Judge denies request for BC Rail legal fee payout docs
Former ministerial aides Bobbi Virk, left, and Dave Basi are seen leaving the B.C. Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver, Monday, May 17, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013 1:01PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2013 1:51PM PST
VANCOUVER -- Taxpayers may never learn why the B.C. government decided to pay $6 million in legal fees for two former ministerial aides now that a judge has dismissed an application for government documents.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Bauman says in his written decision that Auditor General John Doyle's request amounted to a sweeping invasion of solicitor-client privilege.
Doyle's application was heard last September in his bid to review the government's decision to waive legal costs for Dave Basi and Bobby Virk, who were charged with breach of trust and fraud.
They were on trial for allegedly leaking confidential documents in the $1-billion privatization sale of BC Rail in early 2003, leading to an unprecedented police raid at the legislature in December that year.
But in a surprise move in October 2010 as their trial was about to resume, Basi and Virk pleaded guilty to providing insider information and receiving benefits for the information.
Their pleas came as the Liberal government announced it would pay the men's legal fees, sparking public outrage about an indemnity policy that pays legal fees for government employees -- but only if they're acquitted.