Justice MacKenzie not worthy of the position

Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher and jurist in the late 18th century:

“In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing… Publicity is the very soul of justice…It keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial.”

The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada

“The open court principle is thus a fundamental element of the law of many countries including Canada. . . Openness signifies that the public and the press have free access to the courts of justice and are entitled to attend and observe any hearing. It signifies that court records and documents are available for public examination. The rule of openness entails that reasons for judgment are public and, therefore, subject to the scrutiny of the parties, the media, the bar, legal scholars and, ultimately, the populace. And, under the open courts principle, the public and the press may freely discuss and publish accounts of court proceedings, hearings, examinations and decisions.”

I sense sad irony in the fact that Associate Chief Justice Anne Mackenzie made her ruling on Basi/Virk evidence shortly after the death of Donald Brenner. British Columbia’s former Chief Justice was widely respected for his effort to make the justice system more responsive, accessible and cost-effective. His work has been dishonored by a former colleague.

Justice Mackenzie’s conduct in the Basi/Virk case is in conflict with the principles expressed repeatedly by Justice Brenner and Canada’s highest Judge. Justice McLachlin believes it is important for judges to be open and forthcoming to media and says the public is entitled to know who their judges are and how they arrive at their decisions.

Mackenzie made a ruling aimed at preventing public access and destroying documents that should play a vital role in the investigation of an important political scandal. Further, she conducted the Basi/Virk trial in a manner that ensured important and legitimate questions about public business may forever be unanswered. She spat in the face of principles elucidated by legal scholars and judges of higher standing.

MacKenzie gave privileges and limited access to court documents to a small, self-selected media group, guaranteeing that the “soul of justice” was impaired. She denied other journalists the same access and privileges. She operated under the outdated assumption that journalists are only those delegated by the largest media participants, without testing their ability or willingness to act in the interest of the broad public.

Justice MacKenzie allowed the prosecutors to serve as officers of government, not officers of the courts. She took political direction and accepted an extorted plea bargain that was in the interest of suspect conspirators and not of the public, to whom she owed higher duty. Additionally,  the plea agreement relieved Basi and Virk of millions of dollars in liability to the public and gave them no-custody sentences substantially below those appropriate, according to established sentencing guidelines. By this plea issue alone, MacKenzie encourages citizens to suspect she participates in a legal cover-up by which the government purchased the silence of those who may have conspired with people in government to engage in illegal acts.

Additionally, she allowed charges to be dropped against prominent individuals who had proffered bribes to Basi while he was a government official. She accepted instead guilty pleas from corporations controlled by the defendants, leaving the bribers free of criminal records. This extraordinarily soft treatment was done without public explanation or published plea agreement.

Because she disrespects the open courts principle, MacKenzie serves the interests of British Columbia’s citizens badly.

More here on Basi/Virk and the need for public inquiry.

Categories: Basi/Virk, Journalism, Justice

12 replies »

  1. We have to face certain and disturbing facts – the BC Courts are no longer independent, but are puppets to the Premier's office.

    BC courts and their judges are corrupt and being corrupt, make the entire BC legal system corrupt.

    Make of it as you will, in BC the law is applied differently to all social levels, with the provincial elites getting a free ride.

    In other countries, this causes revolutions, not so in BC, where it is deemed business as usual.


  2. As much as I detest the female, I do have to admit she did a wonderful job – of the job she was “put” there to do. Derail the trial (no pun intended), and protect the guilty while punishing the taxpayers stupid enough to vote for them, twice.

    As far as I'm concerned, she has more than earned every negative thought and word thrown her way. But!..the question is, WHO ordered her to the seat in which she sits? It wasn't Campbell, he didn't have the power to seat her…that is Federal Government turf. Do we once again look to Harper for interference not only in the political/taxation system in BC, but also our justice system? At whose behest? Is it co-incidence that both Harper and Campbell are Bilderbergers…and that those who benefit most from the sale of BC Rail are as well?

    As much as I'd like to respect the Chief Justice of Canada – I find I cannot do that anymore. To allow this travesty and do nothing about it, puts her in the same boat as MacKenzie. Which to my way of thinking means she will stand by and watch as Harper does to Canada, what Campbell did to BC.

    Democracy in Canada is dead.

    Welcome to the new Benevolent Dictatorship! I wonder how long it will be before the dictator loses his benevolent attitude?


  3. Heavens Norm, what are you saying? Did you not read the guest editorial in today's Times-Apologist out of Victoria?

    Despite some trial delays, process is fair to both lawyers and clients

    By Michael T. Mulligan, Mulligan Tam Pearson
    Times Colonist March 16, 2011

    The editorial entitled “Getting our day in court” suggested that inadequate access to justice in British Columbia is the product of some combination of inefficiency, stalling tactics by lawyers, frivolous litigation and billing practices in civil litigation cases involving contingency fee agreements (March 10).

    The editorial suggested there were simple remedies to these perceived problems, and that the legal profession should fix these perceived failings without the necessity of the government properly funding the legal aid system.

    First, it should be noted that far from being some sort of abject failure, British Columbia's justice system, both civil and criminal, is among the best in the world.

    In the civil context, for example, if you compare our model with most U.S. states, we have vastly fewer cases that wind up going to trial. This is, in part, because we have a cost structure that discourages frivolous litigation.

    … ad nauseum

    There's more at:


  4. And, then we should all pay attention to this news nugget that those of us in the great unwashed public were not informed of by the meanstream media (typo was accidental, but I like it!):

    Guess who Premier Clark’s new Deputy Communications Director is?
    Rebecca Scott.

    Don’t know her? Let me help. She is the immediate past producer of ‘The Bill Good Show’ (she just left). I know, I know, queue the maniacal laughter. But here’s where it gets interesting, and a CONFLICT!

    She is engaged to be married to Stephen Smart, formerly of CTV Vancouver and now the CBC Vancouver-Victoria Bureau Chief.

    So, let’s do the math: Not-So-Sweetie and Smartie are NEVER going to talk shop at home on the couch or the breakfast nook? Of course not. No plums there, nope, none.

    The CBC needs to clean this up pronto considering the Belle Puri fiasco (they put Puri on political ice permanently, now they need to take some steps with Smart).

    There's more at:


  5. ” the law is applied differently to all social levels ” This I truly believe, DESPITE what anyone may tell me.
    I'm also very curious as to why we in a supposedly democratic society, feel the need to hide or destroy documents that truly belong to the public.

    Guy in Victoria


  6. It sure looks like a government cover up, doesn't it !

    I wonder how long Campbell can manage to duck out of having any responsibilty at all, in the last decade. Everything was someone/something elses fault – not his. There was only one person in his government that had the authority to do what he did and he continues to remain silent.

    It is truly sickening to think what this imbecile has managed to get away with – with or without help from Ottawa.

    The cost of this legal circus must be in the tens of millions of dollars, all told.

    Time will tell I guess, but it must not be left alone to quietly disappear. We need to keep throwing it into the faces of the government and all that supported them. Just maybe, something will click and things will be done the way they should have been initially.

    Thank you.


  7. A salute to you, Norm Farrell, for an excellent summary.

    The citizens of British Columbia have work to do. Like the industrious beaver chosen as a Canadian emblem … we must chew at the base of this corrupt gang still entrenched in B.C.

    It's no use, any more, to keep saying how disgusted we are with Campbell and his gang, with MacKenzie who is part of another gang, and with the bafflegab coming out of Victoria and Ottawa.

    Point #1: start pushing for the Public Enquiry — not just on the plea bargain but on the entire corrupt sale of BC Rail.

    Point #2: Keep pushing … push harder, and don't let up until the Public Inquiry is established honestly, on principled grounds, led by someone of good character. Probably someone from out-of-province. Or someone who stands apart.

    And yes, dammit, we can do it. And now's our chance, when Christy is vulnerable, and the Campbell Gang isn't quite out of BC territory yet.


  8. Shame! Shame! Shame! to all responsible for this breach of justice and to all that is right.
    May they rest assured that there will be a future and that the actions they have taken is who that future will record them as.The Shameless, spineless,parasites who have chosen to spit on the graves of all who have faught and given their lives for freedom and democracy.
    To all responsible all of your tommorrows will be burdened by the actions you have taken is these matters! Good luck to you all I say!


  9. Mackenzie's ruling should be appealed. I hope Basi and Virk (through their lawyers) will take the necessary steps to send this to the SCC…Given the fact Basi and Co. ended up with a cancelled bill for the legal work done on their behalf (from looking at the public accounts since this trial started I know the lawyers were already billing and being paid for their work on an ongoing basis) I don't think that undertaking this appeal would be too much to ask from both the lawyers AND their clients.

    However, if they don't see the need to make such a public-spirited gesture I would have thought the media (especially CTV GLobe Media who have had their oar in this lake on behalf of the government/prosecution and could use a little injection of credibility) would also have a good reason to appeal Mackenzie's bizarre ruling.


  10. I was told to google, Harper delivers plan of, Global Governance for Canada. Read it, and then barf, everyone was shocked by what Harper said. He actually said, Global Governance, has been worked on since 1945. Right after Hitlers plans, for a thousand year Reich. Campbell works for Harper. Campbell was invited to the Bilderberg meeting. Campbell even gave Harper our BC HST, and he has stripped BC to the bare bones. Why? I am so hoping, Harper will be forced to resign. Harper gave me the willies, right from day one. When I read the article of his Global governance plan, I then understood why.

    The next party in office in BC, will have to do a huge purge. Get rid of the corrupt judicial system, and all of Campbell's corrupt entities, and they are many and far reaching. Maybe then, the air in BC will be fit to breathe.


  11. As soon as we get rid of the Liberals.

    Just think of all the fun there will be, firing every corrupt monster in the entire province. We can even lie, like the BC Liberals do. We can flout the law as the Liberals do. We can thieve like the BC Liberals do, but thieve from the Liberals only. We must not thieve from the people as the Liberals did. We can even lie and deceive to be re-elected as Campbell did, the BCR wasn't for sale. And the HST wasn't on the radar.

    We can make up anything we like. We can even kick the media in the ass. We can throw Campbell in prison, where he belongs. We can just, take our rivers back, and our BCR, any lie will do. We can install the Provincial Police, the RCMP are far too corrupt. Wouldn't it be a blessing to rid ourselves from, all of that low life scum? Can you just imagine, all the squealing we will hear?


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