Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Butler did it.

The Butler did it. Again. 

Richard Butler, a high-ranking lawyer from the Legal Services Branch, swore his fifth affidavit on Nov. 16. The 12-page statement was the first surprise of the day Dec. 3 at B.C. Supreme Court when the Office of the Auditor General's bid to see the $6 million deal with Dave Basi and Bob Virk resumed. 

A quick refresher: The two BC Liberal government aides copped a plea bargain on Oct. 18, 2010 after steadfastly maintaining their innocence over the 2003 BC Rail scandal. They both got house arrest for two years for taking bribes from lobbyists for Omnitrax. Their legal bills were paid by taxpayers, which is contrary to government policy. Auditor-General Doyle is suing the government to examine the legal indemnity. The government claims it is covered by solicitor/client privilege. Listen to The Investigators from CKNW AM 980 for all the history of this scandal.

Photo of MLA John van Dongen
van Dongen
Abbotsford-South independent MLA John van Dongen successfully applied for intervenor status and has spent $100,000 of his own money so far in his quest to get the truth on the billion-dollar sale of the people's railway. The case was held over four days in September and scheduled for another two in December. It wrapped up in less than a full-day on Dec. 3. That was the second surprise.

In this 11th hour affidavit, Butler made the startling revelation that he did not look at billing certificates when they were submitted and blamed "failure of memory" for making misstatements a year earlier. Read the affidavit at the bottom of this post.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman granted a sealing order for certain documents mentioned in the Butler affidavit. Still, one only needs to read the affidavit to realize how odd it is for such a highly educated and qualified legal mind to bungle the file.

"Here we are right near the end of a case, we've had five days of hearings, virtually finished argument, just getting into reply, the final stage of the case," van Dongen told me outside the Law Courts. "The senior lawyer in government involved in all the indemnity files tables an affidavit saying 'I made a mistake in the previous affidavit,' and points out he was relying on his memory, didn't check the documents before they went out and realized there was obviously a significant misstatement in the earlier affidavit.

"Every step of the way there's a surprise," van Dongen said. "The advice I've been given is it's very unusual for parties to be filing things this close to the end of the case. Yet it happens in this case."

Meanwhile, van Dongen's conflict of interest complaint against Premier Christy Clark is in the hands of Northwest Territories conflict of interest commissioner Gerald Gerrand after B.C.'s Paul Fraser was compelled to hand it over on Nov. 13. Van Dongen found out that Fraser's son, John Paul, is a Government Communications and Public Engagement assistant deputy minister appointed by Clark. Clark and John Paul Fraser are longtime friends.

New information shows that Clark met with the elder Fraser on Oct. 4. The Premier's agenda (obtained by me via Freedom of Information), does not indicate the reason for the meeting. It was, coincidentally, almost two weeks after van Dongen hand-delivered his "grounds for belief and nature of alleged contraventions" about Clark to the commissioner on Sept. 21.

In the absence of a public inquiry about the corrupt sale of BC Rail, British Columbians who care deeply about democracy and integrity of their government are waiting patiently for Bauman's verdict and Gerrand's report. 

Butler Affidavit

1 comment:

Advocatus Dei said...

The suggestion Butler bungled in ridiculous. The reasonable interpretation is that Butler committed perjury and was caught and is now trying to wiggle off a criminal charge and serious jail time.

The AG's office commits perjury all the time in this province.

The AG's office is a major centre of organized crime in BC

We explain this at the Water War Crimes Web Site


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