Friday, March 30, 2012

The Six Million Dollar BC Rail Deal....Mr. Plant Answers My Question.

Blogs,BlogsEverywhere
ButNoTimeToEatLunchVille

It's noon on Friday, and the former BC Liberal Party government Attorney General, Mr. Geoff Plant, has been gracious enough to answer my question regarding his interpretation of the propriety of the 'Six Million Dollar Deal' that, in my opinion, effectively ended the BC Rail Trial of Mess'rs Basi, Basi and Virk with much haste.

Recapping.......

A few days ago Mr. Plant wrote a 'Dear John' blog post in which he asked Mr. van Dongen what he would have done differently with regards to the 'deal' itself.

Prior to actually asking that question of Mr. van Dongen, Mr. Plant also wrote a number of things as a preamble.

And one passage in particular led me to leave a question for Mr. Plant in the comments as follows:

Mr. Plant first you state the following:
"The defendants pleaded guilty. What is clear is that there was no legally binding deal. There couldn’t be. The waiver of recovery of fees was not and could not be an inducement to plead guilty. As a matter of law they were not connected. But that was of course the outcome. It was done very, very carefully, to make sure the rules were followed."

Then, in the next sentence you state:
" But it was understood that with guilty pleas, the claim to fee recovery would be waived."


Now.

Based on those continguous statements, perhaps you could help me 'understand' the following:

If it was 'understood' that guilty pleas would subsequently lead to the waiver being granted, does it not logically follow that there was, for all intents and purposes, a prior 'inducement' regardless how 'carefully' things were done to make sure 'the rules were followed'?

Thanks.

I then wrote my own blog-post about this, here, if you would like more background and exposition.

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Importantly, Mr. Plant has taken the time to respond to my question, also in the comments over at his place:

Ross K,

There was no "prior inducement". The offer of pleas was made first and entirely independently. The discussion about the fee waiver happened afterwards, and involved government, not the special prosecutor.


Paul Willcocks, who has been following this also, responded to Mr. Plant's response thusly:


  1. Sorry, but the hairs are being split too finely. If there were genuine guilty pleas arranged in negotiations with the special prosecutor in place, then there was no need to break the policy on indemnities. The guilty pleas would have been secured, the trial ended and the taxpayers could have recovered at least some of the $6 million.

    If they weren't in place, then the $6 million was indeed a prior inducement because it came before the guilty pleas were actually secured.
And while I too sincerely appreciate Mr. Plant's efforts to explain the situation more fully, I still do not understand his position based on how he laid things out in the original post, which is explained by my response to both his own response and Paul's:

  1. Thanks very much for the clarification of your position Mr. Plant.

    However, I am still in complete agreement with Mr. Willcocks' point of view on the matter.

    More specifically, in my opinion a 'chronological' separation of the formal agreements does not, in and of itself, indicate a lack of prior inducement if, as you say, the accused 'understood' (your term, not mine) that the official waiver agreements would follow the official guilty plea agreements.*

And with that, it's over to you all....

I sure would like to hear other folks' opinions on this matter, especially from folks with a legal background, as I am speaking purely as a layperson in that regard here.

Thanks all - and thanks to Mr. Plant and Mr. Willcock's too. This kind of discussion is most helpful on myriad levels.

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*In my lunch hour haste there were a couple of typos in my original comment which I've cleaned-up here....And now...back to work!....Look forward to any comments you might have later in the day....

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7 comments:

paul said...

I second your comment that this kind of discussion is useful on myriad levels, and applaud Geoff Plant for taking the time to blog, and respond to comments. He's a smart, informed person and I read anything he offers with interest. Even if I'm not persuaded, the public discussion is enhanced when there are competing points of view for people to consider. (I confess to a soft spot for Plant ever since the time, as attorney general, he urged to me to write about the exciting changes being made in administrative law in the province. Anyone who can use exciting and administrative law in the same sentence and be totally genuine has my respect.)

Ian said...

Good work getting him to state that clearly, RossK!

Because it's not true. I know that directly.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Ross for nailing Geoff Plant to the wall.

He's a weasel-mouth extraordinaire, ain't he, this former Attorney-General of BC?

Ah the joys of a "self-regulated" industry like the liars', ahem, lawyers' club.

Self-regulated profession is an oxymoron, and we the citizens of BC are the morons for permitting this class of low-lifes to write our laws so as to benefit themselves at great cost and risk to average citizens.

RossK said...

Thanks Ian.

On my way to your place....

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RossK said...

Anon--

No nailing.

Just getting folks on the record.

And to give the real credit where credit is due - Paul Willcocks made the same point right at the top of the comment thread a few days earlier....I was the tortoise in this comment derby to Paul's hare.

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lenin's ghost said...

good job to both ross and paul!

Nestaken Squire said...

Hopefully, there will be an end to this story that ends in jail time and not house arrest. Such a conviction of the polictians would sent a message to others that crime does not pay.