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BC Leg Case Lurches to Life

Defence cries foul as 85,000 pages of evidence pile up.

By Bill Tieleman 31 Oct 2006 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 hours, the free weekday newspaper, also online at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca. Tieleman can be heard every Monday at 10 a.m. on the Bill Good Show on CKNW AM 980. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com.

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Trial scheduled for Dec. 4

Like a Frankenstein monster on the eve of Halloween, the seemingly dead case of the police raid on the British Columbia legislature nearly three years ago sprung to life in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday with a series of shocking revelations.

The new information came through a pre-trial application for disclosure filed by defence lawyers for David Basi, Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi -- all former government aides facing serious charges of breach of trust and money laundering.

Allegations and questions

Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough made an extended presentation that lasted through the day and included these allegations and questions:

Roberts Bank key to case?

It is important to note that none of the statements, questions and allegations made in court or contained in the 20-page application for disclosure by the defence have been proven.

And indeed Special Prosecutor Berardino objected strongly at one point in the proceedings and noted that he will be making a full reply regarding the defence allegations in his own statement later this week.

But what the application does do is outline the defence's extreme frustration with what it says is a lack of disclosure of information needed to defend Basi, Virk and Basi against very serious criminal charges that could send them to jail.

Perhaps the most politically charged element of the defence presentation involves the cancellation of a B.C. Liberal government plan to privatize the B.C. Rail Roberts Bank Port Subdivision.

The bidders included many of the same corporations vying to buy B.C. Rail -- OmniTRAX -- the U.S. firm that hired Erik Bornman and Brian Kieran of Pilothouse Public Affairs as its lobbyists -- in a consortium with Burlington Northern and Santa Fe, Canadian Pacific and CN.

New info dislodged

Allegations previously released in search-warrant information-to-obtain documents claimed that documents pertaining to the B.C. Rail Roberts Bank privatization deal were passed by David Basi to Bruce Clark, a federal Liberal Party in B.C. executive member and brother to then-deputy premier Christy Clark.

The ITO documents also alleged Bornman and Kieran paid David Basi and Bob Virk nearly $30,000 in exchange for confidential information on parts of the B.C. Rail deal.

There's finally a lot of new information coming out thanks to the defence application -- but it's the trial that is still scheduled to start on December 4, 2006, that will answer the many questions surrounding B.C.'s most fascinating political scandal case.

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