Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the Review Board

Catherine Ann Sas, QC

Vancouver, BC

Called to the Bar: May 19, 1989

Review: January 23, 2017

Review board: Jasmin Z. Ahmad, Chair, William Everett, QC, Lisa Hamilton, Thelma Siglos, Robert Smith, B. William Sundhu and Sarah Westwood

Decision issued: March 31, 2017 (2017 LSBC 08)

Counsel: Kenneth McEwan, QC and Rebecca Robb for the Law Society; Peter Wilson, QC for Catherine Ann Sas, QC

BACKGROUND

A hearing panel concluded that Catherine Ann Sas, QC had committed professional misconduct in respect of a series of transactions that allowed her to “ zero out” her clients’ trust accounts to facilitate their closing (2015 LSBC 19). The panel ordered that Sas be suspended from the practice of law for four months (2016 LSBC 03; Spring 2016 discipline digest).

Sas sought a review of the panel’ s decision on disciplinary action. She argued that the panel limited its consideration of “ parity” to a determination of whether disbarment or suspension was the appropriate disciplinary action, rather than to the overall length of the suspension; failed to give appropriate weight to the mitigating factors and overemphasized the principle of general deterrence; and underestimated the impact a four-month suspension would have on her practice. She argued that an order for a fine and reprimand should be substituted for the four-month suspension

DECISION OF THE REVIEW BOARD

The review board concluded that the hearing panel correctly applied the legal tests to determine the appropriate disciplinary action. The board confirmed the decision of the hearing panel to suspend Sas from the practice of law for a period of four calendar months and ordered that the suspension commence May 1, 2017, or such other date as the parties may agree.

 

2016 LSBC 03 Decision on Disciplinary Action and Costs

2015 LSBC 19 Decision on Facts and Determination

2017 LSBC 08 Decision of the Review Board