Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Basi-Virk: BC Court of Appeal hears explaining why witness should be secret would take one hour to explain; role of RCMP Inspector DeBruyckere raised

Special Prosecutor suggests case could be dropped if secret witness not allowed

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

The B.C. Court of Appeal heard Tuesday it would take a police officer an hour to explain complex reasons why a witness should remain secret in the case of three provincial government aides facing corruption charges.

And the Crown suggested charges against David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi might be dropped if it loses the secret witness appeal.

Virk’s lawyer Jim Blazina argued the court should uphold a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that defence counsel be present to hear the testimony with an undertaking not to disclose the secret witness’s identity.

Blazina told three justices that the secrecy reasons were extremely unusual.

“You’ve got to hear a police officer explain for about an hour why there’s an informant when usually it takes three sentences,” Blazina said.

To ban defence lawyers from hearing the testimony is “going too far in breaching the rights of the accused,” he argued. "I say the rights of an accused to a fair trial cannot be put aside just because of the issue of informant privilege."

It was also disclosed that references to the police informant came from the continuation reports of RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere. The defence has criticized DeBruyckere’s role because his brother-in-law is Kelly Reichert, B.C. Liberal Party executive director.

Blazina discussed DeBruyckere's connection to the secret witness in some detail in court.

"The court will see what's called a continuation report," from DeBruyckere, he said. "There's a black redacted area and a code. It will become apparent the vetting code is not the code used for a police informant."

Referring to another section Blazina said: "The five blank pages were only provided after the court's order for disclosure in June," referring to presiding BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett's sweeping order in June 2007 for disclosure of missing evidence to the defence.

On Monday special prosecutor Bill Berardino said the Crown would not breach informant privilege, opening the possibility of dropping the case if the court rules in favour of the defence. The Globe and Mail's Mark Hume reported that Berardino declined to elaborate on his statements outside the court.

Also revealed by Blazina on Tuesday was the fact that the evidence disclosed to the defence team has "swelled" to more than 300,000 pages.

The case continues Wednesday.

NOTE: A shorter version of this story will appear in 24 hours newspaper on Wednesday.


Anonymous said...

Hate to appear cynical but has someone persuaded the Crown to get rid of this case? And, any old excuse will do?

RossK said...

I can't believe it.

Another form of privilege???!!

First cabinet, then solicitor, then client, then banker and now.......'informant'?

Maybe sometime, somewhere, somehow we can have a round of 'public' privilege in which we get to know all the secrets between the privitization of a formerly very public B.C. Rail.

Or is that just plain crazy?

btw Mr. T......new counsel for Mr. Virk?


Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Gazetteer - I guess membership has its privileges!

On your question, Jim Blazina is the law partner of Kevin McCullough, who continue to represent Bob Virk in this case.

Anonymous said...

How does a special prosecutor stay charges when he is so, well... 'special'?

Does he have to go see Stone Wally and say is this the bit where I withdraw? Can the lower court proceed without him?

As a punter I wish the AG would put a first liner in there c'mon Wally the jails are full, is that all you got? Let's get on with it.

BC Mary said...

Thanks, Bill, for another informative episode in the Bill Berardino Show.

One of the Anon-O-mice over at my place remembered the original secret police informant Berardino is referring to being called "a threat to national security" ... we so we read up on him again via one of your 2007 columns. (Thanks for that, too.)

That particular witness was, in 2007, the precedent-setting police informant in the Air India Case, who was wanted by police in another country. Naturally, such a colourful witness "needed" the greatest secrecy ... but hardly stands as the kind of unshakable precedent Berardino is talking about ... or as an example of using the Canada Evidence Act in its traditional role.

Justice Finch has already said something about prosecutors who might "bamboozle the court", eh?

Blazina ... what a great name! Sounds like the kinda guy that's needed on this case right now, before the whole dang circus trundles down the highway to Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.


Anonymous said...

snip "...It will become apparent the vetting code is not the code used for a police informant."

Hope to hear more on this aspect raised by Jim Blazina.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't be simpler to just use Death Squads like they did in Argentina and Chile in the 1970s.

Obviously, el Presidente Campbell and his Grit Junta are above the law here.

Throw in the BC On The Take legal system, and bullets look almost logical.

I think we have a Kleptocracy in BC . . . since I doubt if a federal or provincial Liberal could even spell . . . Democracy.


Anonymous said...

Let me get this right, the infamous DeBruyckere, Mr. I am conflicted up the wazoo crack lead investigator is the chosen one who is supposed to tell the judge, in secret, without any members of the public, the media or even defence lawyers why this so called informant should be kept secret.

Correct me if I am wrong this is the same DeBruyckere who is related to Kelly Reichart, the same DeBruyckere who tipped off the premier through his relative, the same DeBruyckere who told us he was not investigating gary collins no wait he was but it wasn't his decision to stop!!

Bill you have to be kidding me, how have we degenerated to such a state of sheer insanity where these pathetic keystone cops can screw something up so badly that its come to this - the rcmp wanting secret hearings for phantom witnesses - do we live in Canada or a banana third world republic???

Anonymous said...

Have a look at what Bill wrote in the April 24 2007 article concerning the Election Act versus the recent amendments...some things never change. Keep in mind this was prior to the Chief Electoral Officer's review of the Act which was attempted to be used as cover to suppressing voting rights.

"That in an intercepted call Oct. 16, 2003, Reichert told Basi that proposed Election Act amendments to allow easier registration of voters, such as aboriginal people and students, had to be stopped. "The changes in those amendments are so profound that we'd lose the next election," Reichert allegedly said."

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court held that if disclosure of the identity of the informant was needed to demonstrate the
innocenceof the accused then the informant privilege was vitiated and disclosure should be ordered by the Court.
The Court held that the identity of an informant should be revealed in three instances:

The informer is a material witness to the crime;
The informant acted as an agent provocateur and played an instrumental role in the crime;
The accused seeks to establish a search was not undertaken on reasonable grounds.

Public Interest Privilege - 2001

R. v. Scott (1990), 61 C.C.C. (3d) 300 (S.C.C.)

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the relationship between DeBruyckere and Battershill was and is, and what it all might have to do with Battershill's problems (which we have never heard the outcome of). There is so much oddness afoot. I feel powerless. I thought good was supposed to prevail in our "democracy."

Anonymous said...

“However, Mr. Berardino objected to that characterization, saying "the Crown wouldn't bamboozle a judge" on such an important issue.”


There is NO secret witness. This is just a very desperate ruse by the Premier through his foil, Mr. Berardino to bamboozle the defense from seeing a “smoking gun” RCMP document.

Anonymous said...

gazetteer, RE: how about 'victims privilege'?---ANON 8:18, they didn't screw up intentionally!??? ---- CSIS can/could clear things up! So why won't they? $$$

Anonymous said...

Anonymous re DeBruyckere and Battershill...Battershill has a reputation of being a nice guy when people need help but can be really hard/tough in the crunch. Maybe there was problems, would the defence lawyers try to use this ? Maybe they have and it hasn't come out. Its all really really strange.

tinaz said...


The case of Basi-Virk is not proceeding to trial because if it would, criminal charges against other government officials would follow.

Right now it appears that everyone involved in the case, from the Crown to the defence and to the judges are leading towards a stay of proceeding.

Tina Z

Anonymous said...

Tina Z;

If the defence were trying to have this case thrown out they wouldn't be fighting to have relevant information disclosed to them.

The only people that want this thrown out are the rcmp, the prosecutor and the campbell government.

Why else would they be playing these games, an open and accountable government, prosecutor and rcmp should have no problem disclosing information - what do they have to hide??

tinaz said...

In reference to anonymous.

What is going on is a big game -Act 2 scene 9 -- and everybody involved in the case benefits except the accused and us the people who are watching and are making our own comments.

I hate to tell you this but unfortunately without disclosure, the case is shut and the Crown knows it has a legal duty to disclose all relevant information to the defence.

The Crown also has a duty to respect the rules of privilege and to protect the identity of informers, and it is the trial judge that is to review such matters.

In this case not disclosing the name of the secret witness in a case involving corruption gives further appearance of corruption.

The Crown is notorious in not disclosing all the necessary documents that would assist the accused in his full answer and defence. It is unfortunate however that many accused charged with a crime do not ever obtain full disclosure from the Crown and as a result many accused are wrongfully convicted because of it.

Tina Z

BC Mary said...

I'd like to hear more from the deBruyckere - Battershill perspective.

I understand that each of these men are straight-arrow, excellent police officers.

Together, they led the raids on the B.C. Legislature. Correct? Which means that they'll give crucial testimony when the BCRail Case comes to trial.

And suddenly, a cloud comes down on Battershill which has been shrugged off in Victoria as a "personnel issue"; but never really explained. He's been posted to a distant job far beneath his capabilities.

DeBruyckere's career was similarly snatched from him (or so it seems to the onlooker) and he's posted to a distant job far beneath his skill level. Co-incidence?

I can't shake off the feeling that the jackals are circling, trying to discredit two excellent men whose testimony will be important in the Basi Virk Basi / BCRail Trial.

If I understand things correctly, these two men are the kind we desperately need in this increasingly desperate society.

I'd very much like to hear from people who know what's going on with them.


Anonymous said...

BC Mary;

Have you taken leave of your senses? Have you forgotten DeBruyckere's link to Reichart and the now infamous "DO NOT DISCLOSE" memo that talks about tipping of campbell??

What next, your going to tell us how honest and ethical campbell is??

Give me a break, check your facts again.

Anonymous said...

BC Mary, as usual, you are right on the mark. I totally agree with what you wrote - it is NOT you that needs to check your facts.

Good work, Bill - sorry for the length of this post but believe a few facts need to be stated:

Anonymous (9:54 pm),perhaps you would be wiser to think twice prior to making assumptions, based on flimsy, surface perceptions. Circumstances NOT as simple as you perceive

I'm also on track with you, Tinaz; I completely understand your comment : "The case of Basi-Virk is not proceeding to trial because if it would, criminal charges against other government officials would follow. it is a game . How many other political bombshell cases have we seen 'dismissed' for the same intent?

The name of the 'game' that is well played out by a circle of "jackals" in BC is to discredit the messengers of the facts and suppress the truth - whatever it takes - it is done outside of due process.

Be certain: this Gang is in full protection mode right now. Their pattern is well practised & surfaces whenever members of the Circle's reputations are at stake. 'They' will do what it takes to 'fix' their problems - this is not the first time.

The tentacles that reach into the BC Supreme Court (keep an eye on the higher bench appointments - timing of promotions etc.) the upper levels of the RCMP,the BC Govt. and not excluding certain Special Prosecutors involved with high profile political wrongdoing.

Please weigh the following:

1. Both DeBruyckere and Battershill ARE respected Officers, well respected by their associates who know the truth. I believe they, too, have become targets as BC Mary suggests. I believe they are clean.

2. None of us are responsible for our relatives LOL, including DeBruyckere! Good grief! Personally, I can well imagine the difficult position DeBruyckere finds himself & just maybe wishes he was not related by marriage LOL. I have no doubt he has & done the right thing as has his team, including S/Sgt. Bud Bishop who delivered his 'treasure trove of notes to the court house, personally. These are well experienced, ethical Officers under the gun with orders from above.

3. In the pre-trial it clearly came out that it was the Solicitor General's Office who placed a call to then RCMP Dep. Comm. Gary Bass suggesting that the politicians should not be pursued in this case.

4. Rememer who flew to Kamloops, prior to the Raid on the Leg with the RCMP, to brief the former Speaker of the House? None other than good old boy, former Socred Claude Richmond . . .(btw he'd know Kinsella very well from the Bill Bennett/VanderZalm era).

5. What orders were then meted out to the Officers by the big boss? The political interventions DO NOT happen at the officer levels. This is not where the strategy to cover is hatched. Has it happened on other cases where the RCMP have been involved with high profile friends & insiders?

6. DeBruyckere and his team WANTED to pursue the politicians and had their visas ready to go to Hawaii where Collins, Campbell and I believe Clark were huddled.

7. Reichart IS linked to the lobbyists/bagmen such as Kinsella, Jiles, and Dobell, lawyer Lyall Knott (named in the pretrial evidence as having been taped speaking with Basi) . . . the Circle all directly 'in play' with the Campbell Govt. behind closed doors, in full flow for their private vested interests. They all operate VERY closely.

8. Didn't we all learn that Kinsella was in business with Bruce Clark and Eric Bornman in Canada Payphone &??? With the scandal surrounding Kinsella's & Jiles lobbying antics being uncovered, we are further viewing the depth of these connections - who is linked to whom - what else lurks in those shadows? The permutations are endless in this game of insider dealings. Didn't Kinsella run Collins campaign way back when??? Anybody remember?

9. What exactly did that DO NOT DISCLOSE memo say? There are a multitude of persons within Govt. that could have tipped off Campbell, including the Solicitor General's Office, Martyn Brown, (former Zalmoid now Campbell's political 'fixer' cozy with Dobell in Campbell's Office. What is it about 'birds of a feather'????

DeBruyckere & his team, including were hot on the trail to investigate the shadowy figures. If this trial lives . . through some miracle, I'll put my money on DeBruyckere, Bishop etc. for the truth.

BC Mary, thank you for your balanced astute reasoning. I for one will be listening and am eager to hear more from both Battershill and Debruyckere.

I'd like to know of others who share our views re: how things REALLY operate . . .

Anonymous said...

Correction to #4 above - it should read:

"4. Remember who flew to Kamloops, prior to the Raid on the Leg with the RCMP, to brief the former Speaker of the House, Claude Richmond (btw he'd know Kinsella very well from the Bill Bennett/VanderZalm era)? None other than good old boy, former Sol. General & X RCMP Rich Coleman. Need I say more."

Anonymous said...

Debruyckere was alleged by Erik Bornmann to have leaked information about the investigation to Kelly Reichert. (See the disclosure application from 2007.)

What happened to those serious allegations from the star witness?

Is it coincidence that Debruyckere is at the centre of this alleged informant issue?

How can you explain that the many affidavits from the RCMP including Debruyckere that the special prosecutor has filed defending their actions have been completely ignored and found to be inconsistent by the presiding judge?

Well Glen Clark had Peter Montague and now the Leg Raid trial has Kevin Debruyckere. Only difference is that Kevin Debruyckere will have to testify.

While the apologists for the RCMP like to wade in from time to time, the facts don't support their obvious bias.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Andy Orr with the Premier's Office at one time? According to the Provincial Lobbyist's Registry he's still active, and then of course he has landed that job with CRD (Capital Regional District (Victoria) as well.

Anonymous said...


Keep engaging in your fantasies. You too will one day be telling us how great campbell is. Why don't yout take 5 minutes out of your busy schedule to talk to a criminal lawyer and ask him/her what the significance of a "DO NOT DISCLOSE" memo is in a criminal trial.

By the way I look forward to Debrucyckere testifying under oath and his selective amensia making the occasional appearance.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought- Are Gordon and GW related?