RCMP officer denies force wanted Basi-Virk material destroyed
Exclusive interview with 24 hours newspaper
By BILL TIELEMAN
24 hours Vancouver/QMI AGENCY
A lead RCMP investigator in the political corruption trial of two ex-B.C. Liberal government ministerial aides strongly denies claims the force wants material disclosed to the defence destroyed to frustrate a possible public inquiry.
Superintendent Kevin deBruyckere said in an exclusive interview with 24 hours that allegations the RCMP wants to get back information disclosed to lawyers for David Basi and Bob Virk in order to make it disappear are totally false.
“It’s nonsense. It’s just ridiculous,” de Bruyckere said. “The Crown discloses material and at the end of the trial recovers that material.”
Basi friend Mike Geoghegan claimed last week police were pressuring Basi to cooperate with what he said is their intention to regain trial materials in his possession and destroy it.
But deBruyckere flatly rejects that.
“There’s lots of material given through disclosure to these guys that they have no right to have,” he said.
If a public inquiry is called, the over one million pages of government and police documents disclosed will still be available, deBruyckere said.
“The disclosure material stays on our file for the legislated retention period, which in this case is at least 10 to 12 years, before any consideration is given to destruction of records,” he said.
A veteran Vancouver lawyer agrees that returning disclosure material is standard practice.
“On a general basis, the defence sometimes provides an express undertaking to return disclosure materials at the conclusion of a criminal matter,” said David Layton. “This sort of undertaking is not unusual in cases involving sensitive material.”
Basi and Virk made a surprise guilty plea bargain last month, admitting to fraud and breach of trust charges and receiving two year less a day house arrest sentences for leaking confidential government documents in the $1 billion sale of B.C. Rail to lobbyists for a bidder.
The government also agreed to pay their $6 million defence fees charged since the investigation became public in December 2003 with an unprecedented police raid on the B.C. Legislature.
Basi’s lawyer Michael Bolton declined comment on the issue.