Tuesday, December 1, 2015

BC Rail Trial single deleted emails: Justice denied by Supreme Court Judge Bennett - 2009. Over to you Gov. Lawyer Copley

Starting an investigation into George Gretes triple deleting of emails has come a long way from 2009 when the norm was a SINGLE delete to stop FOIs.

Four years of B.C. cabinet emails erased

Vancouver — The Globe and Mail

.... "I'm (Justice Bennett) not keen on having these individuals [responsible for managing government records]cross-examined…If the documents are not recoverable it doesn't mean anything unless you [first]establish likely relevance," she said.

Justice Bennett told the defence to argue the relevance issue Tuesday, while submitting a set of written questions to Mr. Copley (lawyer representing the Executive Council, which includes both the Premier's office and cabinet) to get more details on what exactly was done to search the government records.

Leonard Krog, NDP justice critic, said it is "extremely troubling" that important government files may have been destroyed.

"The Document Disposal Act requires that [electronic records]be kept for seven years," he said. "It raises incredible suspicions and someone farther up the political chain that Mr. Copley is going to have to appear in court and explain what happened."

The government of B.C. has a detailed protocol covering both the preservation and destruction of its records.

Formal records can be destroyed, but only after the action has been approved by a public documents committee, the legislative assembly or the attorney general (or the Deputy's $6 million payoff)

The Corporate Information Management Branch, which provides guidelines for government employees, states that e-mails must be copied to a central document management directory before individuals delete them from their personal files.  ....

Mark Hume
Vancouver — From Friday's Globe and Mail

.... Two weeks ago, the defence filed an application for the disclosure of the e-mail records of Mr. Campbell, several cabinet ministers and numerous staff, arguing the communications could shed light on whether the accused were acting on their own, or under directions from superiors.

But earlier this week George Copley, a lawyer representing the Executive Council of the B.C. government, told court a search had failed to produce the e-mails sought because the data system keeps backup tapes for only 13 months.

Yesterday, he elaborated on that point, saying the e-mails may have been deleted because they were defined as "transitory" under document-management regulations.

He said "routine records of no value" are labelled transitory and are deleted.

"It is possible the e-mails you were asking about were considered transitory in nature or there may be other explanations," Mr. Copley said.

One explanation he offered was that about half the officials the defence wants e-mail records for had left government by the time the application was made and their e-mail accounts were erased. ....
Terminating half of the political appointees (OIC) allowed the government to 'legally' erase their email accounts.  Novel idea in 2009.

Is it still happening as we speak?  eg. Gretes, suspended, not terminated

Is there's a move afoot, as we write, new terminations in the fallout of those that have been triple deleting their files upon orders of Christy Clark's Deputy Chief of Staff or whatever her title is now.


Robin Mathews:

February 5, 2009 Letter to:

The Honourable Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett,
The Supreme Court of British Columbia,

....George Copley’s silent presentation is just one of the absurdities common to the pre-trial hearings involving Basi, Virk, and Basi, and common to Supreme Court of British Columbia in its behaviour. It is an outrage, for instance, that people seeking transcript material and other material on public record should face refusal or unseemly delay, bureaucratic complexity, and then often  huge costs paid to private corporations whose profits Supreme Court judges seem more concerned to assure than they are to assure the public’s right to know and its certainty of the fair pursuit of justice.

    Private corporate control over court documents and records must end.  In addition, repression of materials on public record for in-house reasons under so-called “Practice Directions” must end.

   In a public matter and trial of such importance as this one - with which you are seized - a printed transcript of every day of hearing should be available on the next sitting day, in the courtroom, for all who wish to have a copy.  If that statement surprises you, I suggest – with the deepest respect – you may have forgotten the duty our legal system has (and you have as judge) to support the fair pursuit of justice openly and with regard to all citizens. 

  So much material on public record is presently kept secret for reasons I consider indefensible that suspicion may fairly arise among some Canadians that rule-makers in the Supreme Court of British Columbia are either petty tyrants or are complicit with others wishing to prevent justice being done – and being seen to be done. ...

.... Mr. George Copley is a servant of the B.C. Cabinet.  He is appearing in Vancouver Supreme Court on February 16 in order to shield what cabinet documents he can – relating to the BC Rail Scandal – from the Defence (and the British Columbia public).  His presentation will be extremely important and MUST be fully audible.  - ViveleCanada

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