|A special guest post from Robin Mathews.|
Facts Maam, Just the Facts.
B.C. RCMP Sexual Harassment and the BC Rail Scandal
The BC Rail Scandal is so huge and so intricate that it reaches right into the present sexual harassment claims against RCMP officers made by Catherine Galliford, Krista Carle, and others.
Responding for the RCMP in a news release - under the Orwellian title “RCMP Health and Wellness” - BC RCMP Superintendent Kevin DeBruyckere states that the RCMP “encourages our members to report incidents of harassment….”
Ms. Carle has reported already that when she reported incidents of harassment the RCMP Management tried to cover up the problems. Males in the Force have made similar kinds of statement.
Attorney General Shirley Bond is completely unruffled by the news. Negotiations with the RCMP for a 20 year contract with B.C. will go on as if nothing has happened, she has – in effect – said. Ms. Bond, I suggest, is aware that the RCMP has so much on the Gordon Campbell Liberal Cabinet and its successors that she dare not suggest there will be any hitch in completing the new contract.
I suggest the BC Rail Scandal is governing the conditions under which the cabinet of British Columbia can negotiate with the RCMP. But there is more ….
Let us remember Superintendent Kevin DeBruyckere. He was a major investigator in the BC Rail Scandal leading to the criminal charges against Basi, Virk, and Basi.
Defence counsel claimed that he is the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert, then executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party. Defence counsel went on to ask in very assertive tones if Kevin DeBruyckere was conveying information about the investigation to Kelly Reichert who was discussing the matters with Gordon Campbell, then premier of the province. Allegations were made in the media that Defence counsel had documents to back their position, documents that were never revealed because of the sudden shutting down of the trial.
Kevin DeBruyckere was – in fact – front and centre in the hasty, messy, odious, shutting down of the trial of Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi.
Here is how I interpret major events. When the accused chose to change from their election of trial by judge alone to trial by judge and jury, they had to deal with the Special Prosecutor (who was illegitimately appointed to the position by the Attorney General’s ministry in which he had been for seven years partner and colleague of Attorney General Geoff Plant, and eleven years partner and colleague of Deputy Attorney General Alan Seckel).
The ‘dealing’ between the accused and prosecution resulted in an ‘Agreement of Facts’ between them - not a rare matter. Often, to facilitate trial, accused and prosecution agree to a number of basic facts.
This agreement of facts, however – as I interpret it – contained an “agreement” by the accused and their counsel that they would abandon certain inalienable rights the accused has to defend against criminal allegations. They, apparently, agreed they would not question things like the investigation process, the involvement of certain high-ranking politicians – things, apparently, of that kind.
When the trial began a complete impasse occurred. Everything stopped dead. It did so because – as I interpret events - the accused refused to believe that the agreement they had signed was one in which they gave away some of their right to defend against charges. But they had signed the agreed ‘Statement of Facts”. Their counsel had also signed the Agreement.
Defence counsel was in a terrible bind. They had signed, and – unlike the Special Crown Prosecutor - they were legitimately in the courtroom. They would stand by their signatures. But the accused refused to accept the interpretation of the agreement of facts made by the Special Prosecutor.
The trial stopped. The accused were advised to seek independent advice. They did so. Some days passed. Then … the accused decided to proceed with their counsel in place. But it appears that something had happened in the minds of Defence counsel.
When the first Crown witness, Martyn Brown, long-time chief of staff for Gordon Campbell, took the stand, something happened – something dramatic.
Kevin McCullough, Defence counsel, asked Martyn Brown what he knew about the relationship of Kevin DeBruyckere and Kelly Reichert. And – if I remember correctly – he asked … or he intimated that through those two men information about the investigation was likely being reviewed by Gordon Campbell. Gordon Campbell, premier, was alleged by Defence counsel to be a principal in the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR and, therefore, someone who should have known nothing whatever about the investigation.
No sooner was the question to Martyn Brown out of the mouth of Kevin McCullough than Special Crown Prosecutor William Berardino leapt to his feet and objected strenuously to, as he saw it, the breach of the Agreement.
High drama was playing out in the courtroom! The judge on the trial, Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie, had refused to acknowledge that William Berardino was illegitimately in the courtroom. She was permitting – I am convinced – an illegitimate trial to proceed. She was – some suggested – rushing the trial forward from pre-trial and was attempting to keep it packaged in a very small scope that kept away from major politicians and major private corporation wheelers-and-dealers.
The trial stopped again. Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie had to rule on the legitimacy of the questions asked Martyn Brown by Defence counsel.
She, now, was in a bind, as I see it. If she ruled that the questions were not acceptable, she might be seen as denying the rights of the accused to a fair trial – and that judgement might very well be made by a higher court on appeal. She would not look good. I believe no higher court could approve of accused people signing away their right to a fair trial. That would contradict the most fundamental principles of our legal system.
If she ruled that the questions were acceptable, the door would swing open to Crown witness after witness being questioned about the corrupt structure and dealings to transfer BC Rail to the CNR. The trial would turn away from the three accused to their superiors in cabinet and in private corporations, and it might reveal to British Columbians a pattern of criminal behaviour at the highest levels in British Columbia.
Associate Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie ruled that the questions asked by the Defence were acceptable … and it could proceed.
Alarm bells must have rung in cabinet and corner corporate offices all over B.C. The trial had to be stopped right away, I believe. Negotiations with the accused and their lawyers went into full spate. Only one other witness was half-way through being cross-examined by Defence counsel when the trial stopped. Shut down. Ended.
It was all over. The Special Crown Prosecutor who was illegitimately appointed, and his assistants, would collect (from taxpayers) their (something like) $12 million dollars. Defence counsel would be paid by the taxpayers their $6 million dollars. The accused would pay none of their costs of Defence. According to the auditor general of B.C., the approval of payment of the bills of the accused was nowhere minuted in cabinet proceedings – though cabinet approved the extraordinary payment of Defence counsels’ $6 million bill.
What sparked that rush to close up the trial? The questions to Gordon Campbell’s chief of staff Martyn Brown about the relation and dealings between RCMP officer Kevin DeBruyckere, executive director of the B.C. Liberal Party Kelly Reichert, and Gordon Campbell, architect of the corrupt transfer of BC Rail to the CNR.
There was Kevin DeBruyckere smack in the middle of the matter that blew up the Basi, Virk, and Basi trial and caused it to end ignominiously.