Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision on Facts and Determination

LAWYER 17

Nanaimo, BC

Called to the bar: August 1, 1985]

Discipline hearing: September 12 and December 2, 2016

Panel: Philip A. Riddell, Chair, Don Amos and Shona A. Moore, QC

Decision issued: April 10, 2017 (2017 LSBC 10)

Counsel: Carolyn Gulabsingh for the Law Society; Richard Gibbs, QC for Lawyer 17

FACTS

In a previous discipline hearing decision, a panel found that Lawyer 17 had engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide a full response to its request for certain email correspondence pertaining to a case involving two clients. That decision included an order that Lawyer 17 produce the emails in question. When he failed to do so, the current citation was issued.

Lawyer 17 was assisted in the case in question by another lawyer, at times as co-counsel, at other times as an unpaid volunteer. Lawyer 17 supplied the Law Society with his own email correspondence with the clients, but he maintained that, because the other lawyer was the primary point of contact for a period, that lawyer’ s email account contained the more complete record of email correspondence. Lawyer 17 urged the other lawyer to review his email account and to produce the emails in question so that they could be forwarded to the Law Society or, failing that, to provide Lawyer 17 with the password to the email account so that he could do so himself. Due to ill health and inadequate technical skills, the other lawyer was unable to produce the emails, and he declined to provide Lawyer 17 with the email account password.

DETERMINATION

The panel concluded that the previous panel’ s order did not require Lawyer 17 to provide to the Law Society emails that were not within his control, and found that the Law Society did not meet the burden of proving on the balance of probabilities that Lawyer 17 failed to comply with the order. The citation issued against Lawyer 17 was dismissed.

2017 LSBC 10 Decision on Facts and Determination