Regulatory Meetings

In circumstances where lawyer or paralegal misconduct must be addressed but formal discipline proceedings are not warranted, the Law Society may authorize a Regulatory Meeting. At its conclusion, the Regulatory Meeting may be publicly noted. 


 

April 12, 2017

RE: Chayanika Dutta, 2007, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)  

The Regulatory Issues 

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to comply with her personal undertaking to pay out and discharge a private mortgage following the closing of a commercial real estate transaction, contrary to Rule 7.2-11 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. 

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.  The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the Lawyer gave the undertaking and it was not fulfilled, and reminded her of her obligation under the Rules not to give an undertaking that cannot be fulfilled and to fulfil every undertaking given.   They also directed the Lawyer to the Law Society’s Real Estate Practice Guide for Lawyers, which provides that lawyers should not give or accept personal undertakings respecting discharge after closing in the case of private mortgages, in the absence of any express provision to the contrary in the agreement of purchase and sale.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to conduct herself similarly in the future.  The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

Counsel for the Society, Jordan Baum / The Lawyer was unrepresented and appeared in person) 

 

 

 


June 29, 2016

 

RE:     Zijad Saskin, 2009, Niagara Falls (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues

The Lawyer acted for a client who was the defendant in a civil action.  The client was not successful at trial, and was ordered to pay a substantial sum, plus costs, to the plaintiff.  The client instructed the Lawyer to commence an appeal.  The Lawyer has acknowledged that he advised his client that he would bring the appeal to give her time to sell her house in order to evade the Judgment against her.

The Lawyer was alleged to have encouraged his client to engage in dishonesty, fraud or illegal conduct, and to have advised her on how to violate the law and avoid punishment contrary to former subrules 2.02(5)(a) & (b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct; to have failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the legal profession, in accordance with former subrule 6.01(1), and to have failed to comply with his obligation to represent the client resolutely and honourably within the limits of the law, contrary to former subrule Rule 4.01(1).

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.  The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the evidence showed that the Lawyer had behaved dishonourably by recommending that his client evade the Judgment against her.

The Committee reminded the Lawyer of his obligation to represent his client resolutely and honourably within the limits of the law and that the Rules prohibit licensees from encouraging dishonesty, fraud, crime, illegal conduct or anything that the Lawyer considers to be dishonest or dishonorable.  The Committee further reminded the Lawyer that the Rules state that a lawyer shall not advise a client on how to violate the law and avoid punishment.  The Lawyer acknowledged that he had not dealt with the matter as he should have, and expressed his resolve to be mindful in future of his professional obligations.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct himself similarly in the future.  The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Danielle Wilson / The Lawyer appeared in person)


 

August 18, 2015

RE:     Rodolphe Alfred Vanier, 1981, Nepean (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues

The Lawyer was alleged to have acted in a conflict of interest.  He represented two clients in separate matrimonial matters.  The two clients began a relationship with each other.  The Lawyer represented both of them in drafting a cohabitation agreement. 

The Lawyer was also alleged to have engaged in conduct unbecoming a lawyer, when, just prior to one of the clients making an assignment in bankruptcy, the Lawyer substantially increased the amount of the legal fees owed to him by the bankrupt client and allowed himself to be appointed an inspector in the bankruptcy in an attempt to maximize his own recovery in the bankruptcy, which would limit the recovery of the bankrupt client’s former spouse, who was also a creditor in the bankruptcy.  The Lawyer’s conduct attracted adverse comment from judges who made decisions in the bankruptcy litigation.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.  The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the evidence showed that the Lawyer acted in a conflict of interest, and that the Lawyer’s conduct had attracted judicial criticism. 

The Committee reminded the Lawyer of his obligation to be on guard against conflicts of interest.   The Committee also reminded him of his obligations to conduct himself appropriately when his own financial interests are intertwined with those of his clients.  The Lawyer acknowledged that he had not dealt with the conflict issues in the matrimonial matter as he should have, and expressed his resolve to be mindful in future of the need to balance his own financial interests with his professional obligations.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct himself similarly in the future.  The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

 (Counsel for the Society, Louise Christofolakos / The Lawyer was unrepresented and appeared in person)


 June 18, 2014 

RE:     Eric Paul Polten, 1974, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)

 The Regulatory Issues

Two judges of the Superior Court of Justice made comments critical of the Lawyer's conduct in his representation of various clients in the course of a complex guardianship and estate matter.  The Lawyer's fees were reduced from in excess of one million dollars to thirty-five thousand dollars. 

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to serve his clients, to have acted in a conflict of interest, to have charged excessive fees, to have misled the Court and to have failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession, contrary to Sub-rules 2.01(2), 2.04(1) & (2), 2.08(1), 4.01(1) and 6.01(1).

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.  The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the evidence showed that the Lawyer acted in accord with instructions received from his clients and, although he may have initially acted in a conflict of interest, he did not intentionally act to mislead the Court or behave dishonourably, and that the Lawyer had settled the costs awards to all parties out of his own funds.

The Committee reminded the Lawyer of his obligations, particularly in guardianship and estate matters where vulnerable parties are involved, to be on guard against conflicts of interest and to ensure that his fees are fair and reasonable. The Lawyer expressed his resolve to be particularly mindful in future of the need to balance the duty to act with tenacity and diligence on behalf of his clients with the need to counsel and control his clients from persisting with unreasonable and improbable legal goals.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to conduct himself similarly in the future. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society,Stephen A. McClyment/ The Lawyer was unrepresented and appeared in person)


March 4, 2014

RE:     Sophia Loraine Williams, 2004, Brampton (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues

The Lawyer failed to appear in court on behalf of her client, a young offender. Neither the lawyer nor her client appeared on the next remand date.

The Judge then set a date for the hearing into the Lawyer's conduct.

The Lawyer was late when the Judge rendered judgment with respect to the Lawyer's conduct. The Judge's findings were critical of the Lawyer's deliberate failure to appear for judgment on time.

The Judge later discovered that the Lawyer had been appearing on behalf of clients elsewhere in the Courthouse at the time he rendered judgment.

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to treat the Court with courtesy and respect, to have failed to comply with a Court Order to appear, to have made ill considered criticisms of the conduct of another lawyer, and to have attempted to mislead the court, contrary to Sub-rules 4.01 (1), (2) & (6), 6.01, 6.01(1) and 6.03(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.  The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the Lawyer had changed her practice when dealing with multiple court matters to ensure that the Court is aware of that she is present in the Courthouse and to ensure that she has agents to attend if she is unable and that duty counsel are aware if she unable to attend.

The Committee reminded the Lawyer of her obligations to the Court and her clients when she has multiple matters scheduled on the same day, and of her obligations to be courteous, forthright and respectful to the Court and other counsel at all times.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct herself similarly in the future. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issues, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society,Elaine F. Strosberg/ Counsel for the Lawyer, David Midanik)


August 20, 2013

RE: Donald Richard Orazietti, 1970, Sault Ste. Marie (Lawyer/ Licensee)

The Regulatory Issue

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to treat the Court with candour as required by Sub-rule 4.01(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

On a mandamus application to have a Justice of the Peace complete a trial after she had declared a mistrial, the Lawyer failed to advise the Judge hearing the application that he had filed a complaint against the Justice of the Peace with the Judicial Council. The application was granted. When the Justice of the Peace subsequently recused herself from the trial, the Judge hearing a second mandamus application found that if the Lawyer had disclosed his complaint to the Judge who heard the first application, that Judge would not have come the decision that he did.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Committee noted that the Lawyer had acknowledged that he failed to appreciate the difficult position his complaint created for the Justice of the Peace when he sought an order that she continue with the trial. The Committee reminded the Lawyer of his obligations to be candid with the Court and not to ask the Court, whether by omission or otherwise, to make a order without putting all the relevant facts before the Court. The Lawyer indicated that he regrets the entire incident.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Damienne Lebrun-Reid / Counsel for the Lawyer, Nadia Liva)


February 20, 2013

RE:    Domenico Basile, 1993, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issue

The Lawyer was an Assistant Crown Attorney who was alleged to have failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession, contrary to Sub-rule 6.01(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct when he became involved in providing assistance to an accused person facing sexual assault allegations. 

During the winter and spring of 2009, the Lawyer gave advice to a friend, who in turn was helping the accused, who was facing sexual assault charges.  Over the course of several months, the Lawyer had a number of conversations with the friend specifically regarding the criminal case.  In one conversation, the Lawyer implied to his friend that he had influenced the assignment of a favourable judge to the trial, something he had not done. On the morning the verdict was to be rendered, the Lawyer allowed his friend and the accused to wait in his office in the Court House before Court opened.  On one occasion, the Lawyer made telephone contact with a news reporter on behalf of counsel for the accused.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Committee noted that the Lawyer has acknowledged that he exercised poor judgment, that his behavior was inappropriate, and that it reflected poorly on him and on the office of the Crown Attorney.  The lawyer has suffered both financially and reputationally.  His conduct resulted in an investigation by the Ministry of the Attorney General during which time he was suspended from his position.  The conclusion of the investigation was ultimately followed by the Lawyer's resigning as Assistant Crown Attorney, a position of which he was proud.  The Lawyer's actions have had a considerable impact on his professional and personal life.  The Lawyer recognized his failure to comply with his professional obligations and has accepted responsibility for his actions.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Lisa Freeman/Counsel for the Lawyer, Paul Cavalluzzo, LSM.  Counsel in attendance for the Lawyer at the Regulatory Meeting, Nadia Liva)


 
December 4, 2012

RE: Roderick William Johansen, 1987, Thunder Bay (Lawyer /Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues


During a break from a labour arbitration in February, 2012, the Lawyer, who acted for the employer, while the Lawyer was speaking with his client outside the hearing room, the union representative swatted the Lawyer’s arm with a rolled up Exhibit, and used vulgar language to call him a liar.  The Lawyer grabbed the union representative by the collar and necktie and pushed him away, which resulted in the union representative falling onto a couch behind him. The Lawyer’s client pushed the Lawyer off the union representative.

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to be courteous and civil with a person with whom he had dealings in the course of litigation, to have failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession, and to have failed to be courteous and civil with a person with whom he had dealings in the course of his practice, contrary to Sub-rules 4.01(6), 6.01(1) and 6.03(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place about the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.  The Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the Lawyer apologized for his conduct when the arbitration resumed and apologized directly to the union representative by letter the following day. He also acknowledged his misconduct in communications to the Law Society. 

The Committee reminded the Lawyer that while arbitrations and other appearances before adjudicators can be stressful, a lawyer’s obligation is to maintain a civil and respectful demeanour at all times. 

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct himself similarly in the future.  The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Adele Dyrczon / The Lawyer was unrepresented and appeared in person)


October 18, 2011

RE:     Elizabeth Anne Maguire, 1986, St. Thomas (Lawyer Licensee)

The Regulatory Issue

During the spring and summer of 2004, the Lawyer was the lead Assistant Crown Attorney in the prosecution of several co-defendants.  The charges included substantive counts relating to drug trafficking, weapons and criminal organization/conspiracy offences.  During the Preliminary Inquiry, the Lawyer had two ex parte discussions with the presiding Judge which were relevant to the proceedings.  The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to disclose the fact of the meeting and the nature of the conversations to defence counsel, contrary to Rules 4.01(3) and 6.01(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.  

At the conclusion of the Preliminary Inquiry, the presiding Judge discharged the defendants with respect to the charges of criminal organization/conspiracy.  Approximately four months later, the criminal organization/conspiracy charges were reinstituted against some, but not all, of the defendants.  The ex parte communications were not disclosed to defence counsel until approximately fourteen months after the communications took place and eleven months after the criminal organization/conspiracy charges were discharged.   

The Judge hearing a stay application brought by defence counsel dismissed it after finding that the circumstances surrounding the Lawyer’s conduct and disclosure issues did not amount to an abuse of process warranting a stay of proceedings.  However, the Judge made several negative comments about the conduct of the Lawyer.  The Law Society became aware of the matter in April, 2009. 

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Lawyer acknowledged that she took part in two ex parte meetings with the presiding Judge, which were not disclosed to the defence during the Preliminary Inquiry.  The Lawyer stated that it is now very clear to her that it was improper and a breach of her disclosure obligation as Crown Counsel not to have immediately disclosed the fact and content of the ex parte comments by presiding Judge to defence counsel.

The Members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the Lawyer’s conduct had been the subject of an investigation by the Ministry of the Attorney General which found that it was improper and a breach of the Lawyer’s disclosure obligation as Crown Counsel not to have immediately disclosed the fact and content of the ex parte comments to defence counsel.  The Lawyer was disciplined in accordance with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s internal policies.  The Lawyer also advised the Committee that her conduct has fundamentally shaken her professional reputation, has impacted on her family life and has been a source of tremendous regret and angst.

The Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, that the Lawyer has not misconducted herself similarly since 2004, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct herself similarly in the future.  The Committee further noted that the Lawyer continues to be given responsibility commensurate with her experience as an Assistant Crown Attorney.  The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Lisa Freeman/ Counsel for the Lawyer, Philip Downes.  The Hon. Sydney L. Robins, Q.C., LSM attended as a Bencher at the invitation of the Proceedings Authorization Committee.)

April 21, 2011

RE: Martin Zenia Goose, 1973, Toronto, (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues

On September 2, 2009, Mr. Goose refused to conduct his client’s trial before a presiding Judge because of his previous experiences appearing before that Judge. In open court, Mr. Goose submitted that the reason for his refusal was because the Judge had a history of treating his clients unfairly and had wrongfully convicted two of his former clients.

The Lawyer was alleged to have behaved dishonourably by failing to treat the tribunal with candour, fairness, courtesy, and respect and failing to conduct
himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome
Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of
Professional Conduct
.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee reminded the Lawyer that a lawyer’s competing obligations – in this case, to his client and the Court – will sometimes be difficult to reconcile. However, the Lawyer could have met his obligations to represent his client resolutely and to treat the Court with courtesy and respect by advising the Court that notwithstanding that it was a trial date, a serious issue had arisen that necessitated that he bring a motion for the Judge’s recusal and that he needed an adjournment in order to prepare the motion.

It is not uncommon for last minute adjournments to be requested by the Crown or by defence counsel in criminal matters, and if the Judge had made further inquiries about the reasons for the adjournment, the Lawyer could have provided a sufficient response without
making the serious allegations that he did.

The Lawyer had apologized if any discourtesy was apprehended by the Judge. By participating in the Regulatory Meeting, the Lawyer expressed his willingness to be educated about the impact of his actions and to be held accountable for them. He committed himself to observing the principles of civility and treating the Court with candour, fairness, courtesy, and respect.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct himself similarly in the future. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(The Lawyer was unrepresented and attended in person)


March 23, 2011

RE: Marcus Alexander Lennox, 1981, London (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issue

The Lawyer was alleged to have engaged in conduct unbecoming a lawyer licensee contrary to s.33(1) of the Law Society Act because he was convicted by Madam Justice Livingstone, in the Ontario Court of Justice for Ontario in London, Ontario on September 22, 2008 of twice breaching section 239(1)(d) of the Income Tax Act and twice breaching section 327(1)(c) of the Excise Tax Act.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Committee made reference to the fact that the Lawyer’s convictions under the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act reflect negatively on the legal profession as a whole and tend to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

The Committee drew the Lawyer’s attention to sub-rules 6.11(3), 1.02 and 6.01(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee reminded the Lawyer that he has a duty as a senior member of the Bar to conduct himself in his professional and personal capacity in a manner consistent with the legal profession’s traditions of honesty, integrity and high ethical standards.

The Lawyer acknowledged that he conducted himself in a manner that was inconsistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct. In particular, he acknowledged that his convictions under the Income Tax Act and the Excise Tax Act reflect badly on the legal profession.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and concluded that having addressed the regulatory issues, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Janice Duggan/the Lawyer attended in person and was unrepresented)

 

 

December 14, 2010

RE: Amedeo Dicarlo, 1999, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession and to have failed to treat a tribunal with candour, fairness, courtesy and respect, contrary to subrules 6.01(1) and 4.01(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Lawyer was scheduled to appear on a sentencing matter in the Superior Court before Mr. Justice Hill in Brampton. His client was facing a custodial disposition. That morning, the Lawyer sent a paralegal agent to request an adjournment before Justice Hill on the basis that the Lawyer was double booked for a bail hearing in Cornwall.

Justice Hill issued a summary contempt citation against the Lawyer. Follow up investigation revealed that the Lawyer was in fact at home that day. The Lawyer claimed he was unable to deal with his client’s matter due to personal issues.

In December 2008 the Lawyer apologized in writing to Justice Hill. He was then found guilty of contempt by Justice Durno and sentenced to, among other things, a prohibition on practicing law in any Ontario Court of Justice before September 1st 2009 and any Superior Court of Justice before September 1st 2010.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome

Pursuant to the Law Society’s policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Lawyer admitted his lack of judgment in the matter. When asked what he would have done differently, the Lawyer responded that he would have attended court and candidly explained to Justice Hill that he could not deal with the sentencing that day. He would have disclosed his personal issues and indicated that he was not in a position to represent the client fairly and properly. The Lawyer believed that he would have been granted the adjournment had he done that.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee reminded the Lawyer of his obligation to be candid with the court at all times, and that he should have advised Justice Hill of the reasons for his inability to represent his client on the day of the sentencing hearing.

The Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and that the Lawyer, by virtue of the contempt conviction, had already been the subject of censure in a public forum. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issues, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Suzanne Jarvie/ The Lawyer was unrepresented and attended in person)


 

March 18, 2010

RE: Richard Emile Anka, 1968, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)  

The Regulatory Issues  

The Lawyer was alleged to have engaged in sharp practice on or about July 20, 2007, when he instituted default proceeding in court file no. 07-CV-329949PD3, without notice to the defendant's lawyer.

The Lawyer was also alleged to have written letters dated July 6 and 12, 2007 to the defendant's lawyer and others regarding court file no. 07-CV-329949PD3, in July 2007, in a manner that was uncivil and inconsistent with the proper tone of the professional communication from a lawyer.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue s and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee were of the view that it was improper for the Lawyer to institute default proceedings without notice to the defendant in the face of pending motions for orders:

  1. to dismiss the action for lack of jurisdiction; and
  2. to extend the time for the filing of the Statement of Defence

and contrary to the arrangement not to note the defendant in default, which the defendant's lawyer believed to be in place in mid-May 2007.

The Committee also noted that the Lawyer's conduct was aggravated by the two letters the Lawyer wrote to the defendant's lawyer and copied to other members of the bar.

The Committee made particular reference to the comments on the Lawyer's conduct that were made in two decisions in the underlying litigation by the Hon. Mr. Justice Newbould, who wrote that the Lawyer's actions were "misleading in the extreme" and that ".....the correspondence that I have discussed are actions that should not be condoned but rather censured. The Rules of Professional Conduct and the Principles of Civility adopted by the Advocates' Society are intended to prevent the kind of correspondence that was sent…."

The Committee drew the Lawyer's attention to sub-rules 4.01 (6), 6.01 (1), 6.03 (3) and 6.03 (5) of the Rules of Professional Conduct . The Committee reminded the Lawyer that even in acrimonious, high-profile litigation, a lawyer's obligation is to avoid sharp practice, to act in good faith and to treat opposing counsel and all persons with whom the lawyer has dealings in the course of litigation with courtesy and civility. The Committee noted that the Lawyer is a senior member of the bar with the ability to influence junior lawyers as they develop their practice styles.

The Lawyer acknowledged that he conducted himself in a manner that was inconsistent with the Rules of Professional Conduct. In particular, he acknowledged that it was improper to institute default proceedings without notice to the defendant in the circumstances of this case, and that his letters to the defendant's lawyer were uncivil. In light of his discussions with the Committee, the Lawyer has committed himself to observing the principles of civility.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee agreed that the discussion was useful, and concluded that having addressed the regulatory issues, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Amanda Worley/the Lawyer attended in person and was represented by Sylvia Tint)  


February 9, 2010

RE: Anthony Paas, 1984, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)  

The Regulatory Issues  

The Lawyer acted for a client who was the defendant in a private prosecution. He was alleged to have failed to treat the Ontario Court of Justice with candour and to have engaged in sharp practice by asking the Justice of the Peace to have the matter dismissed for want of prosecution, without notice to the opposing party and in the absence of opposing counsel, when he knew that an order quashing a summons to his client was under appeal and that the opposing party intended to proceed with the prosecution, and thereafter by failing to notify opposing counsel that he had done so.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee reminded the Lawyer that a lawyer's competing obligations - to the client, opposing counsel, and the tribunal - will sometimes be difficult to reconcile. However, when the information that the lawyer needs to provide to the tribunal in order to ensure they are meeting their obligation to be fair and candid is the procedural history and/or status of the very matter before the tribunal, there ought to be no such difficulty. Despite the potential advantage to his client of remaining silent, the Lawyer was obligated by his duty to treat the tribunal with candour to advise the Justice of the Peace of the relevant related proceedings. Similarly, he was obligated to notify opposing counsel of the steps he had taken to have the prosecution dismissed.

In the unusual circumstances that arose (of the prosecution being unrepresented) the Lawyer failed to advert to the broader obligations imposed upon him as a result. The Lawyer acknowledged that his conduct in this matter fell below the standards expected of him by the Law Society, in regards to both his lack of candour with the Ontario Court and his failure to advise opposing counsel of the dismissal of the charges thereafter.

The Committee noted that the Lawyer has had a long and otherwise unblemished career and, by virtue of the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, was already the subject of implicit criticism in a public forum for this conduct. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Leslie Maunder / The Lawyer was unrepresented and attended in person)


October 21, 2009

RE: Gerald Sternberg, 1971, Toronto, (Lawyer/Licensee)  

The Regulatory Issues  

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to treat the Ontario Racing Commission (the "ORC") with courtesy and respect, and failed to conduct himself in such a way as to maintain the integrity of the profession, contrary to subrules 4.01(1), 4.01(6) and 6.01(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

While cross examining a witness in a hearing before the ORC's Hearing Panel, the Lawyer addressed the chairman of the panel in terms that were discourteous and disrespectful of the panel and the chairman.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct. The Lawyer conceded his conduct fell short of the standard expected of lawyers. He agreed his comments were very unfortunate and he regrets having made them. He indicated that the incident should never have happened, had never happened before and he hopes that it will never be repeated.

The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that at a meeting of the ORC held to review the Lawyers conduct before the ORC's Hearing Panel, the Lawyer had apologized three times for his remarks at the hearing.

The Committee reminded the Lawyer that while appearances in before tribunals can be stressful, and sometimes challenging, a lawyer's obligation is to maintain a civil and respectful demeanour at all times even if he or she feels provoked or that he or she has been treated unfairly. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issues, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

 


 

July 9, 2009

RE: Stephan Intraligi, 2007, Woodbridge (Lawyer/Licensee)

The Regulatory Issues  

The Lawyer was alleged to have failed to encourage public respect for the administration of justice, contrary to subrule 4.06(1) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and to have conducted himself in such a way that failed to maintain the integrity of the profession, contrary to subrule 6.01(1), in a Highway Traffic Act proceeding in which he defended himself. At the conclusion of the proceedings there was an exchange during which the Lawyer commented on his experience in the Court in terms that were sarcastic and disrespectful of the Court and the Justice of the Peace, and after he made the comments he failed to respond to a direction of the Court to return, prompting the Justice of the Peace to request the assistance of the attending police officer.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct. The Lawyer acknowledged that comments he made during the proceeding were discourteous and disrespectful to the Court. He further acknowledged that making sarcastic comments to a judicial officer is never an appropriate way to deal with feelings of agitation which arise during proceedings. The Committee noted that while appearances in court can be stressful, and sometimes challenging, a Lawyer's obligation is to maintain a civil and respectful demeanour at all times even if he or she feels provoked or is under stress. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issues, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Lisa Freeman / The Lawyer was unrepresented and attended in person)  


June 10, 2009

RE: Jeffrey Philip Viater, 2009, (Lawyer/Licensee - Applicant for L1 License at the time of the Regulatory Meeting)  

The Regulatory Issue  

The Applicant was alleged to have, while a law student working for the defence during the criminal trial of R. v. Richard Wills, contacted a witness on August 30, 2007 and arranged a three-way conversation with the witness and the accused. During the conversation, the accused attempted to prompt the witness's memory. The witness denied making the utterances suggested by the accused and said that he would not repeat them in court.

The Background Issues  

The following incidents that were alleged to have occurred while the Applicant was a law student could have been the subject of a good character hearing, and are relevant as background to the regulatory issue considered:  

  • On February 28, 2007, the Applicant disregarded courthouse security procedures and arranged for Mr. Wills' two teenage children to attend within a secured area of the courthouse to visit Mr. Wills, without the knowledge or permission of court staff.  
  • On May 31, 2007, the Applicant, who was sitting next to Mr. Wills while court was in session, saw that Mr. Wills had typed a message on a laptop screen indicating that if the press had any questions, the defence lawyers could answer them. The message was visible to the public. The Applicant failed to alert counsel or the court to the incident.
  • On June 4, 2007, defence counsel retained a friend of the Applicant as a photographer to reproduce autopsy photographs for defence presentation. On the instructions of counsel, the Applicant instructed the photographer to take confidential autopsy photographs of the murder victim for reproduction at Japan Camera Centre, and the photographer performed that task.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issue and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct. The Proceedings Authorization Committee noted that the Applicant has many letters of reference from upstanding members of the community, and that his conduct during the trial appeared to be a diversion from his usual character.

During the meeting, a discussion with the Applicant and his counsel took place. The Applicant stated that the process of the Law Society's investigation delayed the consideration of his admission to the bar, and he assured the Committee that he will never engage in similar conduct again. The Committee is satisfied that the Applicant now appreciates that he made errors in judgment during the course of the R. v. Wills trial.

The Committee is satisfied that the discussion was meaningful, and that the Applicant will never misconduct himself in the future. The Committee concluded that there will be no further action in this matter because it has now addressed the regulatory issue.

(Counsel for the Society, Elaine Strosberg/ Counsel for the Applicant, Stephen Traviss)


October 1, 2008

RE: Michael Philip Morse, 1975, Toronto (Lawyer/Licensee)  

The Regulatory Issues  

  1. The Member was alleged to have been the dupe of an unscrupulous client. The Lawyer is also alleged to have signed a false declaration on a passport with respect to a client, which fact the Lawyer admitted during his testimony in conjunction with criminal charges laid against him on October 26, 2004.

Regulatory Meeting Outcome  

Pursuant to the Law Society's policy on Regulatory Meetings, a discussion took place concerning the regulatory issues and the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct. The members of the Proceedings Authorization Committee are mindful of the fact that the Lawyer signed an undertaking not to practise shortly after he was charged with a number of criminal offences, and that the Lawyer ceased practising law for twenty-three months. The members of the Committee are also mindful of the fact that in agreeing to a Regulatory Meeting, the Lawyer has saved his fellow licensees from bearing what would be substantial costs of a prosecution in this matter.

During the meeting a discussion with the Lawyer and his counsel took place. The members of the Committee are satisfied that the Lawyer appreciates that he blurred the line between a professional and a personal relationship with a client, and that he now appreciates the dangers inherent in so doing. The Lawyer informed the Committee that the process of the criminal trial and the Law Society interim suspension proceedings were such that he is unlikely to ever be duped by a client again. At the time of the misconduct, the Lawyer was practising out of his home and was isolated. He now practises in association and is undergoing treatment. The Committee is satisfied that the discussion was fruitful and that this Lawyer is unlikely to misconduct himself similarly in the future. The Committee concluded that having addressed the regulatory issue, there will be no further action regarding this matter.

(Counsel for the Society, Lisa Freeman / Counsel for the Lawyer, Anthony Bryant)