News Releases

For immediate release July 21, 2005

Law Society of BC releases Berge decision

VANCOUVER — A Law Society of BC hearing panel has found lawyer Howard Raymond Berge, QC guilty of conduct unbecoming a lawyer as a result of his actions in an October 2, 2002 motor vehicle accident.

The hearing panel found that Mr. Berge, after consuming a substantial amount of alcohol, drove a car without care and attention and caused an accident. Following the accident and prior to the arrival of the police, he used mouthwash to mask the smell of alcohol on his breath and he removed an open can of beer from his car to dispose of it or acted in a manner that made it appear that he intended to dispose of it.

The panel concluded that Mr. Berge’s conduct constituted conduct unbecoming a lawyer, which is defined in the Legal Profession Act as “a matter, conduct or thing that is considered, in the judgment of the benchers or a panel, to be contrary to the best interest of the public or of the legal profession or to harm the standing of the legal profession.”

The panel’s written reasons are available on the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.bc.ca. (See Regulation & Insurance / Regulatory Hearings / Hearing Reports & Admissions.)

A second hearing will be held to determine the appropriate penalty. Once set, the date for that hearing will be posted on the Law Society’s website. Law Society hearings are open to the public.

For more information on the Law Society’s discipline process and hearings, including the range of penalties available under the Legal Profession Act, see www.lawsociety.bc.ca/professional_regulation/conduct.htm .

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The Law Society of BC was founded in 1869 and is the governing body of the legal profession in BC. It is an independent organization funded by dues paid by all BC lawyers. Under the provisions of the Legal Profession Act, the Law Society is responsible for the licensing, professional conduct and discipline of the more than 10,000 lawyers in BC.

Law Society of BC media contact:

Denise Palmer
Office: 604 443-5706 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in BC
Email: dpalmer@lsbc.org
www.lawsociety.bc.ca