Thursday, May 15, 2008

This Week On The Dobranos.....

....Confidentiality Agreement? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Confidentiality Agreement!

Plot synopsis for the latest episode of British Columbia's never-ending political thriller/soap opera has kindly been provided by the Globe and Mail's Justine Hunter:

VICTORIA -- The RCMP have been asked to investigate whether Premier Gordon Campbell's former deputy minister managed to taint their political corruption case when he vetted confidential documents to be released to investigators.

Ken Dobell, once Mr. Campbell's top political fixer, told The Globe and Mail last week he handled files without signing a court undertaking that would have restricted him from talking to anyone about the documents.

Leonard Krog, a New Democratic Party opposition critic, asked the RCMP yesterday to look into whether Mr. Dobell's involvement compromised the RCMP investigation, calling it a serious breach.

"The government appears to have breached a protocol established by the Supreme Court during the course of this investigation," Mr. Krog told reporters yesterday. "I believe it merits investigation."

The allegations are the latest twist in the long-running political saga that became public after a sensational raid on the legislature in December, 2003.

{snippety doo-dah}

Documents seized in the legislature raid were kept in a secure evidence room, and police weren't allowed to read them until the government determined whether it would waive executive privilege.

Under a court-approved scheme, four government officials were assigned to vet the documents, and each signed an undertaking to maintain confidentiality.

But in November, 2004, one of the four, George Copley, wrote to Mr. Dobell seeking permission to waive cabinet privilege over three specific documents they had discussed, saying police needed the files to question two cabinet ministers and several other government officials.

Mr. Dobell, then the deputy minister to the premier, confirmed that police could have those files.

Yesterday during Question Period, Mr. Krog asked whether Mr. Dobell disclosed anything he had learned because he was not bound by the court oath of secrecy.

"Mr. Dobell has said publicly that he was under no obligation not to disclose the substance of his discussions. Who did he talk with, and when did he talk?"

He asked whether Mr. Dobell spoke to then-finance- minister Gary Collins, Mr. Basi's boss. Mr. Collins resigned his seat on Dec. 14, 2004.

Outside of the legislature, Mr. Krog offered no evidence to suggest Mr. Dobell disclosed anything.

"What I can say is that Mr. Dobell was not a signatory to the agreement that would have prevented him from discussing this."

Current Attorney General Wally Oppal declined to comment given that the matter of Mr. Dobell's involvement is, according to him at least, 'before the courts'.

To which we can only respond that, now that Premier Gordon Campbell et al. have brought craptacularama-lama-ding-dong stuff like this to the public's and the court's attention, it is sure to give the Defence pretty strong grounds to call for a mistrial, especially given the fact that the judge in the case, Elizabeth Bennett, has already ruled that some of the documents that have been kept under wraps due to the government's use of privilege protected by 'The Protocol', solictor/client-based or otherwise, actually get to the matter of 'innocence at stake'.

If you get our drift (on what we think the plotline to the next episode in this sordid saga just might be)......



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