News Release
July 05, 2022

In separate decisions issued by the LSBC Tribunal, lawyers Peter Darren Steven Hart and Aaron Murray Lessing were ordered disbarred. The orders were made in tribunal hearings that concluded after previous hearings into different matters resolved with both Hart and Lessing being disbarred.

In the decision for Hart’s disciplinary action, the tribunal hearing panel found that Hart committed professional misconduct when he betrayed, misled and exploited a vulnerable client he knew to be suffering from a mental illness. The panel found that Hart provided an abysmal quality of service, failed to act with honesty and candour, and that he pressured his client into entering an unfair and unethical contingency fee agreement. It further found that Hart entered into a settlement that was contrary to his client’s instructions, he misled her about the terms of the settlement, and he took over one million dollars in fees to which he was not entitled.

In ordering disbarment, the panel considered the extremely grave nature of Hart’s misconduct, the fact that it was deliberate and calculated, and that it had a profound impact on the client who has suffered irreparable emotional and financial harm. The panel also considered that Hart’s misconduct compromised the sanctity of the solicitor-client relationship and dishonoured the legal profession. It concluded that the facts require strong disciplinary action that protects the public and provides general deterrence.

The facts and determination decision in Hart is available here and the decision on disciplinary action is available here.

In the decision for Lessing’s disciplinary action, the panel found that Lessing committed professional misconduct while serving as executor of a former client’s estate, by failing to take appropriate and timely steps to probate his client’s will and administer the estate, failing to respond to communications from the beneficiaries and a bank, and failing to renounce his executorship. The hearing panel found that, rather than ensuring that he was promptly and diligently fulfilling his role as executor and trustee, Lessing became the direct cause of the delay in obtaining probate and administering the estate.

In ordering disbarment, the panel considered Lessing’s professional conduct record which shows a pattern of misconduct and includes the prior disbarment and a finding that Lessing is ungovernable. The panel concluded that Lessing’s misconduct in the current case, along with his professional conduct record, justified an independent determination of ungovernability and disbarment.

The facts and determination decision in Lessing is available here and the decision on disciplinary action is available here.

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