Friday, April 16, 2010

Basi-Virk In Camera hearing yesterday - and I can't tell you what happened

There was an in-camera pre-trial hearing in the Basi-Virk/BC Legislature Raid case Thursday at BC Supreme Court.

That means no members of the media or the public were allowed to attend.

And if the timing and purpose of Thursday's hearing was discussed at the last pre-trial hearing on March 29, I would be prohibited by a court ordered publication ban from telling you anything about it at all until the conclusion of the trial.

Justice Anne MacKenzie's publication ban blocks any reporting of pre-trial hearings going back years to the beginning of this case until the trial is over.

Meanwhile my colleague Robin Mathews has a report about his attempts to enter the courtroom at BC Mary's blog - The Legislature Raids - which is well worth a read.

And I'll be happy to tell you all about this sometime in July when the trial has ended!



Gary E said...

Bill. Who was it that said "when the law is an ass"? And what is the rest of the quote?

Anonymous said...

Why the crying over this? Respect the judge's decision. I am not a supporter of either Basi or Virk, the two represent the worst in political appointments, but how long is this cry fest going to go on?

Work with the main media to convince her to overturn her decision.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:19
Are you serious? This is not a cry fest. This is very serious and disturbing. Work with what media? Conwest, globall? They've reported pretty well nothing from the beginning and never will. Useless bunch bought and paid for by the liberals and the corporation.

Bill Tieleman said...

Sorry Anon 7:19 but I have to defend my colleagues Neal Hall of the Vancouver Sun and Keith Fraser of the Province - they have both covered this case very extensively over the past several years, as has Mark Hume of the Globe & Mail.

I'm not saying Basi-Virk has gotten all the media attention I believe it deserves - it hasn't - but Neal, Keith and Mark have been there with myself and Robin Mathews when no other media were present many, many times.

As to respecting the judge's decision - I respect the law and I am obeying it, but I have every right to disagree with a publication ban that I believe is far too wide-ranging for a case that has been extensively discussed for over 6 years!

If I had unlimited funds to spend on legal fees I would certainly bring a challenge on the ban but unfortunately I do not - and now that the most draconian aspects have been removed it seems unlikely a joint media application will take place.

Anonymous said...

how about a class action suite any lawyer brave or want to protect the integrity of our democratic institution?

Crankypants said...

Bill, I still think the trial will be over before it even starts. I suspect that these secret hearings are nothing more than an arm twisting exercise to convince the defendants to plead to some minor charge and close the book on the whole debacle.

It's only a little over two weeks to start date, and I don't believe that there has been a jury chosen yet. One would assume that there would be no reason for the court to be closed off for this formality.

The stars just don't seem to be lining up properly for this one.

Bill Tieleman said...

Creaky - I have previously reported that jury selection takes place on April 28.

Anonymous said...

Bill, I thought the ban only included published details on the trial. The fact that someone can go and sit in the courtroom and watch but simply not report on it. How is this ban stopping from saying that the doors were locked to keep everyone out? Commenting on the locked doors is no different than commenting on the colour of the walls. This violates the ban, no?

kootcoot said...

"and now that the most draconian aspects have been removed it seems unlikely a joint media application will take place"

In spite of your defence of your colleagues Fraser, Hume and Hall, the fact remains that thanks to the editorial decisions (or editorial dereliction of duty) by such as Lucinda Chodan Kirk LaPointe, the Canwaste excuses for papers and the GlowBall distraction have done their best to ignore this case for years and would be unlikely to pursue a lifting of this particular publication ban, seeing as it plays into their original agenda.

Anonymous said...

Think it through. What unfinished business is there?
Jury selection is at the end of April. The defense has dropped their applications. All that remains are missing e-mails requested by the defense and ordered released by the previous judge.
I'd say the government is fighting release of either material from the tapes or records from the Liberal MLA involved or both.

Henri Paul said...

Anonymous said...7:19 PM

Work with the main media to convince her to overturn her decision.

Who or what is a main media?

Anonymous said...

"Pursuant to s. 648 of the Criminal Code and the inherent jurisdiction of the court, no information about these proceedings including evidence, submissions, rulings and Reasons for Judgment shall be published in any document or broadcast or transmitted in any way until the jury renders its verdict or until further order of the Court."

We are of course talking about within Canada.

This blog of yours is registered outside of Canada therefore how about giving us the goods on the Pre-Trial as though we hail from Mountain View California from where we are reading your writings Bill.

Anonymous said...

My apologies Bill for even suggesting that you should give us the goods on what's happening in the Basi-Virk-Basi trial by going stateside to do it.

But, why give us what you have in your post at all?

The public is not permitted to hear anything about what is going on it our courtrooms regarding possible corruption within the government of British Columbia by three individuals.

We're not even permitted to know what one of those three did to be found in acceptance of receiving monies in regards to an ALR deal in Sooke.

Your blog, on this specific topic, might as well wave a white flag and talk about more important topics such as the HST and not risk the ire of the Courts.

Bill Tieleman said...

The publication ban on the pre-trial hearings is intended to avoid prejudicing potential jury members - I agree with the general concept.

My objection is that the court could use a far more limited ban at each hearing to issue a publication ban only on key matters that might impact a jury - not on the entire proceedings, including who is in the courtroom representing which clients or what the purpose of Thursday's hearing was.

The original publication ban, you will recall, would not have allowed any reporting by the media of the trial itself. The "main media" would certainly have challenged that vigorously had it not been amended subsequently.

American media discovered that being headquarted in the US did not mean their reporting on the Pickton trial was exempt from Canadian laws, even if they only published in their own country.

RossK said...

Regarding local media members/organizations that were not regularly present in the courtroom before the puclication ban came down....

I thank Mr. Tieleman for letting us know who did show up.

However, by omission, I also noted the absence of any and all 'lectronic media from Mr. T's list.

And that included, perhaps most distressing of all, the CBC.


BC Mary said...


Well, Bill, I hate to tell you this ... but there's a pre-trial hearing about to happen at 10:00 AM today in BC Supreme Court for Basi, Virk, Basi ...

and there's no mention of a planetary publication ban, either.

Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Mary - I can probably now say I knew that there was a hearing today since it is posted publicly. Ridiculous publication ban.

But I have no reason to believe this hearing is any different, as Justice MacKenzie's ban applies to all pre-trial hearings, period.