Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bizarre turn of events in Basi-Virk - father of Crown Counsel approached jurors outside trial

Could the Basi-Virk/BC Legislature trial get any stranger?

The answer is a resounding "yes" after today's hearing.

I was unable to attend this morning but my colleague Neal Hall of the Vancouver Sun reports that Justice Anne MacKenzie informed the jury that the father of one of the Special Prosecutor team approached two jurors at the Patterson SkyTrain station and spoke to them about the trial last Wednesday.

MacKenzie told them not to infer anything adverse from the incident and that it would not happen again.

But after that the legal wrangling that can't be reported resumed in the jury's absence.

Premier Gordon Campbell's Chief of Staff Martyn Brown is expected to return to the court for his 10th day of cross examination on Thursday.



Grant G said...

Grant G said...

Riddle me this...How did the father know who the jurors were unless the father of the prosecutor has been attending court and physically recognized the jurors?

And or vise versa, the jurors would only know who the father of the prosecutor was if he was attending court.....

But from the little teaser you gave, it was the former, the father knew who they were, the "father approached"

Curiouser and curiouser...Were they setting up a potential MISTRIAL...MISTRIAL...MISTRIAL.

Me thinks so!

Grant G said...

And further to my last comment...

Prosecutors aren`t first year law students, they are seasoned lawyers that become prosecutors, are you trying to me that that the father of a seasoned lawyer/prosecutor DIDN`T KNOW BETTER!

I surmise...The jurors spoke up....

If the jurors didn`t speak up, and this was brought up later, if the defense found out about it....

If you were on trial Bill T..And you found out the father of the person prosecuting you was talking outside of court to the jurors would you not ask your lawyer to have it thrown out! MISTRIAL...

And...The fact that it was the "prosecutors father"(father)Key in on the word father! ...No REAL BLAME could be attatched to the crown for the mistrial...

What if the jurors never mentioned but it was leaked later...

Sorry folks, time to start over with a fresh jury!

Eyes Wide Open

DPL said...

sure hope the judge tore a strip off somebody. If the same team shows up tomorrow something is just not right

Ian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Norm Farrell said...

I knew that hockey dads have a tendency to become too involved in the efforts of their children. But, lawyers? That is high on the strangeness quotient.

Anonymous said...

Once when I was a jury member, after the day's trail I took the public transit bus home.

Standing there, at the same bustop was the accused. He got on the same bus as me. This was a very strange experience, to say the least. We never spoke, of course, but it felt kinda creepy.

Oh, How can the judge guarantee that this won't happen again?

Anonymous said...

The special prosecutor's father was a reqular attendee at the Basi trial up until the incidsent at the Skytrain station. Another regular attendee was the daughter of another special prosecutor. Both stopped attending after last Wednesday's Skytrain incident. The juror's did not know he was one of the prosecutors' fathers. They merely recognized him as someone they had seen in front row of the gallery observing the case. They were only informed of his identity yesterday(Wednesday) a week after the incident occurred.

Anonymous said...

I heard that from now on the jurors will be escorted home by taxi.

Anonymous said...

If one of the defendents were linked to this shameful behaviour, then there would be an all out investigation and the media would be parked at the home of the father.

But the Special Prosecutor and his team get special treatment. There is no accountability for anything that Bill Berardino and his team do. How much court time was wasted by this fiasco? Will the Special prosecutor team be disciplined? Where are the tough questions about when the SP knew about the man approaching the jury member?

This is a complete farce. What else can happen in this case?

Anonymous said...

It's just the usual dirty tactics, we see going on every other day,isn't even surprising. Blacked out FOI papers, missing e-mails, lies about, not selling the BC Rail, lies about the HST, tearing up contracts, lies about the provincial deficit, hiding the Olympic debt, deceit, corruption, broken promises, arrogance, hate, spite, vendetta's, we have seen it all. Surprised at the, interfering father? Not on your nelly.

Anonymous said...

Bill the Special Prosecution Team must be replaced.

How on earth does the government condone such behaviour and misconduct?

G West said...
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G West said...

Gotta say, I've often thought boomer parents are WAYYYYYYYY too involved in their children's lives...but hanging around behind the defence table (and within earshot) of the their conversations during the trial is something more than just parental pride.

It is creepy and frankly, potentially subversive of the whole system of blind and impartial justice.

I think Madame Justice MacKenzie may well have let this little bunch of parental drama queens take the whole trial off the rails.

The fact they ran into each other at a Skytrain station is, one might suggest, far from the heart of the matter. Compared with the fact that a ‘parental’ unit has been eavesdropping on the defendants – and, quite possibly (certainly one can’t be sure this ‘hasn’t’ happened) reporting back to a much loved child about what was heard is, in my view, far more serious…

What the hell is the point in a publication ban when there’s a direct pipeline from the defence side of the table into the midst of the ‘special’ prosecutor’s team?

This is taking ‘good parenting’ way beyond the normal….

What do you think Bill?

Bill Tieleman said...

G West - I think you are over-reacting to an unfortunate breach of protocol in the courtroom.

The parent in question was sitting in the public gallery like anyone else - there is no eavesdropping involved here.

I'm sure the Special Prosecutor - who I obviously know - has been put in an uncomfortable situation but nothing more should be made of this, as Justice MacKenzie has told the jury.

There's lots of conspiracy theory material in this case already - I wouldn't spend time considering this one a moment further.

G West said...


That's not what another frequent observer to the court wrote at Ross K's place...have a look

I think there is at least the perception of something far worse than a chance word being passed at a Skytrain station....

G West said...

Have a look at the comments thread on this story:
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Stamping Out A Potential RailGate Tampdown?

At the Gazetteer's place.

That's a very 'specific' observation - and one I haven't seen in the press!

I hope you didn't think I dreamed it up.

Bill Tieleman said...

G West: I appreciate that due to the publication ban - which you know I am very much opposed to for most of the content of courtroom discussions with the jury absent - much cannot be reported.

Since I can't legally tell you and other readers what I know, I can only say that I do not believe some of the rather paranoid comments on other blogs - or this one for that matter.

I will say quite publicly and knowing full well that some will vehemently disagree that I have never had any concern about the character of any of the three Special Prosecutors.

I may have disagreed on their decisions in the courtroom, their approach on legal issues and other matters but I have always found them to be forthright and fair in any dealings I have had with each of them.

And I do not believe that the unfortunate incident with the father of one of them is anything but that.

RossK said...


While I have now come to the same conclusion as yourself regarding this most unfortunate matter GWest does have a point.


Because I think that the publication ban is actually fueling the speculation based on the fragmentation of the known facts at hand.

Specifically, if you were allowed to tell us all that you know about this matter in a fulsome manner I am convinced that all speculation would end immediately.

Of course, this type of thing is not a trival matter. In fact, it could become extremely problematic down the road if things were go all fuzzy again after a particularly relevant issue is raised that either the defense or the prosecution objects to which then leads to oh, I dunno, say, an entire week of legal wrangling....

For those interested, I have more thoughts on this matter at my place here.


G West said...

We'll have to disagree on that score then Bill...I have followed the reports of a poster named Ian and he's reported accurately and in more complete detail (without compromising the publication ban) than many 'working journalists'.

If he says he observed the father of a member of the special prosecutor's team listening intently to comments from the defendants during the trial that report has credence for me.

The fact a member of the prosecution team did not ensure that their relative was behaving appropriately and NOT IN A POSITION TO report private conversations between the defendants is, in my opinion, clear and not open to debate.

Furthermore, the statements of the trial judge AND the apparent disappearance of the gentleman in question from the courtroom subsequent to events reported in the press - including by yourself - supports the suggestion that it was not simply a chance encounter on public transit which constituted the dubious behavior by this individual AND his relative on the prosecution team.

The genie simply can't be put back into the bottle. Madame Justice MacKenzie to the contrary. The suggestion that this case is being handled very badly is almost inescapable.

Anonymous said...

"For those interested, I have more thoughts on this matter at my place here."

Not much of original thought there.
Caters to those who have had similar lines of thinking, nothing new.

Bill has better insights.

Just an opinion.

Anonymous said...

I see the old BC Boy is up to his old tricks again...finding things a little uncomfortable at The Tyee these days 'boy'?

Dave Gosse said...

"an unfortunate breach of protocol in the courtroom."

You've got it right Bill.

I was there, and I've sat in that seat, two or three times, the one that Father had. You can't hear a thing from the Defense team, but only what they don't mind the public hearing.

Lawyers are astute enough to know when to whisper, so too for Defendants in their three sided glass box. If "Ian" can hear what the Defendants are saying, it would be a miracle and break all of the rules of sound engineering.

Anonymous said...

@Dave Gosse:

Might I remind you of a particular case - R v Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy ([1924] 1 KB 256, [1923] All ER 233) - which I think you might read to advantage.

Perhaps Madame Justice MacKenzie would do well to refresh her memory of the principles set down in that case too.

This was not, as you and Bill Tieleman seem to think it was, simply a matter of slipshod protocol management nor was it a simply 'personal' impression of what 'someone' (including yourself) might presume to hear from a particular seat in the court on a particular day.

This was, in my view, an ongoing insult to the proper administration of justice in a case already littered with mistakes, false starts and obfuscations.

Less concern for what the press reports (or refrains from reporting) and more concern for the way the crown is being manipulated or tending to give the ‘appearance’ of being manipulated is in order. On the other hand, apologizing for and excusing the behavior and competence of the sitting judge while explaining mistakes, “deceptions” and personal improprieties as little more than lapses in ‘protocol’ falls more than a little short of the mark.

I'll add just a short excerpt from the judgement in Sussex by way of conclusion:

"Nothing is to be done which creates even a suspicion that there has been an improper interference with the course of justice.",

This case is now so littered with SUSPICIONS as to be laughable: From the involvement of legal help (George Copley) hired and assigned by the chief executive to a 'reporter' directed by the Public Affairs Bureau and paid for by the Attorney General's ministry (Stuart Chase), to the re-assignment of the trial judge in the middle of proceedings and now the addition of a nosy stage-struck relative without the wit to avoid a conversation with a couple of jurors.

Really, Dave Gosse, what next?

Anonymous said...

what next 11:21 AM PDT, you seem to have a solid grasp of the situation, give us more of what's in store

kootcoot said...

Bill who somehow has managed to maintain his faith that there actually is a justice system in BC sez:

"I may have disagreed on their decisions in the courtroom, their approach on legal issues and other matters but I have always found them to be forthright and fair in any dealings I have had with each of them.

And I do not believe that the unfortunate incident with the father of one of them is anything but that.

And Bill, the ceiling in your office probably just fell in by accident back when you thought you had been burglarized. Or maybe you went into a trance state and did it yourself, but can't remember now!

If William Berardino was of such sterling character he would have recused himself from the position of SP after being inappropriately offered the position by the scoundrel government, and not because of a puny $500 donation to SP shop til you drop StoneWally, but because of his former LONG TERM association with Seckel and Plante.

It will certainly be interesting to hear from all them folks that mysteriously found more interesting things to do than politics around the same time like the former Transport Minister and Finance Minister - only if the jury is present of course, and ONLY if they can actually remember anything!