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BC's Chief BC Supreme Court judge has blocked the latest attempt to explain why the legal fees of two convicted criminals, linked to the BC Rail scandal, were paid by the province.
Auditor General John Doyle has been seeking access to documents currently covered by lawyer-client privilege.
They involve taxpayers spending six million dollars to end the prosecutions of Dave Basi and Bob Virk, two former Liberal party staffers who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2010.
Chief Justice Robert Bauman's 42-page judgment has determined solicitor-client privilege must be protected because it is 'fundamental to the proper functioning of our legal system'.
He says he understands Doyle's quest for transparency and accountability, but he doesn't agree with claims 'audits in both public and private sectors require access to confidential and privileged documents.'
Doyle's lawyer had argued privilege could still be protected by only letting the auditor general examine sensitive documents.
No word yet on whether Doyle plans to appeal today's ruling.
A former Liberal MLA --who once served as Solicitor General- - admits he's disappointed by today's ruling. John Van Dongen was granted intervenor status in the case.
"A little bit disappointed, but I think it does clarify the kind of amendments to the legislation that may be required if the Legislature feels that it's important in cases like this to infringe on, if you will, solicitor-client privilege. The judge makes it clear that's a sacred trust in terms of a conversation and discussions between a lawyer and their clients."
Van Dongen -- who's now sitting as an independent MLA for Abbotsford-South -- says his decision to quit the Liberals was partly based on this investigation.