Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BASI-VIRK: Wrangling over vetting and hints of techniques the RCMP wants kept secret

Slow plodding at vetting process in BC Legislature Raid case, with just a glimpses of something interesting that the RCMP wants hidden

There is not a lot to report from BC Supreme Court Tuesday or Wednesday as lawyers, prosecutors and Justice Elizabeth Bennett work through disclosure of evidence issues surrounding primarily RCMP documents that discuss their investigation and techniques.

But Wednesday morning W.P. Riley, a prosecutor representing the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, dropped a few hints of what the media and public are not allowed to see in this pre-trial hearing that will determine what evidence can be used to prosecute or defend three BC Liberal government aides charged with corruption regarding the $1 billion privatization of BC Rail.

Riley represents the interests of the RCMP in the court and was explaining to Bennett why the force wants to assert privilege over one of about 304 different documents.

"They are Crown assets - I can't say any more about it," Riley said.

"These are common techniques that anyone in the system knows of," Bennett replied.

"I'm not sure how common some of them are," Riley responded.

Riley added shortly afterwards that document "599" ferers to the technique itself and said he would discuss it with defence lawyers personally.

"I can explain it to my friend," he said, referring to Aneal Basi's lawyer Joe Doyle in the common language used for their fellow lawyers while in court.

"I just don't want to do it in open court," Riley concluded, which is, of course, where it can be reported unless a publication ban is in place.

There has been considerable controversy in a number of high profile murder cases about the use of so-called "Mr. Big" techniques where a suspected killer is befriended by RCMP officers posing as top crime bosses to gain the trust of the suspect. Those include the Burns-Rafay murder case,

There has not, however, been any suggestion that a "Mr. Big" was one of the RCMP techniques used in Project EveryWhichWay, as the investigation into David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi was titled.

In Tuesday's session, which I was unfortunately absent for, I am reliably informed that there was a major battle over Riley's efforts to discuss the "relevance" of some RCMP documents, with defence lawyers strongly arguing that his role is limited to exerting "privilege" but not "relevance".

The always engaging Robin Mathews was present for the Tuesday morning session and his report can be found as usual at BC Mary's The Legislature Raids - a must-read, one-stop shop for the latest on Basi-Virk.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know that "stupidity" and "incompetence" is a technique!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill for your update. The only word that comes to mind is bizarre.

I would also add that along with the public and media being left in the dark, so to are the defence lawyers who have dilligently pursued simple basic disclosure.

BC Mary said...


Many thanks I owe you for that nice blurb about my web-site ...

and what would it be without my contributors, you chief among them.

Can't you just feel everyone's surge of hope, when you say that SOMETHING important will happen tomorrow in Basi-Virk / BCRail??

Well, I hope it's not another Seinfeld episode where it's nice for the old gang to get together but nothing ever happens.

Here's hoping.


BC Mary said...

Many thanks indeed , Bill, for that nice blurb about my web-site. Which would be nothing without my wonderful contributors, you chief among them.

I feel a surge of hope, when you say that SOMETHING important in Basi-Virk/BCRail will happen tomorrow.

Enough with the Seinfeld episodes where it's nice for the old gang to get together but nothing ever happens.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile...the mainstream media hide behind their lawyers, for fear of fantastic and imaginary lobs from the hypersensitive prosecution.

Berardino must have been Gene Kelly's mentor in a previous life...what a dancer!

Anonymous said...

Bill, I apologize, but when I read your excellent post I don't see any mention to anything "important" happening tomorrow.

Mary, please enlighten us and tell us where you found this reference to something "important" happening tomorrow.

Bill Tieleman said...

Tomorrow the Supreme Court of Canada will rule on whether to grant leave to appeal to the Special Prosecutor on the issue of testimony of a secret witness.

There has been much written here about it, including a posting Tuesday.

I will have a full report here on the decision, which could delay the Basi-Virk trial by up to a year - or kill it altogether.

Anonymous said...

What special witness?

Wasn`t that the ploy all along,bob and weave for 5 years with some yickity yak about a special witness,and finally when the special witness doesn`t testify the prosecution has no choice but to drop the case!

The public is being played for fools,who is this witness? no secret that big could have been kept for that long,there are leakers everywhere!

This witness crap as far as I am concerned is and never was anything but a straw man argument,can you say WAG THE DOG.

Best to just let it drop,someone will write a book,at least then we will get the story, otherwise,another year delay and the casr gets thrown out,and if the case doesn`t get throw out the special witness will vanish!

Do you all get the picture yet,your being played by both sides!

Anonymous said...

Police techniques:

Undercover operations - undercover police.

Overhears - use of police to overhear conversations in public places (this tactic was used in the Glen Clark case with both Young and Pilarinos)

Informant tips - using informants to glean information

Surveilance - much like the operation where the RCMP were watching the Villa del Lupa with Gary Collins. This also includes following people, following vehicles, observing meetings.

Photographs/Hidden cameras - Pictures of suspects meeting, etc...

Media - police releasing information to the media in the hopes of having suspects reveal more information on wiretaps

Wiretapping - live/taped monitoring of phone conversation

Bugs/Listening devices - the police use devices in hotels/restaurants/homes/cars etc.. to record conversations

GPS devices - the use of devices to track suspects and movements

Interview techniques - interogation of suspects

The police use many other techniques that we are not privy to for obvious reasons.

This is just some that your readers may enjoy has I would think that many of these techniques were used at the Villa del Lupa restaurant.


Anonymous said...

Her Majesty the Queen v. Bobby Singh Virk et al. (B.C.) (Criminal) (By Leave) (32719)

(The motions to expedite the application for leave to appeal and to seal the responses by the respondents Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi and Bobby Singh Virk are granted. The application for leave to appeal and the applications for leave to cross-appeal are granted. / Les requêtes visant à accélérer la procédure de demande d’autorisation d’appel et pour sceller les réponses des intimés Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi et Bobby Singh Virk sont accordées. La demande d’autorisation d’appel et les demandes d’autorisation d’appel incident sont accordées.)

Coram: McLachlin / Fish / Rothstein