Independent
journalism that swims
against the current.
News
Rights + Justice
Politics

New Dems Want Inquiry into Basi-Virk Plea Bargain

Judge accepts surprise guilty plea in political corruption trial of ex-BC Liberal aides.

Bill Tieleman 18 Oct 2010TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com.

image atom
Robert Virk and David Basi.

The surprise guilty plea Monday of two former BC Liberal government ministerial aides to political corruption charges related to the $1 billion BC Rail sale suddenly ends a seven-year case that began with a 2003 police raid of the legislature.

That has the New Democrat opposition calling for a full public inquiry and asking if the plea bargain deal struck by David Basi and Bob Virk to serve two years less a day under house arrest includes their legal fees being paid for by government.

"Are the taxpayers on the hook for Basi and Virk's legal bills? If so that's outrageous," NDP MLA Leonard Krog said in an interview. "If you're found guilty as a government employee, why should the taxpayers pay for your defence."

Krog says ending the trial without testimony from several former cabinet ministers and government insiders is a "complete shock" that makes an inquiry essential.

Basi, Virk and Aneal Basi -- whose money laundering charges were stayed as part of the agreement between Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino and defence lawyers -- all referred questions about their legal fees to the B.C. Attorney General's office. The Attorney General's office has not yet responded to interview requests.

David Basi also pled guilty to a separate charge for being paid $50,000 by developers to help remove property near Victoria from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

He was fined a total of $75,695 on all charges -- repaying the $50,000 amount and another $25,695 he allegedly received for passing confidential government information on the sale of BC Rail to a lobbyist for one of the bidders.

B.C. Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie accepted the guilty plea deal, noting that although their crimes were "serious breaches of trust by public officials," Basi and Virk both have no previous criminal record and each has a young family.  [Tyee]

Read more: Rights + Justice, Politics

  • Share:

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Who Do You Think Will Win the Conservative Leadership Race?

Take this week's poll