Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hats off to BC Mary at The Legislature Raids

She not only scoops Big Media on this one ; she drives it.

From Ian Mulgrew at the Vancouver Sun :
Drug dealer linked to legislature raid imprisoned
RCMP oddly silent about key victory against cocaine ring :
"The key figure in Project Every Which Way, the organized crime investigation that triggered the raid on the legislature half a decade ago, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment.
This significant event went apparently unreported until it appeared on citizen journalist Mary Mackie's blog [The Legislature Raids] and was brought to my attention Monday.
I was surprised no one in the federal prosecutor's office or the RCMP had issued a statement since this is the organized crime connection that led to the raid on legislature offices Dec. 28, 2003."

Does anyone still expect a Basi Virk trial anytime before Gordo retires?
Mary does. Vehemently.
She's been covering it almost daily ever since she noticed no one else was, save Tieleman and the Tyee, and she has been dogging media types to report this for months.

As she says in comments at The Gazetteer :
"Hard to believe that the guy whose activities had launched the raids on the BC Legislature, had been on trial - in Victoria - and 3 months later, nobody had noticed?? I posted the details under a clear headline: Jasmohan Singh Bains sentenced to 9 years -- so that Google couldn't miss it. I thought it would be news. Real news.
But apart from my own wonderful commentors, it seemed that nobody noticed.

I was so sure that the Bains trial and evidence were important to the BC Rail issues, I kept mentioning it, wherever an opportunity presented itself.
Such as during that crazy week in Victoria when Dave Basi was in Supreme Court on charges of A.L.R. bribery ... and he was in another Supreme Courtroom on matters relating to BC Rail -- and still NOTHING in the newspapers!

I kept talking to the CanWest journalists; I kept saying "Don't let this be like the Bains trial where nobody knows ..." But that's pretty much what happened ... nobody would have known about that either, except for Bill Tieleman's blog and mine.

Why was I so determined? Because I have never forgotten that press conference, the day after police raided the BC Legislature, when RCMP Staff Sgt John Ward explained it by talking about Organized Crime being a cancer at all levels of society. I figured he was talking over the heads of our leadership, telling us things he knew nobody else would willingly tell us. I still believe that. So, apparently, does Ian Mulgrew.

So one day a week or two ago, I was writing to Ian to compliment him on a column he had just written. I added, "I just wish you'd been assigned to the Basi Virk case, then we might've heard about the Bains trial ..."
Next thing I knew, Ian Mulgrew's story was in Vancouver Sun.
Ian -- alone of all the West Coast journalists -- not only realized the significance of the Bains trial, but barrelled right past his CanWest handlers and got his story into print."

Background :
The busted drug dealer here is Jasmohan Singh Bains, cousin to Dave Basi.
Dave Basi was ministerial assistant to then BC Finance Minister Gary Collins.
Bob Virk was ministerial assistant to BC Transportation Minister Judith Reid.
An anonymous informant tipped off the RCMP that Basi was laundering money for Bains.
A subsequent RCMP wiretap on Bains led to both Liberal aides being charged with fraud, bribery, breach of trust, and accepting money in exchange for info on the sale of the Crown corporation BC Rail in November 2003.
Another cousin, government media analyst Aneal Basi, is accused of money laundering for allegedly accepting cheques and transferring funds to Basi from a partner at Pilothouse, the lobby firm for one of the US bidders for BC Rail.
Constable Ravinder Singh Dosanjh, now suspended from the Victoria police force, is charged with obstruction of justice in connection with this investigation.

And now, after six friggin years, there will be yet another one year delay in the trial while the Supreme Court decides whether defense lawyers may be shown the sensitive boondoggley government documents identifying the informant.
Good thing Mary will be on it.
Updated to include Mary's comment at The Gazetteer.

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