It has been brought to my attention that I may have misconstrued the following statement attributed to Bill Berardino, QC, Crown Counsel in the Basi-Virk case – 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.
Apparently, according to some, what he meant by this is that he had not seen the signed copy and that he did in fact make the deal.
If I misled you, I’m sorry, but I apologize for nothing. If Mr Berardino had meant “I negotiated solely on behalf of the Crown but I didn’t see the actual signatures until the morning at 9:40 why the hell didn’t he say so?
I believe that on the plain words he spoke, my interpretation was the natural one. He spoke of “signed by the Crown” as if it were signed by somebody else than him. If he meant “I signed on behalf of the Crown”, again, why didn’t he say so?
While he accepts sole responsibility for the deal, that scarcely means he negotiated it alone.
If he does say he negotiated it alone – that is without consulting the government – I exercise my right not to believe him. I don’t believe that for two reasons;
1. This was the most notorious court case I can remember going back to and including the BC Electric takeover in the 60s and surely Berardino would understand that the public had a right to know how the deal was done and would have, as experienced counsel, issued a statement that was incapable of more than one meaning.
2. It beggars belief that he didn’t discuss the part of the deal that saw the entire legal tab, including the accused’s legal costs, with a member of the government or an agent of the government before making the deal. At the risk of being redundant, I remind all that we the taxpayers are paying for this.
Whether he spoke to the Attorney-General, the Assistant Deputy Attorney-General, Criminal Justice Branch or anyone else with the authority to throw away $6 million dollars, surely he had to first get their consent and in doing that would surely have to tell them what the entire deal was.
So now we have a new question for Mr Berardino – did you make the deal to forgo over $6 million dollars all on your own?
I must tell you again, if you say that, I don’t believe you.
If you got authority to make that deal you would have had to, obviously, disclose what the government was getting in exchange. That being the case, from whom did you get your authority?
If you wish, I will publish any statement you may have in reply to the same people receiving this and previous mailouts on this matter.
The question of what role the Judge played remains unanswered.