Thursday, April 22, 2010

BASI-VIRK EXCLUSIVE - corruption trial start delayed to May 17 from May 3 - reporting details why prohibited by publication ban

David Basi and his lawyer Michael Bolton outside court, February 2010 - Bill Tieleman photo


BC Legislature raid corruption trial start delayed to May 17 from May 3 but publication ban prohibits reasons why being reported

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

NOTE - I will be discussing this new development with Sean Leslie on CKNW AM 980 at 6:35 p.m. tonight - tune in!

The start of the B.C. Legislature Raid trial for three former B.C. government staffers facing corruption charges has been delayed to May 17 from its scheduled start of May 3.

But because of a publication ban imposed by presiding B.C. Supreme Court Justice Anne MacKenzie in March on all matters connected to pre-trial hearing and other evidence previously discussed in court, reasons for the delay cannot be reported.

An official in the Court Registry told 24 Hours on Wednesday that the trial had been rescheduled to start May 17.

David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi face corruption related charges stemming from a December 28, 2003 police raid on the B.C. Legislature in connection with the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail in November.

The publication ban stops any media from publishing or broadcasting details of what takes place in pre-trial hearings - only evidence presented to the jury in the trial can be reported.

Here is the publication ban implemented by MacKenzie:

"Vancouver Supreme Court

Registry Number: 23299

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

Date: 04/03/2010

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."

As a result of this ban I am unable to report about anything that happened at the pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, including what reasons may have been given for the trial start delay, or whether any future pre-trial hearings are even taking place and when or why.

If a pre-trial hearing is scheduled it becomes public knowledge and reportable when it appears on the BC Supreme Court website scheduling section early the day of the hearing.



DPL said...

Sure hope that when a jury gets into place that the Judge doesn't slap another order on what has been said during the trial. So much for open courts and how Mike Dejong is going to make things better But better for whom? My gosh, with the long delays the witnesses will have to be hauled in by medical aids if the delays get any longer.

Anonymous said...


I assume intelligent speculation is okay, right?

Even if the speculation happens to hit upon the 'actual', and undoubtedly pathetic, reason for ONE MORE in the long list of lame delays in the actual start of this trial...I understand the legislature will be wanting to wind up their affairs before the end of May....I think the last day for submission of bills to Legislative Committee is at the end of this month.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know any investigative reporters out of the jurisdiction of BC courts? This ban has gone TOO far and in my opinion, the judge has gone too far on this one. Remember the lieberals GAG Law! Unconstitutional. In my opinion, this is along the same lines.

BC Mary said...


The BC Rail Trial is in crisis.

And what do we get? The public gets the Courthouse doors slammed in their faces.

But we can still find our way to the BC Supreme Court's daily schedule ... and by memorizing the File Number 23299 we can often find clues,

such as the next court BVB appearance (April 26) or
the subject of a pre-trial conference (Ian Munro).

It's worth a look right now, where it's talking about a Stay of Proceedings ... look it up, under BC Supreme Court Criminal cases completed.

And gee, I hope we haven't broken any laws in having this discussion.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion. The publication ban is based on blogs and websites as being something akin to the news media where their circulation, once upon a time, were the only means by which the public could find out what was happening at a trial.

If every seat were filled in Courtroom 54 by common ordinary peer citizens, and they all stepped outside to discuss amongst themselves what took place inside the Courtroom, without one whisper of those proceedings making it to the jurors, for that's what the ban is all about.... could we have a CHAT room opened up here.

BC Mary said...


Will you talk to us about the STAY OF PROCEEDINGS just announced?

I checked the completed BC Supreme Court listings earlier today. I made notes on what I saw: that there were THREE APPLICATIONS for a Stay of Proceedings "pursuant to S.24(1) on the basis of a breach of S.11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Next thing I know: a Stay of Proceedings is announced as a done deal. Done. Game Over. In secret, apparently.

We need to hear your thoughts on this shocking turn of events, please.

Lippy said...

Quit horsing around.

BC Mary said...

P.S. You can see, in my comment left here at 11:42, where I mention the Supreme Court listings

"where it's talking about a Stay of Proceedings ... look it up, under BC Supreme Court Criminal cases completed ... " as obviously something to happen at a later date, presumably after thoughtful discussion.

Bill Tieleman said...

Mary - I have absolutely no knowledge of the Stay of Proceedings Application you mention nor can I find any reference to it online.

I have no reason at all to believe that a Stay has been applied for or that it would be considered on Monday.

I do know that the start of the trial has been adjourned for two weeks, as my story above indicates.

I would urge readers use some reasonable caution about drawing any conclusions - or about violating a publication ban with comments that I will be forced to disallow.

BC Mary said...



I understood that once the Court itself had listed information for public access -- as on the Court Listings Completed -- that it was then public information.

And everything I have said here, came from the BCSC Listings Completed.

I think where some of us (myself included) went wrong yesterday was in misreading what the Court listing meant.

If you looked it up, you will have seen that it starts right out with: "Stay of Proceedings pursuant to S.24(1) on the basis of a breach of S.11(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ..."

At first, I assumed it meant (or implied) "An Application for a Stay of Proceedings ..." and that's when I left a comment on your blog at 11:42 AM yesterday ... like it was no big deal.

But when readers' comments began to come in, at my blog, accepting a Stay of Proceedings on the BC Rail Case as a done deal ... well, we began to fear the worst. Thank goodness it isn't the case. Or, I should say ... I am hoping it isn't the case. In this case.

Could it possibly be the case? Surely not.

Ludicrus said...

Bill, I read in today's Province that Justice MacKenzie, recently placed in charge of the BC Rail proceedings, has suddenly been appointed by Stephen Harper as BC Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice. This was reported by Keith Fraser. This is a plum position, could this possibly be compensation for a job about to be well done and excuse my ignorance but what does Stephen Harper have to do with the Supreme Court of any province?