Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Disciplinary Action

MALCOLM HASSAN ZORAIK

Called to the bar: November 16, 2001

Voluntary withdrawal of membership: February 2, 2015

Discipline hearing: January 19, 2018

Panel: Sandra Weafer, Chair, Satwinder Bains and Sharon Matthews, QC (Sharon Matthews, QC, did not participate in the decision)

Decision issued: April 20, 2018 (2018 LSBC 13)

Counsel: Jaia Rai for the Law Society; Russell Tretiak, QC, for Malcolm Hassan Zoraik

FACTS AND DETERMINATION

In June 2010 Malcolm Hassan Zoraik was criminally convicted of public mischief and fabricating evidence. He appealed the conviction but agreed not to practise law until the criminal process was complete. After the court rejected his appeal, the Law Society invoked then Rule 4-40 (now 4-52), a seldom-used provision that allows for a summary suspension or disbarment if a lawyer is convicted of an indictable offence. On May 30, 2013, the Benchers ordered that Zoraik be disbarred (2013 LSBC 13). Zoraik appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal, and in 2015 the court referred the matter back to the Benchers, who returned the matter to the Discipline Committee. The Discipline Committee authorized a citation, and on September 26, 2017 a hearing panel determined that Zoraik’ s conduct constituted professional misconduct (2017 LSBC 34).

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, the panel considered the nature, gravity and consequences of Zoraik’ s conduct, his character and professional conduct record, his acknowledgement of the misconduct and remedial action, and the impact of his conduct on public confidence in the legal profession.

References described Zoraik as of good character, but the panel considered that, by all accounts, he was of equally good character before committing forgery but committed the offence nevertheless. Despite his apparently sincere desire to be a better person, the panel placed more significance on the gravity of the misconduct and the importance of maintaining public confidence in the legal profession and the disciplinary process. The panel concluded that this kind of offence against the administration of justice requires the most severe sanction.

The panel ordered that Zoraik be disbarred.

2018 LSBC 13 Decision on Disciplinary Action