Julie Macfarlane of National Self-Represented Litigants Project named to Top 25 Most Influential legal professionals in Canada

Prof. Julie Macfarlane

Congratulations to University of Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane who is named one of Canada’s 25 Most Influential legal professionals by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

Julie works tirelessly for for the rights of self-represented litigants and all Canadians to have access to justice – against a system that is set up and predisposed to favour those who are able to afford lawyers.

 

Net Neutrality and why it matters to you

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.

Suppose governments or corporations could slow or restrict your access to various websites – or restrict visits to your own website – based upon the published political, social or religious opinions and facts? It is a form of censorship that strikes at the very heart of free speech, personal freedoms and democracy.

Net neutrality forces all internet suppliers to treat each piece of traffic in the same manner.

And wouldn’t you know it… powerful forces want to allow internet suppliers to control and restrict what you are allowed to access on the internet.

If you value your freedom to create or visit any internet venue – you need to become knowledgeable about Net Neutrality, and you need to start aggressively asserting your rights.

Use ’em or lose ’em.

Things to do about Net Neutrality

1/ Have a listen to Tay Zonday above. You remember Tay… as a teenager he broadcast his original song ‘Chocolate Rain‘ on YouTube. Ten years later the original post has almost 114 million viewers.

2/ Go to the website battleforthenet.com and familiarize yourself with the Net Neutrality and the political side of why your freedom is at risk.

3/ Write, broadcast and agitate about Net Neutrality.

How the establishment media kills my story

Hired Gun Journalist Colin Perkel

In my own case, the Bay Street Cabal lawyers have done everything they can to restrict my telling the public about their misconduct and criminal activities like perjury, obstructing justice and fraud upon the courts.

The National Post shadow banned me. The Toronto Star erased all my comments, and the Toronto Sun published Colin Perkel’s two commissioned fake news pieces about my lawyer, Paul Slansky.

But, thanks to net neutrality, I still get my message out to tens of thousands of people every month through my blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

If we lose net neutrality, the first to profit will be those who wish to push a false narrative – and the biggest losers will be ordinary people.

Net Neutrality matters to you, your freedom and democracy. Don’t lose it!

An excellent truth by Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye

“Lawyers are important beyond just practicing law. And although our contributions to society are not always fully cherished or appreciated, these gains cannot be simplified to analyses of too many or too few.”

Lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye comments about whether Canadian law schools are turning out too many lawyers. (See SLAW – Canada’s online legal magazine.)

Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye

by Donald Best

Documenting the outrageous abuse heaped upon Canadians who are forced to represent themselves in court tends to focus people on the negative – because that is the truth of the situation in Canada at this moment.

That necessary focus, however, does not fairly indicate my appreciation of our legal system and my deep respect for those good people who do the best they can to deliver justice to Canadians within our flawed system.

Through my own experience of over forty years in public and private law enforcement in and around our courts, it has been my honour to meet and work with so many truly decent, dedicated lawyers and judges.

Canada has the worst legal system – except for all the others.

Although a handful of corrupt lawyers and police fabricated the false testimony that sent me to prison for 63 days in solitary confinement – and I often write about my case and post supporting evidence – I do not forget that without courageous and honest lawyers and judges, our way of life would collapse into chaos.

It would not take much effort to make Canada like so many countries where lawyers, judges and justice are bought and sold with money, violence, threats and other inducements. All it takes is a powerful and corrupt cartel – and regulators willing to look the other way “to avoid unpleasantness.”

And, individual lawyers who may have integrity but lack courage.

“Does Canada need more lawyers? Here’s what Omar Ha-Redeye says about this:

The utility of a legal education and training is not limited to the provision of legal services.

An understanding of our laws or at least how the system operates is indispensable in a countless number of jobs and industries, from business executives, private consulting, regulatory review, privacy compliance, public interest, just to name a few.

If the debate emerges out of the licensing problems that’s somewhat of a separate issue. I think legal training, i.e. work experience in some capacity, is also advantageous for the many non-professional roles which lawyers can play in our society.

Lawyers are important beyond just practicing law. And although our contributions to society are not always fully cherished or appreciated, these gains cannot be simplified to analyses of too many or too few.”

Omar Ha-Redeye Twitter: @OmarHaRedeye

Website: http://www.omarha-redeye.com

Canada Federal Court refuses to release judge from Judicial Review of misconduct complaint

In an unprecedented decision the Federal Court also ordered the Ontario Superior Court Justice to personally pay the legal costs of a man he sent to prison.

The Federal Court of Canada has refused a motion to release a judge as a party in a Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council ‘CJC’ decision concerning his alleged misconduct.

At issue is a CJC decision about the actions of Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy after a civil case hearing where the judge sentenced Donald Best, an unrepresented litigant, to three months in prison for civil contempt of court.

Judge secretly created new warrant of committal in a backroom. Secretly increased prisoner’s sentence off the court record.

Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy ordered to pay legal costs.

After court had finished on May 3, 2013 and the prisoner had been taken away to serve his three month sentence, Justice Shaughnessy went to a backroom and secretly created a new warrant of committal that increased the prisoner’s jail time by a month. Justice Shaughnessy did this off the court record, out of court, without telling the prisoner and without placing the new warrant of committal into the public court record.

The judge gave the only copy of the warrant to prison authorities and ordered that the prisoner was not to have knowledge of the creation of the court order.

Senior lawyers shocked by Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct

Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct shocked many members of Ontario’s legal profession. Several senior lawyers, including a retired Crown prosecutor, examined the evidence against the judge and made comments such as…

“In all my years of practicing law, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen a judge do.”

“Reprehensible misconduct by a judge that undermines the very foundations of justice.”

“Shaughnessy’s misconduct is worthy of his removal from the bench.”

When the Canadian Judicial Council summarily dismissed a complaint against Justice Shaughnessy without an investigation, the complainant Donald Best filed an Application for a Judicial Review of the CJC’s decision – and named Justice Shaughnessy as a party.

Justice Shaughnessy then filed a motion asking the court to:

  • Release Justice Shaughnessy from being a named party to the Judicial Review.
  • Strike the majority of Donald Best’s affidavit evidence filed in the Judicial Review.
  • Strike parts of Best’s Application for a Judicial Review and modify the Judicial Review procedures.
  • Order that Donald Best, the Applicant for the Judicial Review, pay Justice Shaughnessy’s legal costs in the motion.

Condensed Order – click for large

Costs order against judge unprecedented in Canadian Legal History

The Federal Court of Canada denied every part of Justice Shaughnessy’s motion, and in an unprecedented decision in Canadian legal history, ordered that Justice Shaughnessy should personally pay $2,500 in legal costs to the complainant Donald Best: a man the judge had sent to prison.

Although this writer is open to correction, research to date indicates that this is the first time ever in Canadian, British and USA legal history where a judge has been ordered to personally pay the legal costs of anyone – let alone a person he sent to prison.

Justice Shaughnessy did not appeal the order of the court, which is now confirmed.

Nobody acting for the Public Interest

Lawyer Paul Slansky

In a move that many legal professionals find surprising, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is not acting for the people of Ontario and the public interest, but instead is the personal lawyer for Justice Shaughnessy. The Attorney General of Canada apparently represents the Canadian Judicial Council and sided with Justice Shaughnessy in the hearing of his denied motion.

As Toronto defense lawyer Paul Slansky is acting for Donald Best, it appears that the public interest is unrepresented in an important matter concerning serious misconduct by an Ontario Superior Court Justice.

The date for the Judicial Review of the CJC decision has not yet been set, but is expected to take place sometime in 2017.

Written by Donald Best

Court Documents in the Public Record

January 17, 2017 Federal Court of Canada Order and Reasons (PDF 250kb)

April 14, 2016 – Notice of Application (PDF 711kb) by Donald Best for a Judicial Review of CJC decision.

April 27, 2016 Affidavit of Donald Best in two PDF files: Vol 1 (10.4mb) and Vol 2 (11.7mb)

December 2, 2016 Memorandum of Fact and Law (PDF 436kb) – Paul Slansky for Donald Best

Background   Read more

National Post bans Donald Best comment on article about Donald Best and lawyer Paul Slansky

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Canada’s National Post newspaper ‘stealth banned’* comments by yours truly, Donald Best, on a newspaper article about my lawyer Paul Slansky, my legal case and me.

When I’m logged in as a registered reader I can read my own comments – but I’m not told that my comments are not visible to other readers, only to me.

The National Post published the same flawed Colin Perkel article as did the Toronto Star, which contains such deliberately limited information that it can only be called fake news. After Perkel’s first such article about my case in June 2016, he refused to interview me despite my offers. My recent post explains it all.

My comment at the National Post was polite and informative – but the editors apparently have marching orders from their masters. The news article names me, is about my case and my lawyer, and the reporter refuses to interview me – but the National Post doesn’t want the public to read my comments about the story.

Here are my words, apparently too dangerous to the National Post’s agenda for the public to read:

This is Donald Best, the former Toronto Police Sergeant (Detective) who is mentioned in this article. Paul Slansky is my lawyer. He is a man of integrity and courage to take my case when it was apparent from the start that the legal establishment was simply not going to allow my evidence to reach a civil jury of my fellow Canadians.

No judge in any court listened to the audio recordings that I secretly made (and that prove my case) – and that includes the two judges that the National Post article mentions. Nor was I allowed to cross-examine the lawyer-witnesses upon whose testimony I was convicted and imprisoned in solitary confinement for 63 days.

Think about that: I was not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses about their testimony that the court relied upon to send me to prison.

Canadians are universally appalled when they visit my website, listen to the audio recordings, view all the evidence that was never allowed to come to trial – and understand what really happened.

Unfortunately, journalist Colin Perkel did not include in his story that a Judicial Review is in progress, and that the Federal Court just released a decision in my favour. Nor did Mr. Perkel include various background that would allow readers to decide for themselves what happened, and to follow the story as it continues to unfold.

After his original article last June, Mr. Perkel did not take advantage of my offers to be interviewed. I remain available should any Mr. Perkel or any journalist be interested.

Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario
website: DonaldBest.CA

*Stealth Banning is the practice of rendering an individual comment invisible to everyone except the poster. (Wikipedia)

 

 

Does Canada’s justice system hold any hope for common citizens?

A reader asks: With so many elements of Canada’s legal infrastructures failing its citizens, do you think there is hope for any real recourse for common citizens?

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Dear ‘S’,

Thank you for your kind and supportive email.

At the moment there is no real access to justice for ordinary Canadians. It can be fairly said that never before in Canadian history have the people and the justice system been so far apart.

It could also be fairly said that the elites who crafted and run the system – both the lawyers and ex-lawyers now known as ‘judges’ – are completely divorced from the people.

The only question is what form the rebellion will take when it comes.

Increasingly I see a section of the population completely dismissing the justice system as irrelevant in any decision making process where they believe they have been wronged. There is also a realization that we have a class-based justice system where rule of law is scarcely remembered by the courts and not at all by the legal profession.

This is producing a dangerous undermining of the very foundations of Canadian society – and if not stopped will produce a society like many around the world, where the justice system is known as nothing but a corrupt and owned weapon of the upper-class elites.

When the Toronto Star can report without contradiction that the Law Society of Upper Canada covered up hundreds of cases where Ontario lawyers committed criminal offenses against their clients, little more need be said.

Yours truly,

Donald Best

Representing Yourself in Court 101 – Lesson #1: Walk away if you can.

Lady Justice Cheats

Lady Justice doesn’t like Self-Represented Litigants

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

So you want justice, and you want it badly enough that you are willing to represent yourself in court – without a lawyer.

What I really want you to understand is this: walking away from court is often the best decision you can make, whether you have a lawyer or not. If you are self-represented though, walking away is almost always the best decision.

There’s a tough reality to representing yourself that you don’t know about, even if you have previous experience in court with your lawyer beside you. As a self-represented litigant, you WILL be abused by opposing lawyers. You WILL be abused by court staff and by judges.

And, like the vast majority of self-represented litigants, you will likely lose your case. You may find yourself having to pay legal costs to the other side – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars or more. Or, like me, you may end up doing several months in prison even though your case is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal charge.

You have no idea about what you are getting into, but…

Maybe you are forced to represent yourself in court. Perhaps you are being sued and the other side won’t settle. Maybe your children or your home are at stake and you can’t walk away, but you have no money to hire a lawyer.

If you must represent yourself, you have a difficult path ahead. You’ll have to work hard to learn the law, and to learn the written and unwritten rules of litigation. Don’t let your case overwhelm  what is really important in your life.

Representing Yourself in Court 101

My new video series covers some of the general information you’ll need to represent yourself in court. We’ll also look at some topics the legal community doesn’t like to talk about, such as the common dirty tricks that abusive lawyers reserve for those who don’t have a lawyer.

Lesson #1 in the series is titled ‘Walk away – if you can’.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A handful of wise Canadian Judges urge lawyers to adopt a new business product: unbundled services

How lawyers can take pressure off the courts and earn new profits from assisting self-represented litigants.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

If you have ever been involved in a lawsuit, whether personal or business, you are probably aware that for most Canadians, the cost of hiring a lawyer can easily exceed the loss or damages under dispute. In family law, it is not unheard of for the legal fees on both sides to equal the joint family assets. That is reality in our courts.

Yet, each year tens of thousands of Canadians hire lawyers in the hope that, after legal fees, they will be able to achieve some level of justice, even if greatly discounted. Harsh reality often awaits many who enter the world of paying lawyers $400 or more per hour – in a system that provides the greatest financial benefit to those lawyers who spend the most time achieving as little as possible.

I can almost hear the screams of indignant outrage from the senior benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Except, I have been at social events and seen lawyers openly joke about exactly that; how the system is set up to benefit the legal profession, not ordinary Canadians. As one of the jokes goes: A good lawyer will take a year to accomplish a motion – an excellent lawyer takes much longer.

As the legal profession pushed the cost of justice out of reach of the majority of ordinary people, many Canadians are reluctantly having to represent themselves in the courts. This tsunami of self-represented litigants is overwhelming the justice system and tests the patience of many judges who find the once professional theatre of the court now more akin to an amateur hour talent show.

So the legal system is searching for solutions to the ‘problem’ of self-represented litigants. We’ve seen some good efforts that need to be continued. Chief Justice Michael MacDonald of Nova Scotia instituted an educational program for self-represented litigants. Across Canada, SRL advocacy groups and a few lawyers run workshops to assist those who are forced to represent themselves.

Unbundled Services: Quick and effective relief for the courts & opposing lawyers

What is missing though, is the willingness of mainstream lawyers and law firms to enter the business of providing legal research, legal document creation and case preparation for self-represented litigants who would happily pay for such assistance, but do not have the funds to hire a ‘full service’ lawyer to represent them in court. (‘Unbundled legal services’)

Many lawyers see the delivery of unbundled services as undermining the profession. Still others fear malpractice claims or professional insurance problems when self-represented litigants turn on the lawyer who assisted them.

Dr. Julie Macfarlane and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project continue to educate lawyers and law students about the SRL crisis – and now focus on untapped business opportunities for lawyers willing to add a new product: Unbundled Services to self-represented persons.

And, in the new NSRLP video (above) we see support for unbundled legal services from some heavy hitters including Chief Justice Robert Bauman of British Columbia, Chief Justice Michael MacDonald of Nova Scotia, and Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco of the Superior Court of Ontario.

Kudos to the Justices for their leadership, and to Dr. Macfarlane and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project for their excellent video.

Canadians respond to my Globe and Mail article about solitary confinement and Adam Capay

globe-mail-donald-best-590x220-private

Last Tuesday I was sitting in an examination room as a new doctor looked at my chart. (Like airline pilots, doctors seem to get younger every day.) When he flipped the pages to read my name again, he stopped, trying to remember something, and then said, “Donald Best… Donald Best. Did you write that column in the Globe and Mail yesterday?”

When I confirmed that I was the author, he called in a nurse, made introductions and the three of us spent the next 15 minutes discussing solitary confinement, my column and how a ‘nice man’ like me came to be housed with some of Canada’s most dangerous prisoners.

It is apparent that my Globe and Mail article ‘Solitary confinement is pure torture. I know, I was there“ touched many of my fellow Canadians who were unware of the horrors of solitary confinement in our prisons.

Prior to my own incarceration for 63 days, I too hadn’t thought much about solitary confinement, and when I did I had no idea about the reality – this despite three decades of service in public and private law enforcement.

But my article resonated with ordinary people, for which I am grateful – because solitary confinement is torture, nothing less. It is not what my Canada is about – or should be about.

In the last week, I received over one hundred emails and other messages of encouragement from all across Canada. My website saw an increase of several thousand additional visitors, and many journalists opened communication with me. I made guest appearances on two ‘talk-radio’ shows in Ottawa and Montreal. Several lawyers contacted me to inquire whether I would provide testimony to assist their clients who are incarcerated in solitary confinement.

(Sure I’ll testify to the truth about what I saw and experienced in solitary confinement. The truth does not have an agenda – it is just the truth.)

The catalyst for all this is, of course, Adam Capay, an indigenous 24-year-old man horrifically kept in solitary confinement for almost five years. His story splashed across the news media for a few days, but has disappeared now that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made some promises and moved Capay to a cell with a television.

Such is the fleeting attention of the public as new stories come and go.

17 Years in Solitary Confinement

Yet, as bad as Adam Capay’s case is – somewhere in Canada, if he is still alive, there is a prisoner who has spent over 17 years in ‘administrative segregation’.

Seventeen years.

This is not the Canada that I believe in. WE, you and I, need to make some changes happen.

Donald Best

Ontario Appeal Court decision clears the way for lawyers Lorne Silver and Gerald Ranking to sue Donald Best for Internet libel.

Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver lied to the court, fabricated evidence.

Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking (Faskens) and Lorne Silver (Cassels Brock) lied to the court, fabricated evidence.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

There remains just one small problem… everything Donald Best published is true.

A recent cutting-edge decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal clears the way for residents of Ontario to sue for Internet libel no matter where in the world the offending material is published.

The Appeal Court upheld a lower court ruling that persons are entitled to sue in the jurisdiction where they enjoy their reputation. (The Lawyers Weekly: Israeli paper libel case to be tried in an Ontario court.)

If there was any doubt on the part of Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver about their ability to sue me in Ontario, the decision in Goldhar v. Haaretz.com 2016 ONCA 515 should clear the way if they wish to launch a civil action concerning my articles about them as published here at DonaldBest.CA.

I, Donald Best, hereby declare that I write and publish this website in Ontario, Canada, where I am resident.

Some of my articles document how Messrs. Ranking and Silver, as Officers of the Court, fabricated a false ’Statement for the Record’ and lied to the court in writing and orally to convict me in absentia of ‘Contempt of Court’ in a civil case costs hearing I was unaware of while I was overseas.

In several articles, I directly call both Mr. Ranking and Mr. Silver ‘liars’, which they are. They are proven to be liars by my secret telephone recordings and other evidence. By example, they even taught a junior lawyer how to lie to the court.

Please don’t believe anything I say. Examine all the affidavits, exhibits, recordings and court transcripts posted on this website and make up your own mind.

I also published several articles describing how Gerald Ranking committed fraud upon the courts when he knowingly conspired with his clients to use a phoney non-entity to bring motions and appear before the courts, including before the Supreme Court of Canada.  Read more

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