Monday, May 17, 2010

BASI-VIRK - Day One of Trial - more waiting, more legal wrangling

The Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid trial began this morning - sort of.

And was delayed again this afternoon till Tuesday morning.

UPDATE - 3:45 p.m. For the second time today, BC Supreme Court Associate Justice Anne MacKenzie summoned the jury in the BC Legislature raid corruption trial into the courtroom and then sent them away without hearing arguments or testimony.

Legal wrangling managed to once again delay the trial by one more day, but a publication ban prevents reporting on what happened.

MacKenzie's instructions to the jury and the Crown's outline of its case against David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi are now expected to come on Tuesday morning.

Former B.C. Liberal government ministerial assistants David Basi and Virk and former government communications officer Aneal Basi all face charges related to the 2003 sale of Crown corporation B.C. Rail for $1 billion to CN Rail.

On December 28, 2003 police launched an unprecedented search of the B.C. Legislature looking for evidence. Basi, Virk and Basi were charged one year later.

A publication ban imposed by MacKenzie prohibits reporting on any court proceedings that take place in the absence of the jury.

The trial is now set to begin Tuesday at 10 a.m., with more than 40 Crown witnesses to include former cabinet ministers Gary Collins and Judith Reid and Premier Gordon Campbell’s current chief of staff Martyn Brown testifying over six to eight weeks.

But I won't be there Tuesday or the rest of this week - I'm heading back to Nanaimo, where my mom is very ill in hospital. Thanks for all the support and best wishes we've received here, by email, Facebook and in person at court today - they are all greatly appreciated.

I will be following the case from Nanaimo and commenting here when I can.


Media, lawyers and observers trooped into a full courtroom before 10 a.m. but as has happened so often in the more than 6 years since the BC Legislature was raided on December 28, 2003 - more pre-trial legal arguments delayed the proceedings.

Due to a publication ban imposed by BC Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie - who is presiding over the trial - I cannot report on what those arguments were, as the jury was absent.

The 12 jurors briefly appeared only to be told by MacKenzie to return at 2 p.m.

Today's schedule - which is now off course - was planned to being with MacKenzie's instructions to the jury and the Crown's overview presentation of its case against the accused - Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi, then the first Crown witness would have appeared.

It now appears that MacKenzie may have time to give her instructions and perhaps Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino will start his outline - but it is impossible to know at this time.

Stay tuned.



Anonymous said...

At least they are consistent in their strategy.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for your mother.

Your presence and reporting will be missed.

Anonymous said...

God bless

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your Mother,but don't give up hope,and I will say a pray for her....

Anonymous said...

The trial will be delayed till Friday afternoon along with other document dumps,are you forgetting the long weekend is on deck,sorry to hear about your mom Bill and hope everything turns out well for her,and yourself.

Klaus said...

Well, it's not like we're going to miss anything. Take care of your mom and yourself. I'm sure she'll be back on her feet before anything happens in the trial that you're allowed to report about.

Anonymous said...

Gary Mason here. I've only learned now that you won't be around for the opening days of the trial. I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. Going through much the same thing with my dad back in Ontario. I hope that your mom gets better soon. Meantime, we'll save your seat in the courtroom until you get back.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Robin Matthews can keep the seat warm till Bill gets back?

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks for all the support - it is most appreciated.