Monday, February 18, 2008

Basi-Virk - Hearings delayed till May 5, BC government waives cabinet privilege, defence concerned with undisclosed documents


By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

The trial of three former B.C. government aides facing corruption charges has once again been delayed by at least two months due to problems with the disclosure of evidence to defence lawyers.

BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett was told that pre-trial disclosure hearings previously scheduled for March will instead begin on May 5 with the agreement of the Crown and defence counsel for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi.

And George Copley, a provincial government lawyer, told Bennett that cabinet privilege will be waived over a number of documents related to the $1 billion BC Rail privatization, giving the defence access to them without a court ruling.

But a dispute over other documents the government has refused to release, citing solicitor-client privilege, has not been resolved.

Outside court Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton said a defence disclosure application filed January 4 requests access to a variety of documents from the RCMP's Ottawa headquarters file, the RCMP's Vancouver headquarters, an RCMP Special I [Technical Covert Surveillance] file dealing with wiretap materials, the RCMP's legal applications support file and from the Drug Enforcement Branch.

Bennett approved the public release of the disclosure application but copies were not available by deadline.

Another delay in the trial may come from a Crown appeal of Bennett’s ruling that the defence can be present in court when a secret witness gives testimony. Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino said a B.C. Court of Appeal hearing will be held June 9 on the matter.

Virk’s lawyer Kevin McCullough also complained to Bennett that defence efforts to obtain a “not disclosed” list of documents from the Crown has been repeatedly ignored.

“These are documents they are refusing to disclose now that are clearly relevant,” McCullough said. “I’m concerned.”

Following McCullough's interjections, Bennett agreed that a short update hearing be held on March 11 at 9 a.m.

NOTE - A shorter version of this report was published in 24 hours Tuesday.


Anonymous said...

So what about solicitor client privilege?

those seem to be the key documents that go to the "innocence at stake" principle.

RossK said...

"And George Copley, a lawyer for the provincial government, told the court that cabinet privilege will be waived over a number of documents related to the $1 billion BC Rail privatization, documents the defence had been seeking access to."


Is that 'number' the same thing as 'all' the documents requested.

Further, have any conditions been placed on such a release?



Anonymous said...

Keep and eye on those proceedings Bill for us who can't make it.

a update will be nice so I expect it will be in 24 ho9urs Tomorrow morning

Anonymous said...

I understand Karl Rove is in town for the Fraser Institute.

I expect he will have a great deal of "advice" for Premier Gordon "DUBBYA" Campbell on how to stonewall legal investigations.

I'm sure he will advise Gordo to declare a "BC Patriot Act".

Hey Bill, I bet you would love a free Cuba "vacation" about now.


tinaz said...

After the defence obtains the lists of the documents the Crown appears to have withheld from them, it will then be the matter of the Charter, wherein the bench will find that the defendants' rights have been violated.
Keep in mind Bill that Wally Oppal is in conflict himself, being that he was a judge and now a politician who is directing is crew to screw up so that the corruption continues to be covered up.

Question is how long can these games be played out before a real scandal surfaces.


Anonymous said...

Bill I am confused. Hume reports today in the Globe that the issue of privileged documents appears to be resolved. But you report that it is still in dispute and that the issue has not been resolved?

What gives?

The bottomline - as I see it- is that the issue of privilege does not appear to be resolved if the defence do not have the critical documents. I think Robin Matthews wrote about strict conditions being attached to the documents. Again, what gives?

Thank you again for your updates.

Anonymous said...

Bill I think its important to note the bc liberal government is playing with words. They have released some documents to give the appearance they are cooperating. However they continue to assert solicitor/client privilege on the key documents identified by Justice Bennett as very relevant and one in particular where "innocence is at stake".

Yet another example of just how devious this corrupt bunch is! I look forward to March 11 where the tap dance from the government and its lackies will continue.

RossK said...


Yes - and Mr. Hume had this too when he wrote that the defence believes that there are actually three lists of documents.

These are.....

One list of documents for which privilege will be waived.

One list of documents for which privilege will not be waived.

One list of documents which are, apparently, not on either of the two above lists.


Anonymous said...

solicitor/client privileges? Who is the 'client' of the sol/gen?