Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Decision of the hearing panel on facts and determination

David Andrew Riddell

Maple Ridge, BC

Called to the bar: June 20, 2003

Non-practising membership: July 9, 2018

Ceased membership for non-payment of fees: January 1, 2021

Written materials: April 29, 2021

Decision issued: July 26, 2021 (2021 LSBC 32)

Panel: Michael F. Welsh, QC (chair), Nan Bennett and Sandra E. Weafer

Counsel: Mandana Namazi for the Law Society; Molly Shamess for David Andrew Riddell

Facts

A police investigation revealed that child pornography was uploaded to a computer with an IP address associated with David Andrew Riddell’s home address. The police seized electronic devices from his residence that contained over 150 images of child pornography. Shortly after, he voluntarily undertook to the Law Society not to practise family or criminal law, not to represent anyone under the age of 19 and not to be in the presence of anyone under 19 in relation with his law practice unless accompanied by an adult.

Riddell was arrested and charged with one count each of making and possessing child pornography and, as a result, he entered into a voluntary undertaking not to engage in the practice of law and to change his status with the Law Society to non-practising. He pleaded guilty to one charge of possession of child pornography; the charge of making child pornography was stayed. The courts sentenced him to a nine-month conditional sentence followed by 15 months of probation.

Determination

Riddell viewed and accessed pornographic material involving young children on several devices over a lengthy period of time, for which he was charged criminally, convicted and sentenced. The panel found that this is clearly conduct that causes harm to the standing of the legal profession.

The panel determined that Riddell’s conduct constituted conduct unbecoming of the profession.

2021 LSBC 32 Decision on Facts and Determination