|For immediate release||December 23, 2013|
Vernon lawyer William Jacob Mastop disbarred for criminal conviction
Vancouver – The Law Society has ordered lawyer William Jacob Mastop to be disbarred.
In December 2012, Mastop pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court of British Columbia to participating in or contributing to the activity of the Greeks, a known criminal organization, for the purpose of enhancing the ability of the organization to facilitate or commit an indictable offence.
Independent of the criminal proceedings, the Law Society conducted its own assessment of Mastop’s conduct and ultimately the Society’s board of governors (Benchers) relied on Law Society Rule 4-40 to conclude the matter using a summary process. Rule 4-40 is only used in exceptional circumstances. It forgoes the need for a citation and citation hearing, allowing the Benchers to summarily suspend or disbar a lawyer who has been convicted of an offence that was proceeded with by way of indictment.
In its decision, the panel noted “We think it is important to apply a sanction that will be effective in deterring other lawyers who will need to resist requests from clients for illegal assistance. In order to maintain public confidence in the legal profession, there should be no possibility of doubt that the Law Society takes such conduct with the utmost seriousness, and the profession needs to know that as well.”
After being charged with the offence in 2009, Mastop was released on bail with one of the conditions being that he not practice law, which he has not done since.
The Law Society of British Columbia regulates the more than 11,000 practising 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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