Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Basi-Virk - Courtroom confusion explained, hopefully; new dates clarified and Special Prosecutor team member becomes Queen's Counsel


I attended this afternoon's brief BC Supreme Court hearing in Vancouver where Victoria developers Jim Duncan and Tony Young face corruption-related charges that allege they paid former BC Liberal ministerial aide David Basi $50,000 to assist them in removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve for a housing development.

Appearing for the Crown was Andi Mackay, a member of the Special Prosecutor's team in the BC Legislature Raid case against Basi, Bob VIrk and Aneal Basi.

The matter was put over in an extremely short administrative hearing until March 18. No explanation was made as to why the hearing was in Vancouver but it is to be noted that Duncan and Young's lawyers, Richard Peck and Jeff Campbell, are both based here, as are all members of the Special Prosecutor's team, including MacKay.


Today's BC Supreme Court docket for the Vancouver courts shows an apparent appearance there at 2 p.m. today in the case of former BC Liberal ministerial aide David Basi on breach of trust charges related to allegations of removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

BC Mary at the Legislature Raids points out to me that:

"The first two entries are identified only by the File Number 134750-1 -- the file number which was assigned to Dave Basi at his A.L.R. trial which began in Victoria last month.

Today's listing is in Vancouver Law Courts and is designated as "HMTQ vs Limited Access."

Here's what I have now been able to ascertain.

In fact the appearance is to be made by Victoria developers Jim Duncan and Tony Young, who also face charges in this case, in which the allegation is that Basi was paid $50,000 by Duncan and Young to help get land for their giant Sunriver Estates development in Sooke.

The hearing is likely to be merely to put over the case of Duncan and Young to a later date, as the Crown and defence have previously indicated in discussion in court that the intent is to combine the trial of all three men if possible.

Obviously the main and long-delayed trial of Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi on corruption charges related to the $1 billion BC Rail privatization is a complicating factor.

I am also told that the next date for an ALR case hearing for Basi is Friday March 6 in Victoria, where arguments will be heard on whether Basi should be committed to stand trial on those charges. Regular readers of this blog will remember that a preliminary hearing in front of Justice Ernie Quantz has already taken place in Victoria - this is the next step in the legal process.

On another note, the main event in the Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid case returns with yet more pre-trial hearings - this time on defence Freedom of Information requests for evidence - starting on Tuesday February 17 for an estimated 2 weeks.

In addition to the regular cast of lawyers from the defence and Special Prosecutor teams, provincial government lawyer George Copley and BC Rail lawyer Robert Deane are expected to play prominent roles.

Lastly, congratulations to Special Prosecutor team member Janet Winteringham, who has been made a "Queen's Counsel" - a recognition of service and

The news release from Attorney General Wally Oppal states:

"The Queen’s counsel designation is an honour conferred on members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and contribution. Successful candidates demonstrate professional integrity and good character and must be members of the British Columbia bar for at least five years."

Regarding Winteringham, it says: "Janet L. Winteringham of Vancouver has considerable experience both defending and prosecuting criminal cases. She also instructs on preliminary hearings and Provincial Court practice for the advocacy course at UBC’s law faculty."


Anonymous said...

A QC is sort of nice for a laywer. She should be congratulated.

The Basi Basi and Verk event is slowly grinding along. But there are a lot of cases moving along as well. Unlike the TV court apperances it takes a lot longer than a few minutes between commecials. we used to consider taking along a pillow to wile away the hours. People lively hoods , reputations are at stake along with a whole pile of taxpayers dollars.
As usual Bill, thanks for the update

Anonymous said...

In the good-old-days of the Soviet Union Comrade Stalin would award some "deserving" communist party apparatchik . . . The Order Of Lenin, which Pravda & Isvestia would duly report in its Monday edition.

By the Thursday, Pravda and Isvestia would report that Monday's deserving communist-hero had been arrested by the NKVD as an agent of British Imperialism and had been shot only minutes ago on Stalin's personal orders.

In Supernatural BC, accepting any awards may one day come back to bite-you.


Anonymous said...

So File #134750 covers a new trinity of Victoria developers Jim Duncan and Tony Young, who also face charges in this case, with Dave Basi already processed in Victoria last month.

Is this normal, to hop back and forth between two cities? two courthouses? It certainly adds difficulties for anyone wishing to follow the case.

So the next date for an ALR case hearing for Basi is Friday March 6 in Victoria, where arguments will be heard on whether Basi should be committed to stand trial on those charges.

On "whether Basi should ... stand trial"? Whoa. Here we go again.

Ken said...

Great reporting Bill, While this is before the courts, Duncan & Young have convinced Mayor Janet Evans and The District of Sooke to apply on thier behalf to remove more Sun River Land from the ALR. The said lands are under an order from the ALC to remove thousands of yards of fill that were dumped on them during construction of Sun River phases 1, 2,3 & 4. These are some of the highest class ALR land and this is the 3rd time they have applied to remove them. The last time they said they could not be farmed because they were surrounded by Sun River homes! They currently want to give the lands to the school board for a school site that they were required to provide. Our local politicians seem to love these guys despite thier troubles, one can only wonder why. If you want more information check with Gordon Bednard at the ALC.

Anonymous said...

Winteringham, successfully prosecuted cops in 2 seperate cases. Most prosecutors are so pro cop that they won't take those cases.

Anonymous said...

The QC debate has been around for decades. You get your clients up to the plate faster than (or slower than) the lesser thans and there is the largesse, oops, I mean prestige. But is it fair?

The more I read about these proceedings. The more I feel the need to pinch myself and wake up from this bad dream.