Monday, July 20, 2009

Emails of Premier Gordon Campbell, most cabinet and political staff ruled "likely relevant" in Basi-Virk case, ordered them produced

BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett has ruled that the emails of Premier Gordon Campbell, most cabinet ministers and political staff are "likely relevant" to the defence in the Basi-Virk case and ordered they be disclosed to the defence.

The precedent-setting ruling will see for the first time the emails of a sitting premier turned over to defence lawyers for three former BC government aides facing corruption charges connected to the $1 billion sale of BC Rail in 2003.

But it remains unclear whether those emails still exists, since it was learned last week that backup tapes still existed in early May 2009 but a government order was issued to destroy them and the tapes were sent to an outside contractor for disposal. EDS Advanced Solutions was sent the tapes but it is not known yet if the order to destroy them was completed.

Defence lawyer Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, said outside court Bennett's decision was extremely important.

"This may be the most critical ruling in this case," Bolton said. "It's virtually unprecedented."

And Bolton raised the possibility that the defence will use the possible elimination of evidence as grounds to have the case dismissed.

"Potentially the destruction of evidence by recklessness or neglect could be a very significant factor in this case and could lead to a motion for dismissal of charges, but that's down the road," Bolton said. "There's no question that this case has been a challenge with disclosure."

NDP MLA Leonard Krog said outside court the ruling is very important.

"Justice has won in BC today - even the premier must be accountable," Krog said. "But Justice Bennett has had to order the government to do what Premier Campbell promised to do months ago."

Bennett ruled that not only Campbell's emails related to BC Rail and Pilothouse Public Affairs - the lobbyist firm of Erik Bornmann and Brian Kieran, who are alleged to have provided bribes to Basi and co-accused Bob Virk - but those of several cabinet ministers and political staff are "likely relevant", which allows the defence to apply for a court order that they be produced.

Among those whose emails were ruled likely relevant are: former Deputy Premier Christy Clark; former Finance Minister Gary Collins; former Transportation Minister Judith Reid; former Energy Minister Richard Neufeld; current Housing Minister Rich Coleman; current Transportation Minister Shirley Bond; current Campbell Chief of Staff Martyn Brown, Deputy Chief of Staff Lara Dauphinee and issues Management staffer Jay Schlosar.

Campbell’s current Deputy Minister Jessica McDonald and former Deputy Minister Ken Dobell will also have their emails produced, along with those of former Deputy Finance Ministers Paul Taylor and Chris Trumpy.

Other current and former BC Liberal government politicians and staff whose emails were ordered disclosed include:

Brenda Eaton, a former deputy minister; Mike Morton, Campbell's former press secretary; Tom Syer, Campbell's former policy coordination and issues management deputy chief of staff; David Cunningham, Campbell's former Deputy Communications Director; current Deputy Solicitor General David Morhart; Yvette Wells - former Director of the Crown Agencies Secretariat; Assistant Deputy Minister Kevin Begg in the Solicitor General's ministry;

A few cabinet ministers and staff emails were ruled not "likely relevant" and therefore do not have to be produced.

Those include current Health Minister Kevin Falcon, who took over as Transportation Minister after Reid; former Attorney General Geoff Plant; current Deputy Attorney General Allan Seckel; former Transportation Deputy Minister Dan Doyle; former Christy Clark ministerial assistant Kim Haakstad; Neil Sweeney, Campbell's former Deputy Chief of Staff, Issues Management, and Stuart Chase, the former Public Affairs Bureau officer who was monitoring the Basi-Virk case in BC Supreme Court and reporting back to Victoria - a story I first broke in 24 hours.

Bennett made mention of Chase specifically, saying that "much was made of Mr. Chase's conduct at court. But just because actions may be called political does not make them relevant."

Bennett is now hearing defence arguments that she should stay on as trial judge despite her promotion to the BC Court of Appeal earlier this year.

Joe Doyle, representing defendant Aneal Basi, argued that Bennett should rule that she will remain to hear the case.

"The accused have had you as trial judge for nearly four years ....they are facing serious charges and deserve to have you continue as the trial judge," Doyle told Bennett.

"There will be delay if this trial is assigned to a new judge - there's no question about it," Doyle said. "There's simply no replacement for having sat on the case for three and a half years."

Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino has previously argued in court that Bennett should be replaced immediately because of her promotion and a new trial judge assigned.




RossK said...

Anon-O-Mouse provided partial list of folks whose Emails were, apparently, deemed relevant by Mdme. Justice Bennett:

Gordon Campbell
Martyn Brown
Mike Morton
Laura Daphinee
Ken Dobell
Brenda Eaton
Jay Schlosser
Jessica MacDonald
Gary Collins
Chris Trumpy
Yvette Wells
David Morhouse
Judith Reid
Christy Clark
Shirley Bond
Richard Neufeld
Rich Coleman
Sol Gen ADM Begg
Paul Taylor


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the day the Supreme Court ruled Nixon had to turn over the tapes . . . to Watergate Committee and Judge "Maximum" John Sirica.

But at that time there was a Washington Post and a Ben Bradley, all we have is Pac-ass Press and Fat Assed Dennis Skulski and his plutocrat newsroom . . . so I expect a lot longer timeline on any resignations.


Anonymous said...

The judge knows enough of this case,to know that the e mails are relevant,the rcmp and victoria police have already seized,this information in the raids,what in the name of all that is holy is going on here!Let's get on with it!Shit are people this gullible,if so you deserve this to be happening!Bill you must know this.Your office was raided by them now it's your turn get your jack boot's on and kick the hell out of them!I know you have to pussy foot around the issues on nw with that spector fool but jack boot them in 24 I'm at work every morning and the province boxes are full and I have to go down a block to get a 24,man you guy's can charge for these paper's,i'll buy one!

G West said...

I'm a little surprised that Geoff Plant's emails are deemed 'not likely relevant' aren't you Bill?

DPL said...

The obvious defence of the disappearance of all those emails, if in fact they are all gone will be." Our dogs ate them" Either a bunch of bumbling fools running the province or a very devious bunch. Take your pick.

Anonymous said...

Over at BC Mary's, she has written that EDS Advanced Solutions is a storage facility first, a disposal facility second, which means to me that all of the emails have been safely sitting at a third party address.

How is it that the lawyer for the BC Liberal Government was unaware of this, how is it that the Special Prosecutor wasn't aware of this; how is it that RCMP didn't know and lastly why didn't the defendants know and tell their lawyers?

Powell river persuader said...

This is getting lively,finally!

I would hazard to guess that the Emails requested won`t be found,but don`t fear my friends,I am almost positive that when and if the Campbell gang come back to the courts with empty pockets and stares that the defense.........

Will produce Emails to blow the case wide open.........

"Revenge is a dish best served cold"

Cheers-Eyes Wide Open

Anonymous said...

Why is it that Basi and Virk never provide and proof that they are innocent? They apparently have all of this insider info. but thus far have not provided one iota of any real tangible evidence to back up any of their claims. Does this not seem odd to anyone else?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 6:24.

What do you think the email issue was about? In a criminal case defendants aren't required to give "full answer and defence" until the trial begins. Stay tuned, this show is just starting.

Gary E said...

Anon 6:24 I'm sorry but haven't you heard the phrase "innocent until proven guilty"?
Their lawyers are doing a fine job of gathering info to prove their innocence. The problem is that the Government is throwing roadblocks at every turn.
Try reading a few blogs and get some background on the stonewalling. That the tyee and 24 hrs is the only place you'll get any information. Don't rely on the mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

I thought that all data stored on a computer hard drive was retrievable
even if it was erased.

There are forensic computer firms around that retrieve such data all the time.

How come this has not been brought up?

I have not heard of computer stored on "tape".

Anonymous said...

@ 6:24 PM - Does this not seem odd to anyone else?


No. The trial is in the preliminary stage (discovery etc)... I would guess that B&V are providing their legal teams with info on where to look for evidence.

Once the 'real' trial starts, then expect the defence to put forward their version of events.

RossK said...


Is it reasonable to assume that you are familiar with the term 'evidence at stake'?

If not....

Perhaps you would like to familiarize yourself with it, specifically, as it pertains to this case.


Anonymous said...

to play Tieleman in the BCRailgate movie

Anonymous said...

Clearly the reason that Basi and Virk keep winning these applications are because of the overwhelming evidence that supports the defence, otherwise a Supreme Court Judge would toss out these applications and issue decisions against the defence.

Read the Supreme Court of BC decision's before drinking the koolaid of the BC Liberal Party and posting anonymous comments.

P. Gill, Surrey

Anonymous said...

@ 6:24

Are you serious?

Anonymous said...

How could Double D... aka Dan Doyle as a career long bureaucrat of Transportation & Highways, and its close relationship to BCTFA, etc., not know about about this dealt as the DM? What about his spouse's ties to the Liberal party... makes one think!

Anonymous said...

To ANOM 6:24pm

Do you not know the difference between British Common Law (the basic of all our laws) and the despotic Napoleonic Code?

Under British Law the state must prove guilt, under Napoleon's Code its the reverse.

So I suggest you learn a bit about the country I assume you reside in.

But then you being a BC Liberal that might be asking too much of a graduate of Fraser Institute junior high.


Anonymous said...

And now with Stone-Wally Oppal meeting with Count Iggy you can bet that no matter who is Canada's next PM . . . someone with Basigate poop on his boots will be at the federal Grit trough.

Iggy is starting to look more like Paul Martin everyday.

It is to bad Prime Ministers can't grant pardons like US presidents can . . . sorry Gordo.


Anonymous said...

I guess what I don’t understand is that if you were working in government or anywhere else for that matter, and your boss told you do something illegal, and you were stupid enough to actually do what was asked of you; wouldn’t you keep some sort of evidence to prove that you were only doing what you were told ? At the very least you would think you could state where and when the conversation occurred and with who.

These are the kinds of details I don’t understand why they are lacking.

Rod Smelser said...

Both the defence and the Government have an interest in seeing this case dismissed. I cannot help but wonder if that's what is happening.

Rod Smelser said...

"These are the kinds of details I don’t understand why they are lacking."

Perhaps because the papers and electronic records remained government property.

Anonymous said...

Emails in this case have already proven to be damaging. Let us not forget about the emails from Kieran and Elmhirst and Bornmann about meetings with Deputy Ministers and other high level advisors. Those emails lead to investigations by the government and highly edited reports being released.

And one of the most interesting emails that shed some light on Patrick Kinsella.

The 2004 e-mail to then B.C. Rail Vice-President Kevin Mahoney from another executive asked: "Why are we paying this guy?" and the answer was that Kinsella was a "backroom Liberal."

People write emails and don't think twice about them. There can be some great information that may be cause for concern for the Campbell liberals.

Anonymous said...

Very,very strange that Geoff Plant's e-mails are deemed irrelevent?


Bill Tieleman said...

No idea on Geoff Plant - sorry, Justice Bennett did not explain as far as I remember.

Anonymous said...

I think the deputy minister/assn't to the then, sol/gen Coleman,


North Van's Grumps said...

Is there anyway of determining from ....public accounts books.... of how many computer hard drives have been recycled just so the emails contained on them are never found? How much money has been spent to restock the computer desks for the civil servants/PBA?

Its one thing to say that the emails involved in the sale of BC Rail and/or the Raid on the Legislature, is protected by provincial law, its quite another thing to have the very data being shipped off to BC Auction...! That is the medium be which over stock items are sold off, right?

North Van's Grumps said...

From BC Auction:

"Please Note: No removable data storage devices from B.C. government ministries are sold on BC Auction."

So, just how are they disposed of?

For a starter:

On page 5 of 16 The Honourable Michael de Jong. Minister of Labour and Citizens’ Services made the
ban on the sale of all data storage media permanent on March 7, 2006." due to a story that was written in the Vancouver Sun on 41 tapes being purchased for $101 containing personal information.

Secondly: (Page 23 of 24)

Ministries must be able to implement proper data destruction methods for confidential or highly-sensitive material, rather than relying on third parties.

Thirdly: What proof, an audit trail would be nice, could there possibly be that specific Executive Council emails relating to the BC Rail fiasco were disposed of by a third party, contray to accepted guidelines as set down by the government ...... yes, yes, I know that there's supposed to be an index attached to the soon to be disposed of files, but might they have been shredded as well.... and the carbon copy of the indx, to be held by the Ministry or Premier Office, where are they?

And fourthly.... all of these precautions that the BC Liberals put in place is contary to the procedure by which Counsel for the government stated to Madame Justice Elizabeth Bennett as being the method used....