Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Judge in Basi-Virk case asks why no RCMP notes on dropping ex-Finance Minister Gary Collins as suspect

Justice Elizabeth Bennett agrees with defence question why former Finance Minister Gary Collins was dropped as suspect and why RCMP haven't produced a single note on their decision

In her sweeping disclosure application ruling of June 4, BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett addresses a central argument of the defence - that former ministerial assistants David Basi and Bob Virk were acting on the instructions of Collins, Basi's minister.

"It is clear that Minister Collins was under police suspicion in December 2003. Requests were made for briefings to the highest level of the RCMP, yet there is nothing I have seen in writing that indicates who made the decision to stop pursuing Minister Collins as a suspect and when that decision was made."

"It would be very surprising that such a document does not exist. Indeed, I must conclude that there are notes or other documents addressing this issue. This was too important a decision not to have documentation," Bennett wrote.

Bennett also notes that Collins was referred to in RCMP briefing notes three times in December 2003 and was under surveillance on December 12, including when he had dinner with two OmniTRAX executives at Vancouver restaurant Villa del Lupo.

Despite this, Bennett says: "There is no mention of Minister Collins in any disclosed police note, briefing note, or continuation report until weeks later."

Thanks to her order, if such notes or documentation exist they will be made available to the defence.

Basi and Virk are charged with breach of trust and fraud for giving confidential government BC Rail privatization documents to OmniTRAX, one of the bidders, through lobbyist Erik Bornmann, now the key Crown witness against them.


Anonymous said...

Is the media entitled to report on the Government documents application?

What is that all about and shouldn't the media apply to get their hands on it?

Bill Tieleman said...

The media are entitled to report on all court proceedings except if there is a publication ban.

I would expect the defence application for access to government documents related to BC Rail to be made available to the media after it has been filed.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I'm enjoying your coverage of the Basi-Virk-Basi trial ...

I can't find your email address but according to Blogger you will vet this comment before it goes public.

My question: In your recent articles on The Tyee, you name Bornman's laywer as George McIntosh.

Is this actually George MacIntosh QC, Farris Vaughn senior partner, who also represents Ken Dobell?

There's no need to post this comment to your blog, I just wanted to ask the question.

Bill Tieleman said...

I believe George Macintosh of Farris Vaughn was representing Erik Bornmann in his immunity deal with the Crown. My error in the spelling.

Anonymous said...

The media quoted Michael Bolton on the fact that the application was filed.

You should get your hands on it.

Anonymous said...

Message to the Pilothouse boys who thought they had ridden of into the sunset - brace yourself boys there is more to come!! Enjoy your summer, tie the knot, have lots of fun, its going to get very very interesting and very very hot really soon!! I wonder what those financial records will show??

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't get to see the books from Harmony Air - they helped out Paul Martin and gave a job to Gary Collins - love to know if any was listed as a "political contribution".
Would also be interesting to find out if Pilothouse ever gave a contribution back to the liberal party.

Budd Campbell said...

Harmony Air helped out Paul Martin? How did they do that? This is the first I have heard of this.

It will be interesting to see how Gary Collins reacts to being back in the news, and whether or not his lawyer starts threatening lawsuits to every reporter and commentator who mentions his name in connection with his one-time Assistant. And can I conclude that Collins is/was a Paul Martin rather than a Jean Chretien Liberal?

Anonymous said...

Harmony and young Liberals.

Here's what you're looking for Budd:


Budd Campbell said...

Thanks gw. That was interesting.