|For immediate release||October 8, 2002|
Law Society disciplines B.C. lawyers
VANCOUVER – Pursuant to its statutory duty to govern B.C.'s legal profession in the public interest, the Law Society of B.C. has disciplined the following lawyers (the lawyer's year of call to the B.C. Bar appears in parentheses):
Ulf Kristiansen (1985), a former lawyer who ceased practising in January 2002, admitted his failure to file Law Society accounting documents as required constituted professional misconduct. A hearing panel ordered that he be reprimanded, that if he returns to practice he must arrange for a mentor to oversee his practice, and that he pay costs of the hearing.
John Allan Davies (1993), of Salt Spring Island, B.C., admitted the following charges of professional misconduct: failed to serve his clients properly; failing to reply to Law Society correspondence; breaching an undertaking given to the Law Society to refrain from practising real estate conveyancing; and failing to pay an account rendered by another lawyer. A hearing panel ordered that Mr. Davies enter into a practice supervision agreement with another lawyer, that he provide the Law Society with a statement of his creditors every six months and that he be reprimanded.
Chester Bridal (1968), of Vancouver, B.C., admitted professional misconduct in that he breached various Law Society accounting rules, failed to respond to a request for financial information from the Law Society, failed to report monetary judgments registered against himself and failed to remit GST and PST. A hearing panel ordered that he be allowed to practise only in the capacity of an employee of a law firm, that he not handle any financial transactions and that he pay costs of $500.
Thomas Eaton Sprague (1976), of Pitt Meadows, B.C., admitted professional misconduct in that he had represented a client when he was in a conflict of interest. A hearing panel ordered that he pay a fine of $2,000 and costs of $1,500.
Elizabeth Eu See Lee (1986), of Vancouver, B.C., admitted her failure to honour an undertaking to deliver post-dated cheques and settlement documents to another lawyer in a matrimonial action constituted professional misconduct. A hearing panel ordered her to pay a fine of $2,000 and costs of $1,500.
Lawrence E. Pierce (1984), of Vancouver. The Law Society applied for a review on an earlier decision which ordered a three-month suspension after finding Mr. Pierce guilty of professional misconduct for threatening to give evidence damaging to another lawyer's client in a personal injury case unless that client reached a settlement with Mr. Pierce in an unrelated case between Mr. Pierce and the other lawyer's client. On review, a majority of the seven-Bencher panel ordered a further suspension of six months. That suspension has, however, been stayed by the B.C. Court of Appeal pending appeal by Mr. Pierce of the original decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Robert Dale Carr-Harris (1967), of Vancouver, has admitted to a Law Society hearing panel that he is guilty of conduct unbecoming a lawyer after pleading guilty in B.C. Provincial Court in December 2000 to two counts of sexually abusing his step-daughters in 1970. The Provincial Court Judge in that case sentenced Mr. Carr-Harris to two years less a day to be served in the community. Mr. Carr-Harris also admitted to the Law Society that he had falsely stated on an application for enrolment as an articling student in 1966 that he had never been treated for a mental illness, when this was untrue. He admitted that the false statement amounted to conduct unbecoming a lawyer.
A three-Bencher hearing panel considered the penalties of disbarment or suspension, observing that Mr. Carr-Harris' sexual abuse crimes were particularly loathsome, especially for a member of the legal profession. The panel did take note, however, that at the time of these incidents, Mr. Carr-Harris suffered from extreme and untreated mental illness. He had long since been successfully treated for that illness and for alcoholism and drug abuse and no longer posed a danger to the public. Another factor was that Mr. Carr-Harris had signed a settlement agreement with his victims, agreeing to pay them $500,000 as compensation in instalments by 2004. In concluding that a disbarment or suspension would effectively prevent Mr. Carr-Harris from paying the compensation to his victims, the panel instead ordered that he pay a fine of $20,000 (the maximum permitted by the Legal Profession Act) after he has completed making compensation payments to his victims. In addition, the hearing panel said that, if Mr. Carr-Harris fails to make any of the payments under the compensation agreement with his victims, it will raise a prima facie case of conduct unbecoming a lawyer.
The Law Society of B.C. was founded in 1869 and is the governing body of the legal profession in B.C. It is an independent organization funded by dues paid by all B.C. 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 B.C.
For more information on the regulation and discipline of lawyers see The Legal Profession Act:
Section 3: Law Society duty to protect the public.
Part 4: Discipline
The Legal Profession Act is available on the Law Society of B.C. website.
The Law Society of B.C. makes the following documents available to the media in discipline matters:
Discipline Digest and Discipline Case Digest
Discipline hearings are generally open to the public; please check with the Law Society prior to the hearing if you wish to attend. A list of upcoming hearings is available on the Law Society's website.
Law Society of B.C. media contact:
Brad Daisley, Public Affairs Manager
Office: 604-443-5724 or 1-800-903-5300 toll-free in B.C.