Just as former BC finance minister Gary Collins was due to take the stand in BC’s biggest and longest running political corruption case, it’s all over.
Defendants Dave Basi and Bob Virk, ministerial aides to Collins and former BC transport minister Judith Reid respectively, have agreed to stay home for two years and perform 150 hours of community service so that no one higher up the political ladder will be inconvenienced by charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of public trust in the $1-billion 2003 sell-off of BC Rail.
Charges of money laundering against the third defendant Aneal Basi, also with the transport ministry, appear to have disappeared completely.
After millions of dollars spent, six years of endless delays, and a change of judge this spring, the Basi Virk BC Rail trial has been legally shunted off onto a dead-end track where no one will ever find it.
CBC Radio acted real surprised just now – Gosh, what happened there!? – and quickly moved on. A clearly disgusted Bruce Hutchinson from NaPo was in the gallery for what he calls the “face-saving deal” that ended the trial none of the parties involved wanted to continue.
“… at what we simpletons in the gallery thought was the resumption of the B.C. Rail trial. Rather than testimony we heard muffled guilty pleas, to mutually accepted statements of fact based on suddenly sanitized criminal counts.”
As to the entirely unspoken “remorse” Madame Justice Anne MacKenzie said she accepted from Basi and Virk, Hutchinson reports:
“when all was said and done and the courtroom had almost emptied, they laughed.”
And really, why not? After years of legal bullshit, they simply pay back the bribes and go home.
A public inquiry? You’re kidding, right?