Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Benchers on application to introduce fresh evidence

Gary Russell Vlug

Victoria, BC

Called to the Bar: August 28, 1992

Bencher review: April 10 and 11, 2018

Benchers: Sarah Westwood (chair); Jasmin Ahmad; Jeff Campbell, QC; Barbara Cromarty; Lisa Hamilton, QC; Steven McKoen; Mark Rushton

Decision issued: September 24, 2018 (2018 LSBC 27)

Counsel: Henry C. Wood, QC, for the Law Society; Gary Russell Vlug on his own behalf

BACKGROUND

In September 2014 a hearing panel ordered that Gary Russell Vlug be suspended for six months for professional misconduct. That suspension was stayed pending a review. The review confirmed seven findings of professional misconduct and the hearing panel ordered that Vlug be suspended for seven weeks. That suspension was stayed pending an appeal and a cross-appeal to the BC Court of Appeal. The court remitted the matter to the Benchers for a fresh review. This application was made prior to that review to introduce fresh evidence at the fresh review.

DECISION ON APPLICATION TO INTRODUC E FRESH EVIDENCE

Prior to the original hearing of the citation, Vlug had responded to a notice to admit, signifying his agreement with facts contained in the notice, and his acceptance of the authenticity of documents appended to the notice. With regard to one of those documents, a transcript of proceedings in the Court of Appeal, Vlug stated that he would admit that it was an authentic document, but not that it was a complete record of what was done and said that day.

At this review, Vlug sought to introduce as fresh evidence his response to the notice to admit.  This was intended to support his claim that there was what Vlug refers to as an “off the record” exchange between the court and opposing counsel that was not reflected in the court transcript.

At the original hearing of the citation, the hearing panel had noted that, although the transcript included references to breaks and adjournments in the proceedings, there was no reference to the court going off record. The hearing panel had accepted that the transcript was complete and found that the alleged “off the record” exchange had not occurred.

The Benchers did not accept that the fresh evidence bound the Law Society to Vlug’s position that the transcript was incomplete, and found that the proposed fresh evidence could not have affected the decision at the initial hearing.

The application to introduce fresh evidence was dismissed.

2018 LSBC 27 Decision on an Application to Introduce Fresh Evidence