Former Solicitor-General Kash Heed will get his showdown on Tuesday with the former Mountie who trashed him and former cabinet colleague Rich Coleman at the B.C. Commission Into Money Laundering.
The former RCMP officer-in-charge of the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team from 2005 until December 2007, Fred Pinnock, told the commission he tried to warn Coleman about the infiltration of organized crime in casinos starting in 2009, but was spurned.
After failing to meet with the minister responsible for gaming, Pinnock said he met in the fall of 2009 with then-Solicitor-General Heed and asked him why no action was being taken against the increasing gangster presence and flood of cash in casinos.
“Mr. Pinnock testified that during the meeting Mr. Heed told him that (Pinnock) was right about the police failures to take steps against money laundering, saying, ‘It’s all about the money,’ and that (Heed) named Mr. Coleman as being ‘largely responsible for this along with senior Mounties who were complicit,’” Commissioner Austin Cullen explained in a ruling giving Heed limited standing to participate in the inquiry.
“Mr. Pinnock testified he said to Mr. Heed that (Pinnock) was sure Mr. Coleman was aware of what was going on inside the casinos and Mr. Heed ‘confirmed (he) was accurate in (his) belief and he did feel that Coleman had created this and it received the sort of tacit support of senior Mounties in this province.’
“According to Mr. Pinnock, Mr. Heed told him nothing was being done because, ‘It’s all about revenue generation’ — ‘It’s all about the money.’ … Heed told him that the senior police officers were ‘puppets for Coleman.’”
When pressed for evidence, Pinnock produced secret recordings from 2018 in which he claimed Heed confirmed those 2009 allegations.
Scandalized, Heed demanded the right to appear at the commission to cross-examine the man who described himself as a former colleague and friend. Cullen said he deserved the opportunity.
“Insofar as Mr. Pinnock’s evidence about the meeting and discussions which allegedly took place in early November of 2009, it is Mr. Heed’s position, as I understand it, that he neither had any basis for, or first-hand knowledge on which to base the opinions attributed to him by Mr. Pinnock in 2009, nor did he express those opinions to Mr. Pinnock,” Cullen said.
“In other words, the critical issue is whether the recorded conversations either corroborate or undermine Mr. Pinnock’s evidence of the contested 2009 conversation. … I will leave it for counsel to consult and agree on the appropriate amount of time to allocate for cross-examination of Mr. Pinnock.”
He added it was not clear when Heed first learned of Pinnock’s allegations concerning the November 2009 meeting, nor when he was first made aware Pinnock had secretly recorded their conversations in July and September of 2018.
Heed was interviewed by commission lawyers as a potential witness on Jan. 23, Cullen said, but on Oct. 26 was told the commission “had not yet communicated a firm view” as to whether or not he would be a witness.
On Nov. 4, he was told that Pinnock had “recently provided” the commission with two recordings — from July 10, 2018 and Sept. 7, 2018 — but commission lawyers did not intend to introduce the recordings or transcripts.
They noted, however, other participants were given the material.
After Pinnock’s testimony concluded Nov. 5, the commission lawyers told Heed in an email they intended to call him as a witness “in the next round of hearings in 2021” and alerted him to the fact that he “will wish to be aware of” Pinnock’s evidence.
Later, Cullen revealed that commission lawyers told Heed they would seek to enter the two transcripts as evidence, but noted that they would be seeking to redact one portion and would seek a brief window of delay to enable him and others to bring an application for redactions “to the public-facing version posted on the website.”
Although he had concerns about some private material, Heed said he had no issue with the recorded discussions “potentially relevant to the Cullen Commission’s mandate being tendered into evidence.”
“He characterized them as ‘simply personal opinions expressed in 2018 by a long-since retired politician’ which ‘were not based on first-hand knowledge,’” Cullen said.
“Counsel for Mr. Heed questioned whether ultimately the evidence of what Mr. Heed said in 2018 will have any probative value but confirmed that he ‘is fine with them being tendered into evidence and will gladly address those comments in their proper context’ when he testifies.”
The one-man inquiry, which is being conducted online via video conferencing because of public health restrictions, reconvenes Monday.