|For immediate release||October 25, 2010|
Law Society concludes investigation into retired lawyer's alleged conduct in rabbit shooting incident
Vancouver – The Law Society of BC has concluded that the actions of a retired lawyer, who had feral rabbits on her property destroyed, do not constitute a breach of Law Society rules nor can they be characterized as conduct unbecoming a lawyer.
A thorough investigation by the Law Society found Ms. Barbara M. Smith took several steps to address the problem presented by the rabbits, which are considered by the Ministry of the Environment to be an invasive, non-native wildlife species with the potential for damage to agricultural properties. Upon the advice of several government agencies, she hired a pest control specialist who acted within the regulations and with the onsite supervision of a Ministry of the Environment representative. Ms. Smith also considered the relevant case law and sought legal advice.
“Ms. Smith was within her rights to manage the situation as she did,” explained Stuart Cameron, Director of Investigations for the Law Society. “In the course of our probe we also confirmed that there is no RCMP investigation into Ms. Smith and the methods used appear to comply with the SPCA position regarding humane culling of feral rabbits.”
The Law Society is required to look into all complaints it receives from the public about lawyers, including retired lawyers, provided they are still members of the governing body.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 10,000 lawyers in the province, setting and enforcing standards of professional conduct that ensure the public is well-served by a competent, honourable legal profession.
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