserted all along that no member of the government was ever under investigation, and the police agree. I suppose the apparent activities by the Finance Minister with Dave Basi in regards to torpedoing radio talk shows with bogus callers doesn't constitute a criminal activity AND as Bill T. often reminds us, the pretrial has not had any rebuttal offered to the courts so don't judge the outcome based on rumors.

The test, Maingot, came about in June of 1980 during WAC Bennett's last term of office, something having to do with RCMP using wiretaps to corral the Dirty Tricks scandal. The police were excused for their actions that time, but it set in place a means by which all parties in the BC Legislature can refer to as etched in stone. Just how far can the police intervene.

We've heard O'Connor referenced many times during the Pre-trial, well here's another one to become familiar with: Maingot

"After considering all the evidence. and in particular the extensive evidence provided to this committee on the law of privilege and contempt by Mr. Horne and Mr. Maingot. and considering the nature of privilege which the member holds in trust for the public, it is the unanimous opinion of the committee that the described actions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police constitute a breach of privilege and a contempt of this House.

[ Page 2850 ]

"This finding relates to the interception of a member's communications from his office telephones within the legislative precincts and the telephones in his constituency office in the period of January 13, 1977, to and including September 27, 1977, and for the period October 19 to and including October 21, 1977, being the dates on which this Legislative Assembly was sitting.

"Your committee further recommends that no action be taken against the RCMP in this instance, as there is no evidence before your committee upon which they could conclude the police were aware that their actions might constitute a breach of privilege or a contempt of the Legislature.

"Your committee wishes to further add that they have made no specific finding in relation to the interception of the member's communications while the House is not sitting or the intercept of communications to and from the member's home. The committee, however, emphasizes the 12-month role of the modem legislator, and further emphasizes that his legislative and constituency duties extend beyond the session, and in many instances into his home. This committee therefore wishes to go on record, in the strongest possible terms, as disapproving of these practices, particularly bearing in mind the right of the public to have free and uninhibited access to their elected members.

"Your committee members were unanimous in their opinion that fear of intercepts such as the one examined by your committee obstructed members in the performance of their legislative duties. The committee accepts Mr. Maingot's evidence that the test of obstruction is a subjective test."


Over at BC Mary's during a Question Period interchange between Joy MacPhail and Solicitor General Rich Coleman there is a further mention of Maingot

Skookum1 said...

NVG: The test, Maingot, came about in June of 1980 during WAC Bennett's last term of office,

Uh, NVG, I'm confused. I'm sure you must mean Bill Bennett, and not WAC, who left office in 1972; unless all dates in your post should be rolled back by a decade.....

Skookum1 said...

Anonymous 9:40: No surprise. Hope they have a huge viewing section in the courtroom.

Not sure where it's gone since, but there was rumbling that there was also going to be a change of venue, possibly to Victoria. Where there is next-to-nil seating for the public and/or for account I read said there was barely room for lawyers...

Bill Tieleman said...

Skookum 1 - the defence dropped the change of venue possibility - the case will be heard in Vancouver - thank goodness for my own reasons. I have no idea about room for observers but it's never, ever been full in 4 years of pre-trial hearings.

North Van's Grumps said...

Skookum 1 you're right, it was Bill Bennett as the Premier in 1980.

Hansard Services
Indexes to Debates

2nd Session, 32nd Parliament (1980)

Full Index

Budget - Throne speech

Hansard Sittings by Page Number
Executive Council and Legislative Assembly
MLAs by Name
MLAs by Constituency
Bills Introduced

Guide to the Old Hansards Web Project


If you go to the above URL and click on "Executive Council and Legislative Assembly" you'll get the list of names.

For a full listing of Hansard Previous Debates except for 2010 the URL is


4th Session, 36th Parliament (2000)

Now this particular Session is the first one that includes the electronic version of Oral Questions