|For immediate release||July 19, 2004|
Law Society disciplines BC lawyers
VANCOUVER - Pursuant to its statutory duty to govern BC's legal profession in the public interest, the Law Society of BC has disciplined the following lawyers (the lawyer's year of call to the BC Bar appears in parentheses). Hearing reports are posted on the Law Society's website here.
Malcolm Grant McMicken (1975), of Victoria, BC, admitted his failure to pay GST collected in the course of his legal practice and his failure to remit employee income tax deductions constituted professional misconduct. A Law Society hearing panel accepted his proposed penalty of a reprimand, a fine of $1,500, costs of $2,000 and that he file quarterly statutory declarations listing payment of GST and employee source deductions until June 30, 2005.
Marlyne Joy O'Dwyer (1993), of Port Coquitlam, BC, admitted professional misconduct for failing to respond to Law Society letters, failing to advise the Law Society of judgments against her and for breaching practice conditions imposed by the Benchers. A Law Society hearing panel ordered that she be reprimanded, that she practice as an employee of a law firm or under the supervision of another lawyer, that she attend counselling as recommended by the Lawyers Assistance Program, that she review each of her files with her employer or practice supervisor and develop a plan of action for each file, that she attend professional development programs in her areas of practice and that she pay costs of $5,000.
Raymond William Barton (1983, non-practising Jan. 1, 2004), of Quesnel, BC, admitted professional misconduct for breaching an undertaking to instruct his doctor to submit a medical report to the Law Society. A Law Society hearing panel accepted his proposed penalty of a reprimand, that he abstain absolutely from alcohol, that he attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings two times a week, that before recommencing practice he provide the Law Society with an opinion from a physician specializing in addiction assessment stating that he is fit to practise law and setting out a proposed treatment plan and monitoring regime, that he submit to further assessments as the addiction physician requires and that failure to abide by any of these conditions will result in an immediate suspension.
Timothy John Hordal (1976) of Abbotsford, BC, admitted professional misconduct for breaching an undertaking and making false representations to another lawyer. The hearing panel ordered that Hordal, be reprimanded, that he pay a fine of $12,500, that he be suspended for two months commencing Aug. 7, 2004 and that he pay costs of $5,000.
Daniel Bruce Geller (1974), of West Vancouver, BC, admitted that he breached Law Society accounting rules. A Law Society hearing panel ordered that he pay a fine of $2,000, that he employ a chartered accountant for all required accounting work, that he report every six months to the Law Society that he is keeping appropriate accounting records and that he pay costs of $5,000.
Admissions to the Discipline Committee
Under Law Society Rule 4-21, the Discipline Committee may accept from a lawyer a conditional admission of a discipline violation. In such a case, the Committee will record the admission on the lawyer's professional conduct record. The citation, or parts of the citation to which the admission relates, are resolved by the lawyer's admission and those matters will not proceed to a hearing.
John Taylor Martin (1977, resigned Oct. 15, 2003) and Craig Kiyokata Iwata (1980, undertook to cease practice Oct. 15, 2003, became non-practising member Dec. 17, 2003, resigned May 6, 2004), each admitted:
- that withdrawing funds from trust when they knew the funds were not the property of the law firm Martin and Iwata constituted professional misconduct.
- that transferring funds from their law firm's trust account to temporarily reduce the firm's line of credit constituted professional misconduct.
- that they breached Law Society Rules by failing to eliminate trust shortages immediately and by failing to report trust shortages to the Law Society.
The Discipline Committee resolved the citations against Mr. Martin and Mr. Iwata by accepting their admissions of professional misconduct and their undertakings to:
- refrain from applying for reinstatement to the Law Society for 10 years.
- not apply for membership in any other law society without first advising the Law Society of BC.
- not permit their names to appear on the letterhead of any lawyer or law firm without the written consent of the Law Society.
- obtain written consent from the Law Society before working for any lawyer or law firm in BC.
- No client of the firm lost money as a result of these unauthorized withdrawals from trust.
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.
For more information on the regulation and discipline of lawyers see the "Discipline Hearings" section of the Law Society's website.
Law Society of BC media contact:
Brad Daisley, Public Affairs Manager
Office: 604-443-5724 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in BC