News

Defence claims rile prosecutor

BILL TIELEMAN , 24 HOURS

A defence lawyer in the B.C. Legislature raid case yesterday accused the RCMP of "cloaking duplicity" in not disclosing evidence to the accused, drawing strong objections from the Special Prosecutor.

Kevin McCullough, representing Bob Virk, one of three former B.C. government aides facing corruption charges connected to the $1 billion B.C. Rail sale, alleged that the RCMP failed to fully disclose a key memorandum from their lawyers regarding wiretap applications at the Legislature.

"The RCMP are cloaking duplicity," McCullough said, prompting an angry Special Prosecutor Janet Winteringham to leap to her feet in B.C. Supreme Court during a pre-trial hearing.

"Objection! This submission is premature and the issue goes to innocence at stake," Winteringham told Justice Elizabeth Bennett. "Maybe down the road but not today."

Bennett agreed with Winteringham, telling McCullough he will have a later opportunity to argue RCMP abuse of process during the actual trial.

But McCullough repeated his accusation against the RCMP again, drawing another objection from Winteringham.

"How many other documents are there that we aren't pursuing because we don't know they even exist?" asked an exasperated McCullough.

Earlier Michael Bolton, representing David Basi, argued that the RCMP had wrongly avoided obtaining the Legislature Speaker's permission to place wiretaps on Basi's cellphone and phone in the office of then-Finance Minister Gary Collins.