Monday, January 28, 2008

Basi-Virk defence demands over 100 emails on BC Rail case that government wants kept secret be disclosed to judge

The defence in the B.C. Legislature Raid case is demanding that up to 140 emails related to the $1 billion privatization of B.C. Rail that the provincial government wants kept secret be disclosed to the judge hearing the case.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough argued in B.C. Supreme Court Monday that Justice Elizabeth Bennett must immediately review the undisclosed emails to determine if they are relevant to the defence of David Basi and Bob Virk, former provincial ministerial aides facing breach of trust charges.

“The net of it is the defence says we have a big problem,” said McCullough, Virk’s lawyer. “These documents should be here right now, you should be reviewing them right now.”

Provincial government lawyer George Copley, who revealed the existence of the emails, told Bennett he would get them to her right away. The full day pre-trial hearing was instead adjourned before lunch until Tuesday.

New Democratic Party MLA Mike Farnworth said after attending the court session that the government should not be trying to restrict defence access to documents.

“Any and all documents should be fully disclosed – it’s a disgrace if they’re not,” he said in an interview. “Once more, another day, another delay.”

The defence was previously seeking access to 17 B.C. Rail-related emails but Copley acknowledged in court that there are far more over which the government is claiming either solicitor-client privilege or cabinet privilege.

McCullough again criticized the lack of disclosure to the defence.

“This process has fallen down so badly that we have 100 to 140 emails that no one has reviewed,” he said.

At one point Bennett contacted Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm, who initially authorized search warrants for the Legislature, to see if he had reviewed them. Dohm had not.

NOTE: A shorter version of this story was published in 24 hours newspaper Tuesday January 29.


Anonymous said...

Things are pretty slow moving, with lots of stalling by the present government, but movement is being made. Back again Tuesday.

If all cases were being held up as bad as this one the system would grind to a halt. Thqnks for taking time from your busy day to keep us informed.
Just read Hall's article in the sun so a few folks are watching and reporting.

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand why on earth information at this late date still has not been disclosed.

Why hold back emails? Why hold back other documents? How many other documents are relevant to the sale of BC Rail that the government is refusing to disclose?

Anonymous said...

What a sick pathetic joke this has become. Here we have the defence demanding documents be disclosed that are relevant and key to their case while the special prosecutor and campbell do everything they can to keep this stuff secret using every sleazy underhanded trick they can find.

I have never heard of a case where the accussed want their day in court while the prosecution does everything they can to drag it out.

Anonymous said...

I have reached a point where Watergate and Nixon references just don't cut it anymore.

This province and its media are run like Pinochet's Chile.

The "government" of BC, the "law" courts and the "unbiased" press are a rancid-example of the gross failure of The Estates.

G West said...

Robin Mathews has an interesting take here:

Anonymous said...

What on earth can we do?
Wait for the next election?
Leave a mess for the next government? Help!