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Berardino and The Sun

Today a question for the prosecutor in the Basi Virk trial and a letter to the Vancouver Sun.

Prosecutor Bill Berardino says, in the Basi/Virk trial, that he didn’t see the “deal” until the morning it all happened. Here is a direct quote:

Berardino said outside court that he didn’t see a copy of the agreed statement of facts, signed by the Crown and defence, until 9:40 a.m. — 20 minutes before court was scheduled to resume hearing the testimony of a witness. Asked if there was any government pressure to end the trial, which had so far contained embarrassing allegations for the B.C. Liberal Party, Berardino said: “This is my decision. I made it on my own by myself”.

Mr. Berardino, if you didn’t make the decision, then who the Hell did? You were Crown Counsel and in your own words had complete control of the matter. Someone had to make this deal behind closed doors which you signaled about 10 days ago when you announced that you had shortened the list of witnesses.

Was it the Attorney-General or someone in his ministry that did the deal? Was it someone from the Premier’s office? Was it someone else on behalf of the government?

Mr. Berardino, this deal didn’t just float down the river on a piece of bark. Are you saying, perhaps, that the angel Gabriel made another trip to earth and gave you this deal?

This is a simple question, sir – you had to approve the deal at the very last minute. Who instructed you to do it?

Will you give your word of honour that from start to finish the government stayed right out of this case and by that I mean did members of the government, such as the Attorney-General or any representative of the government ever talk to you or in any way communicate with you about this case at any time? Did you ever give them a summary of what was happening? To whom did you report?

You, sir, were a special prosecutor, and had complete carriage of the matter (in the clumsy phrase we lawyers use) so that if you didn’t negotiate the deal, and if it wasn’t communicated to you until the day of the cop-out, this simple question – who made the deal and who gave you instructions to implement it?

Oh, yes, either the judge agreed with most unseemly haste with this awful cop-out. Was she part of it going back at least as far as your announcement that the witness list would be shortened? What role did she play in the negotiations and if it wasn’t with you involved, who was? Are you asking us to believe that she was surprised when the deal was announced and took no part in a deal that compelled her to assess mild penalties?

This is a public matter with your fee as well as many millions of dollars spent on the case paid for by the taxpayers and they’re entitled to answers to the questions above.

I guarantee that your reply will, like this note, be sent to my entire address book, and posted to rafeonline.com.

Over to you, Mr. Berardino, special prosecutor working on behalf of the citizens of BC.

Letter to Fazil Mihlar, editorial page editor for the Vancouver

Dear Mr. Mihlar,

Your editorial in the Vancouver Sun, October 19, 2010, was an utter disgrace and you and your paper owe the RCMP an unqualified apology. To blame this tawdry Basi-Virk deal on bad police work is, sir, disgusting.

It’s true that an RCMP statement back at the beginning, “it was a cancer eating away at the social and moral fabric of British Columbia” might have been unwise hyperbole.

One the other hand it could have been true and I suggest to you, Mr Mihlar that we’ll never know because members of the government including the premier did not have to testify.

You say “They (police) may have been sniffing but based on the evidence that came out in court, they found nothing to back their allegations beyond the charges that were ultimately laid.” (my emphasis)

How in hell can you say that when the key witnesses who could have been asked the appropriate questions were all shielded by a cop-out?

Why don’t you ask why the politicians past and present were, in effect, protected, not blame the police because the prosecutor pulled the rug from under them?

We, the journalist deprived public, have been treated by your paper to one weasily defence of the Campbell government after another. You’ve stonewalled the fish farm case giving the industry and their flacks almost carte blanche to use your op-ed page and a shrill sheet.

With the exception of the occasional article by Scott Simpson you haven’t said a word about the sell out and ruination of our rivers and bankrupting BC Hydro in the bargain.

Mr. Mihlar, we know one another from your days as a guest on my radio show where you peddled your far right wing views in your capacity as a “Fellow” of the Fraser Institute. Evidently those views have been carried onto the Editorial and op-ed of your newspaper.

I have done many editorials critical of the police and my readers know that and can vouch for it. But to criticize the RCMP because Bill Berardino, QC, pulled the rug on the Basi-Virk case before any cabinet ministers before or now, and the premier, were examined and cross examined, is unfair in the extreme and you and the Vancouver Sun ought to withdraw from that disgusting editorial and make a full apology.

Yours very truly,

Rafe Mair

2 Responses to “Berardino and The Sun”

  1. e.a.f. says:

    I do hope they print your letter. It is good. I am confident it represents the thoughts of many in B. C. I personally sent letters to the local papers in the Comox Valley, on the subject, but doubt very much they will be published.
    I remember the raid well. It jollied me up no end, thinking this would deal with what was going on in the province.
    I do not believe the R.C.M.P., regardless of the other mistakes they have made, would make one this large. Some one had to give the order for such a thing to happen and there had to be some edvidence to obtain an order to conduct the “raid”.
    The desire of main stream media to sweep this under the carpet does nothing to enchance their declining sales of newspapers.
    The main stream media, in the province, in my opinion, have not done their job. If one were to rely on the main stream media for all their news you would think everything in the province was in good order. Were it not for the many political blogs a lot of news would not be getting out there.
    It is getting to the point I would pay to run ads in newspapers simply outlining what has been happening in the province, from enviornmental destruction to political appointments, etc.
    It is strange to be agreeing with you on some subjects. I never cared for the socreds, never voted for them, never liked you radio show, but on the issues which are currently plaguing our province, I agree we have a problem and it needs to be solved.
    I have grown up in B.C. and at the old age of 61 am horrified how the natural resources of our province are being destroyed. Not only are they being destroyed but there isn’t any long lasting benefit to the people of this province. Some may believe it will make us money right now but this province has to continue on. If we use it all up now there will be nothing for future generations to use and enjoy. If we destroy our rivers and water what will be left to drink for 5 generations down the road. Where will a kid, with working class parents, get to go camping in the wilderness and see the wildlife.
    I guess if you live long enough you find something to agree on with most people. I guess I’ve lived a long time and as they say, never say never.

  2. r.g.p. says:

    I share your nausea for this latest example of lies and corruption in our great province. But I am equally nauseated watching the head liar, Gordon Campbell, standing in front of the news cameras, branding Virk and Basi as “convicted criminals” and not one spineless, so-called journalist in the scrum asking: “why then are the taxpayers footing their six million dollar legal bill?”. Why, that six million would pay Mr. Hahn’s salary for six years and we’d actually get something for our money. And there, Rafe, is your answer as to why the Vancouver Sun is out to lunch when it comes to this trial; they now spend all their time filing Freedom of Information Requests on BC Ferries and we can look forward to their “expert” non-opinions coming down the tubes in the near future. So apparently the rag’s right wing editorial director has little influence on the left wing, yellow journalists who inhabit the Sun newsroom and who apparently don’t understand, along with the NDP and some Liberals, the complexities of multi-million dollar financing of new ship builds, infrastructure upgrading, and turning what was no more than a political fiefdom, into a highly impressive and successful corporation. To compare the man that was able to accomplish all of this to the do-nothing CEO’s of BC’s Crown Corporations demonstrates a clear lack of intelligence on the part of those named above. But I digress and this is a rant for another time. Keep up the good work Rafe although I feel it is a losing battle as BC, along with the rest of the country, slips into a state of sub-mediocrity.

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