Sunday, December 20, 2009

Basi-Virk: Defence application to throw out charges begins January 11, 2010; RCMP notes can be kept private by Crown

The long-delayed trial of three former BC Liberal government aides could be thrown out of court early next year whan a defence application to have corruption charges stayed on the grounds of unreasonable delay begins January 11 at 10 a.m. in BC Supreme Court.

David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi will mark the 6th anniversary of the police raid on the BC Legislature on December 28, 2003 still waiting to have their day in court to defend themselves, leading their lawyers to believe they have suffered unreasonable delay and the charges should be stayed.

But as unfortunate and indeed unfair as that is to the accused, in my opinion, the defence's Charter of Rights Section 11(b) application will likely fail.

That is because of a recent precedent setting case in Ontario that saw the Court of Appeal for Ontario overturn an Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision to stay charges in a case that would had gone 56 months before the trial could have been completed.

As I have previously written:

* * * * *
October 29, 2009

The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a lower court judge's decision to stay charges against five drug squad police officers because of the "unreasonable" delays in bringing their case to court.

"There was no unreasonable delay in this case. This complex case proceeded at the pace contemplated and dictated by the parties," the three member panel of justices decided.

"Admittedly, 56 months is a lengthy period of time, but it was not unreasonable These are very serious charges."

"This case proceeded slowly, but it also proceeded at the pace dictated by its complexity and the actions of all the parties," Justice David Doherty, Justice Marc Rosenberg and Justice Michael Moldaver wrote in their decision.

"Far from this being a case where the vast majority of the 56 months passed because of the Crown's failure to make full disclosure, virtually none of the time can be so characterized," they wrote. "This was a complex case that required and would require significant expenditures of court time."

[The five officers were charged in January 2004 with attempting to obstruct justice, perjury, assault and extortion. They are accused of falsifying notes, robbing and beating drug dealers, and conducting illegal searches between 1997 and 2002.]

In other words, 56 months delay - almost five years - is not sufficient for a stay of charges in a complex case.

* * * * *

In addition to the above, a re-reading of the Appeal Court judgment adds this interesting and clearly relevant line:

"The case also posed unique problems because of the involvement of confidential informants as witnesses, which led to the need for editing and vetting of disclosure materials," the ruling states.


I have unfortunately been too ill this past week to attend any court hearings but my colleagues Keith Fraser of the Province newspaper, Mark Hume of the
Globe and Mail and Robin Mathews of The Legislature Raids have filed interesting reports on the proceedings, as linked in this paragraph.

The two main developments are the scheduling of the Charter applications detailed above and Justice Anne MacKenzie's decision rejecting a defence request that over 400 RCMP source witness debriefing that have not been disclosed to them be reviewed by the court.

Lastly, watch this space on December 28 for an article marking the 6th Anniversary of the police Raid on the BC Legislature - a story I have been following since the day it happened!


BC Mary said...


Here's wishing you a speedy recovery, Bill, and a satisfying New Year for you and your family.

I look forward to your 6th anniversary review of the Basi Virk affair. Ever since the day the Legislature raids happened, it has almost seemed surreal, such a disturbing event happening during Christmas.

Tell us what you make of it: exactly why did it happen? whose idea was it? and what about that whole 30 days in which key government figures knew the raid was coming ... does that leave a squeaky-clean impression?

I wonder if Basi & Virk will write a book. Hope so!

Anonymous said...

And the final piece of the defence strategy is put in motion. Delay, delay, delay, and then make a motion to have the case kicked because of “unreasonable” delays. Tieleman is dead on the money and the Judge will see through this nonsense and send the defence packing.

This is good news folks. This trial is going to go forward and eventually we will get to hear the full story. After all, if the defence has nothing to hide why try to have the case dismissed? Innocent people should welcome their day in court and this one is going to be a step closer. I can’t wait! Good work Tieleman !

Ron said...

Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year, Bill

You and BC Mary have done great work informing us of the ins and outs of the Railgate non-trial.

I look forward to your December 28th article.

December 29th launches us into the SEVENTH year of the scandal.

Anonymous said...

Get better and have a really good holiday break. Thank you for all the hard work this last year - you are making and have made a positive difference in BC.

Anonymous said...


We always knew this was the ultimate escape plan for the Government and LPC/BC (Campbell & the Martinites), the Defense
and by throwing the fight the Crown.

It will be interesting to see what will ultimately happen but I think all three sides want to throw the fight and the "delayed-justice" option since 2005 has been the best way to take a dive.

No connected or made-Grit will ever do time in BC!


Anonymous said...

It worked for the NDP's Lencoe (sp?) awhile back, so why not now? How convenient.

Anonymous said...

I understand the importance this case is to the people given some of the parties involved are representatives of the people.
What makes this case special, those who are involved for sure along with the integrity and honesty of our very system is up for question.
It can't be taken to lightly that is a certain and thanks for doing such a great job on this story. Bill you have a way with words your audience can not deny and its always a eye opener to take in your view. Chicken soup for the journalist with a soul.

Anonymous said...

If it is thrown out because the defense was denied a speedy trial, the people should sue the Provincial Court for failure to administer justice. Taxpayers pour MUCH money into a supposedly independent justice system so it will protect them from criminals. When it fails to accomplish this, especially when the criminals are government officials whose duty it is to serve and not exploit the public, it loses the confidence of the people. The the appearance of complicity with government, and the assumption of corruption, cannot be avoided.

If this case is dismissed, the people will know - once and for all - that we live in a dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

Vancouver — From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009 8:00PM EST
Last updated on Monday, Jan. 11, 2010 4:26PM EST

A secret informant told police in 2003 that Dave Basi – one of the central figures in a political corruption trial – was laundering drug money through the Liberal Party, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has heard.

Basi-Virk trial tussles with secrecy issue Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 11:16PM EST
New venue discussed in corruption trial Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009 12:00AM EST
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