Sunday, July 19, 2009

Key BC Rail emails may have been deleted in May

High-level B.C. government emails, possibly containing important evidence regarding the fraud and breach-of-trust trial linked to the $1-billion sale of BC Rail, may have been destroyed during the recent provincial election, according to lawyers for the accused.

For years, the lawyers for former government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk have been asking for emails between members of the cabinet and senior staff to be handed over, saying they are critical to their clients' defence.

But a government lawyer said last month that executive-branch emails are kept for only 13 months. He told the court that is why emails between 2001 and 2005 are not available.

However, defence lawyers told reporters Thursday they have learned a company called EDS Advanced Solutions had many of these emails on backup tapes as recently as May.

According to an unconfirmed report published in the Globe and Mail newspaper Thursday, the government director in charge of managing the email delivery service filed an affidavit stating that during the May election campaign someone in authority asked that backup tapes of emails created before May 2004 be destroyed.

The affidavit was not released to the public. But according to the government's own guidelines, the emails should not have been deleted because of their relevance to the BC Rail corruption trial.

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