Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Basi-Virk trial opening today - a quick guide

Below is my 24 hours story previewing the BC Supreme Court trial of David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi in the BC Legislature raid case.

I will be in court throughout the day covering the opening day of the defence disclosure application by lawyers for the defence.

I will be appearing on CKNW AM 980's Nightline BC tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. with host Michael Smyth to talk about the day's developments - also broadcast on the Corus Radio Network - tune in if you can.

And I am filing stories for both 24 hours and The Tyee for Thursday, and those stories will also be posted on this blog.

A NOTE: Some media, including 24 hours, are calling today's application the beginning of the trial while other are calling it a "court proceeding". There is some debate as to when exactly a trial begins and so far I've found no definitive answer.

Following the defence disclosure application there will be a Charter of Rights application by the defence, contesting evidence gathering and police conduct appartently.

Then the more recognized section of the trial will begin, with evidence presented, witnesses testifying and being cross examined. The whole process is expected to take six months - possible longer.

Lastly - if you pick up a copy of 24 hours or see it online today you will see pictures of most of the key players.

Quick guide to the Basi-Virk trial


Take a volatile mix of allegations about a controversial billion-dollar privatization, politicians, drug dealing, organized crime, influence-peddling aides and backroom boys with ties to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin's leadership campaign.

Then ignite them all with a police raid on the British Columbia Legislature captured on film.
The sensational claims in what's known as "Basi-Virk" - none of which have been proven - are almost as good as it gets in a political scandal story.

But over three years later the trial is just starting today in what first seemed a case that could topple a government or two.

And perhaps it still could. Early RCMP allegations of links to drug dealing and organized crime were dismissed, however the billion-dollar privatization of B.C. Rail and claims top government officials were bribed by corporate lobbyists will take centre stage.

The case against government aides David Basi, his brother-in-law Bob Virk and his cousin Aneal Basi in front of Justice Elizabeth Bennett unfolds in B.C. Supreme Court beginning with a defence disclosure application expected to produce even more controversial allegations.

The provincial government maintains no decisions were compromised in any way by actions of Basi or Virk. No elected officials have been implicated in the scandal.

While Bennett set aside an estimated six months to complete the case, some think it could go much longer. The evidence is expected to include wiretaps, testimony from federal and provincial political figures and defence allegations of RCMP wrongdoing.

Key Players

David Basi - On trial
Ministerial aide to then-Finance Minister Gary Collins, Basi was a powerful provincial government staffer who also worked as a federal Liberal Party organizer for Paul Martin's leadership campaign.

Bobby Virk - On trial
Bob Virk - ministerial aide to then-Transportation Minister Judith Reid and was another Martin activist.

Aneal Basi
On Trial
Government communications aide

Erik Bornmann
Crown Witness
Provincial corporate lobbyist and former fed-Liberal aide.

Jamie Elmhirst
Partner of Bornmann and Kieran, Ex-pres. of fed.-Liberal Party in B.C. Subpoenaed.

Mark Marissen
Possible Witness
Paul Martin's chief federal Liberal Party lieutenant in B.C., married to Christy Clark.

Gary Collins
Possible Witness
Minister of Finance from 2001 to 2004, hired David Basi, oversaw B.C. Rail privatization.

Bruce Clark
Possible Witness
Brother of ex-B.C. Deputy Premier Christy Clark, federal Liberal Party executive.

Brian Kieran
Crown Witness
Ex-Province columnist-turned-lobbyist and Bornmann partner.


Anonymous said...

Gordon Campbell told us on the CBC radio today that he is pleased to see the case getting into court but since it's there he cannot comment further. So who has been holding back on the paper the defence claims its can't get to see. I looked in my filing cabinet and see nothing there of interst in the case. dl

Anonymous said...


Is it true that the RCMP were investigating Gary Collins and that is why they conducted a massive surveillance operation on him?

What happened to the comment that "no elected officials were under investigation" ??

This is troubling to say the least.

Vancouver Kid said...

I used to play field hockey against the Basi boys back in Victoria. If the prosecution needs character witnesses, I'll testify that aneal basi used to take dives and high stick all the time.