Saturday, October 23, 2010

William Berardino, or how biased and corrupt can a British Columbia Special Prosecutor be?

Anyone else outraged about the Basi & Virk BC Rail corruption scandal?

In the latest twist Bill Berardino, the Special Prosecutor of the case (who is in many ways `special`), brokered a deal that would have the accused Dave Basi and Bob Virk plead guilty to charges of corruption, and then foot the bill ($18 million and counting) to us, the taxpayer.

Does that pass the smell test to you?

Not to Getting It Right!

This Bill whose idea it was to send us the $18 million dollar bill, Mr. William Berardino, why doesn't he have these two criminals pay for it, or at least a big part of it?

Perhaps there's a better explanation of why Bill's ruling has sent Basi and Virk home smiling:
Rumour has it (it`s actually all over the internet) that Mr William Berardino isn't exactly that "free from any political interference whatsoever," as some would have us believe. William Berardino is exceptionally well connected with the BC Liberals government, especially for someone who is supposed to be impartial:
Weird, eh? Sorry for repeating myself here, but the main reason for hiring an independent Special Prosecutor is his independence. Now this guy is clearly not independent, far from it. Mr. William Berardino has been buddies with the BC Liberals political elite for years. And those BC Liberals are exactly the same club of people that Basi and Virk were working for!

You would think that a not-so-independent Special Prosecutor would at least try to act as carefully as possible to not (cough) appear biased, right?

Not this joker.

In May 2005, about 1.5 years after being asked for the case, William Berardino's own firm Berardino's & Harris donated $500 to BC Liberal candidate and future Attorney General Wally Opal.
Berardino [said] he was asked to attend a fundraising breakfast for [Oppal]. He said the donation has no impact on his handling of the case.
That might well be true, but spending meals with and giving donations to a BC Liberal and future Attorney General while being a prosecutor on such a massive corruption scandal involving BC Liberal aids, let's just say such blatant mingling with BC Liberals doesn't look good for any prosecutor, and definitely not for a Special Prosecutor.

An investigation by the BC Law Society (not particularly independent themselves, and known for whitewashing the misconduct of their own members) concluded (surprise, surprise) no (legal) misconduct had taken place. But on the real issue here, conflict of interest, the BC Law Society was silent and never commented.

Let me repeat it again: obviously, donating moneys to one of the parties (yes, the BC Liberal Party had hired Basi and Virk) under investigation is a serious conflict of interest (apparent or otherwise).

Wait, there's more:

The latest blunder happened only days ago. William Berardino was caught informing the BC Liberal government about a possible plea deal:

Read the Times Colonist (before they covered up this detail):
"But when special prosecutor Bill Berardino made the B.C. government aware on Oct. 5 that he had proposed to let the two men plead guilty, it fell to the deputy minister of finance, Graham Whitmarsh, and Loukidelis to figure out whether they would actually have to come up with the money, Loukidelis's statement read."
Paul Willcocks has excellent comment on the above (emphases mine):
Why would the special prosecutor "make the government aware" of his plea offer?
[If] the special prosecutor is briefing the government of his plans, he is no longer independent. 
Telling the government of plans to seek a plea bargain, for example, invites interference. Either by proposing a different strategy or, as in this case, offering financial inducements to encourage a guilty plea.
Well said, Paul.

So how biased and corrupt is William Berardino, this Special Prosecutor of the BC Rail corruption case? Hard to say, but let's just say William Berardino did very little to avoid the (cough) appearance of bias, which is supposed to be the main reason for hiring a Special Prosecutor.

No doubt in my mind that some other, more sinister reasons have played its part in hiring William Berardino as a Special Prosecutor.

What idiot did make the decision to hire Berardino, someone that is so well connected to the BC Liberals? What? Geoff Plant, the former Attorney General and BC Liberal? Oh, now I see why this is called the BC Rail corruption trial.

I rest my case.

Recall in the fall? You bet ya!

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