Donald Best receives 2018 Ontario Civil Liberties Award

Scandal, Cover-up by Federal Court of Canada Exposed.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Toronto Police

I’m surprised and deeply honoured to receive the 2018 Ontario Civil Liberties Award – announced this morning.

Today (and in my recorded acceptance speech – transcript here) I am calling upon the Law Society of Ontario and the law societies in every province to cease investigating complaints against their own members. This most serious conflict of interest undermines the profession’s credibility and the public’s trust in our legal system.

Self-investigation by the lawyers’ unions is a real conflict of interest that is unacceptable by any modern standard and cannot be resolved – except by the establishment of independent organizations in each province to receive complaints against lawyers, to perform professional unbiased investigations and to lay charges where appropriate. The retention of investigative functions by the law societies is indefensible.

Today, I also reveal details of an ongoing major scandal and active cover-up by the Courts Administration Service and the Federal Court of Canada that impacts every Canadian who has appeared before that court for any reason in the last few years.

This documented misconduct by Federal Court of Canada personnel throws into question every recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada. Dozens of lawyers and litigants have already contacted me about this revelation and I am aware of several lawsuits / legal motions that are imminent. At least one will be filed within days.

Regarding my personal legal battles, both the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (in their news media release) and University of Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane in her introduction speech for my award – openly declare that I was unjustly convicted of contempt of court and imprisoned based upon false evidence fabricated by senior lawyers from some of Canada’s largest law firms. (Former OPP Commissioner of Police Julian Fantino said the same thing last year in a sworn affidavit and said that if he knew then what he knows now, he would have launched a criminal investigation against named Ontario Provincial Police officers and lawyers.)

To my friends and family who believed in me during the darkest times and gave me strength – thank you. This is your Ontario Civil Liberties Award as much as it is mine. To the legal profession and the courts… We want our justice system back.

Ontario Civil Liberties Association announcement…

http://ocla.ca/ocla-civil-liberties-award/

My acceptance speech…

https://youtu.be/AWUcVtnec9A

Professor Julie Macfarlane’s introduction…

https://youtu.be/trPU2uwUzOM

Donald Best Receives the 2018 OCLA Civil Liberties Award

(Ottawa, December 4, 2018) – The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) presents its 2018 Civil Liberties Award to whistleblower and anti-corruption activist Donald Best.

Donald Best is a former Sergeant (Detective) with the Toronto Police responsible for investigating Canadian police, lawyers, and politicians involved in organized crime, and a leading Canadian anti-corruption whistleblower and activist.

In his ongoing legal cases and public advocacy, Mr. Best has exposed corruption in the Canadian legal profession including secret orders and investigations by judges, the submission of false evidence in court by lawyers, and the failure of disciplinary bodies such as the Law Society of Ontario and the Canadian Judicial Council to investigate complaints against judges and lawyers.

Mr. Best’s tireless efforts to create integrity and accountability in the Canadian legal system make him an exemplary leader in the fight for equality before and under the law of all Canadians, including self-represented litigants.

Embedded at the OCLA’s award website (link HERE) is a video of Donald Best’s acceptance speech for the 2018 OCLA Civil Liberties Award, following a video introduction of Mr. Best by law professor Julie Macfarlane, Director of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project, University of Windsor.

Background Articles available online

https://donaldbest.ca/faqs-about-best-v-ranking/

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/ex-federal-cabinet-minister-julian-fantino-takes-aim-at-judge-cops-lawyers

https://business.financialpost.com/legal-post/internet-research-by-jurors-and-judges-during-cases-challenged-julius-melnitzer

https://donaldbest.ca/broadcaster-jimmy-dore-interviews-donald-best-the-lawyers-lied-to-the-court-and-as-a-result-you-were-convicted/

Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla embraces police investigation of Mafia connections – with custom Godfather logo

Hamilton Councillor jokes about leaked police investigation – but offers no explanation to citizens.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

When DonaldBest.CA re-published leaked police documents showing Hamilton politician Sam Merulla under investigation for apparent association with notorious ‘Ndrangheta Mafia members Antonio Agresta and brothers Angelo and Pat Musitano – Merulla responded by blocking your writer Donald Best from reading his Twitter feed.

Now the newly re-elected council member’s Twitter profile @SamMerulla shows him wearing a custom Godfather-style logo ‘The Councillor’ in an apparent attempt to defuse the issue through humour and mocking.

Left unsaid by Merulla is any real reply or explanation to the concern that an elected official appears as a subject in a long term investigation into organized crime. ‘Project SCOPA’ also revealed corrupt Hamilton cops in the pay of the mob.

Nothing from Sam Merulla – and very surprising during the recent municipal election – not one word about the police investigation into Merulla from the Hamilton Spectator, the Toronto Star or any other local news media. 

Whether due to ‘libel chill’ or the corrupt influence of organized crime, the result is the same: the mainstream news media failed in its duty to the public and to the public trust.

Hamilton politician Sam Merulla blocked Donald Best on Twitter

Hamilton Citizens deserve the Truth from Merulla and the Police

In 2016, the Toronto Star reported on a lawsuit by undercover officer Paul Manning – who alleges he was betrayed by the Hamilton Police Service and by corrupt police officers working for the Mafia.

Then about a year ago Oakville-based private investigator Derrick Snowdy published confidential police reports into organized crime showing connections between Hamilton mobsters, corrupt cops and several politicians – including Councillor Sam Merulla and former Hamilton Police Board Chair Bernie Morelli. (Morelli passed at 70 years old in 2014 after a long illness.)

In late 2017 I published two articles:

Leaked police report: Hamilton City Councillor Sam Merulla & former Police Board Chair linked with organized crime, ‘Ndrangheta mafia

Domenic Violi arrest a reminder that Organized Crime has penetrated Canadian police for decades

On November 15, 2017 the Toronto Star published a teaser about the Derrick Snowdy material – but only mentioned mob figures and corrupt cops. Again, the mainstream news media lacked the courage and integrity to report the full story, including that Sam Merulla was a target / subject of a major police investigation into the Hamilton mob.

Is it any wonder that Canadians no longer trust the mainstream news media as they once did?

‘The Councillor’ Sam Merulla wouldn’t be wearing a mocking Godfather shirt if the Hamilton and Toronto mainstream news media was doing its job.

Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla and Musitano brothers (montage from original document below)

Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in this article

As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at info@donaldbest.ca and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments left on articles are moderated at least once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.

Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.

Readers are also encouraged to thoroughly study all the evidence available here at DonaldBest.CA, to perform independent research on the Internet and elsewhere, to consider all sides and to make up their own minds as to the events reported on DonaldBest.CA.

Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

 

Cassels Brock law firm removes offensive logo

‘A Law Until Ourselves’ Bird of Prey logo revealed contempt for lawyers’ Duty to the Public Trust.

Almost two years ago, DonaldBest.CA exposed the elitism and arrogance of the Cassels Brock law firm in their web-publishing of a bird of prey logo declaring ‘A Law Unto Ourselves’.

You can read our original article here: Cassels Brock law firm motto ‘A Law Unto Ourselves’ under a bird of prey

We can now report that Cassels Brock has removed the offensive logo at their Cassels Brock law students’ webpage.

Yes, the logo is gone… but what about the ‘A law unto ourselves’ attitude?

HA!

Next up…

Coming Soon: 

Cassels Brock website celebrates corrupt lawyer who lied to jail a self-represented litigant

Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in articles

As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at info@donaldbest.ca and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments on articles are moderated about once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.

Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.

Readers are also encouraged to thoroughly study all the evidence available here at DonaldBest.CA, to perform independent research on the Internet and elsewhere, to consider all sides and to make up their own minds as to the events reported on DonaldBest.CA.

Donald Best
November 13, 2018
Barrie, Ontario
Canada

Valarie Findlay: Wolves, Sheep and the Inconvenience of Sheep Dogs

“As source in a media story this past summer, I was aware of the rough road ahead: A sworn officer had revealed information on an active undercover operation targeting a long-time municipal politician for bribery.”  …Valarie Findlay

Show me how to lie,

You’re getting better all the time.
And turning all against the one

Its an art that’s hard to teach.
Another clever word

Sets off an unsuspecting herd.
And as you step back into line,

The mob jumps to their feet.

by Valarie Findlay

Where fact and perspective meet, our personal values churn both of these, binding them into what we believe to be right and fair. Beyond common law and more than moral platitudes, these complex, emotional judgments help us to separate the ‘good guys’ from the bad, the law-abiding from the law-breaking and those who pull ‘sheep’s clothing’ over their wolf-like intentions, as they stride into the light of public interest.

It’s not uncommon for the public to be dazzled by sleight of hand that leaves us doubting our intuitions, even in the face of facts – it happens all of the time. The unknowing – or those not wanting to know – are transformed into complicit shills, bit players in the theatrics of the corrupt. Everyone knows that following the crowd is easier than standing up, or worse, standing alone.

Not a fan of acting on a single vector of information, balancing the material and immaterial with historical actions or patterns and intuition is critical. These are the pillars of anecdote, facts and the pathology of behaviours. The simplicity of when someone shows themselves to you, believe them is not lost on me, but it is rarely enough to grind the gears of public opinion.

(Above LiveLeak video: Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof talking about Chairman of the Ottawa Police Service Board and alleging, quiet clearly, that Eli El-Chantiry is involved in Organized Crime. Note: none of his allegations have yet been proven true.)

Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof first denies, then admits secret recordings are of him

As source in a media story this past summer, I was aware of the rough road ahead: A sworn officer had revealed information on an active undercover operation targeting a long-time municipal politician for bribery. The local politician was Ottawa Police Services Board Chair, Eli El-Chantiry. The ‘officer’ was Ottawa Police Association president, and former Ottawa Police Services (OPS) sergeant, Matt Skof. The receiving party was me.

Matt Skof Ottawa Police Association President

When Matt informed me that El-Chantiry was the target of a bribery play, I had no intention of acting on the information. But that changed when I was told the operation was disbanded without cause, charges nor explanation and that emails existed between El-Chantiry, his secretary and others coordinating the bribe.

The only statement I will make with regard to Matt with any certainty is that he grossly misjudged my principles. Under no circumstances would I hide serious assertions that an elected official was involved in criminal activities and that the investigation stood up on that information was seemingly quashed.

As the information was socialized by others, it was not exactly a shock to a tight circle of cops and myself. For three years, I had been the conduit for many sources of testimony and material evidence on El-Chantiry’s conduct – and then I had my own. I had no reason to doubt Matt’s accuracy, truth and veracity of the information. In instances prior to this, any information shared on El-Chantiry and others was corroborated by those who were directly involved. Matt, in my opinion, acted in good faith, as I did.

Over the months that followed, much was underemphasized that would have lent context.

Firstly, the information provided by Matt was not coerced, as some have suggested. It also occurred over several months with increasing detail and cohesion. To that and on the matter of why the calls were recorded, this was an automatic function on the cell phone that Matt often called me on; calls made to my other numbers were not recorded.

There was no grand entrapment scheme and there was no personal benefit to me. The recordings were all but forgotten, until it was indicated to me that the operation was apparently “buried” – keeping in mind, this operation was executed and funded in a way that kept it shielded from the executive.

“I am one hundred percent convinced that Eli El-Chantiry is full out involved in organized crime, no doubt…”  Ottawa Police Association President Matt Skof talks about Ottawa Police Service Board Chair Mr. Eli El-Chantiry.

Secondly, there was no manipulation or misrepresentation of the recordings, as claimed by Matt. The original files’ were substantiated and verified by a number of factors: time/date stamps, call logs showing phone numbers and length of calls and correlation of information from the conversations to material elements, such as emails. The integrity of the audio files was maintained and verified as such.

Eli ElChantiry, Chair Ottawa Police Services Board

Many asked why Matt would share such sensitive information with me. Obviously, I know why, but this is a question for Skof to answer, not me. From our many conversations over the years on El-Chantiry’s conduct, I can presume he was dually disgusted and overjoyed that this may signal the end of El-Chantiry’s fourteen year reign as Ottawa-Ward 5 Councillor and nearly ten years on the Ottawa Police Services Board.

Additionally, many have asked whether Matt and I had a “romantic” relationship. We did not – it was not romantic in the slightest. Others shifted the focus to his error in judgement, and in some cases, mine. To this, I will vigorously state that on the face of the information and its serious implications, the necessity for the matter to be independently investigated is crucial. I stand by that one-hundred percent. Read more

Broadcaster Jimmy Dore interviews Donald Best: “The lawyers lied to the court and as a result you were convicted…”

Jimmy Dore Show names corrupt Toronto lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver, Sebastien Kwidzinski – plus corrupt judge and cop.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

For years the Canadian news media put a ‘kill’ on my story and shadow-banned my comments on their websites. Many supportive mainstream journalists informed me that their editors refused to publish any part of my story due to ‘libel chill’ – their fear of being sued by the corrupt lawyers who proveably lied to the court to convict and imprison me for contempt in a civil matter.

On those rare occasions when Canadian outlets did write about my case, the stories were invariably agenda-driven, inaccurate and obviously sourced from the opposition. To this day no Canadian news media has published a story comparing the provably false court testimony of the Toronto lawyers with the truth as shown in the forensically-certified secret voice recordings of our conversation.

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Things started to change late last year when the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, National Post and other outlets published Colin Perkel’s article Ex-cabinet minister Julian Fantino suggests judge, lawyers and cops part of conspiracy to convict man. Then on June 5, 2018 the Financial Post carried Julius Melnitzer’s story Internet research by jurors and judges during cases challenged: Julius Melnitzer.

Now the US news media is picking up the story with The Jimmy Dore Show out of Los Angeles being the first to publish a video of my guest appearance on the show. (YouTube video above or here: Cop Whistleblower Targeted by Canadian Court)

“There were secret recordings you made of your telephone conversations with the lawyers involved. I read the official court records showing what those lawyers told the court. They lied to the court, and as a result you were convicted for Contempt of Court while you weren’t even in the country.” (Jimmy Dore to Donald Best at about 10:30 into the interview.)

Jimmy Dore is the first journalist with the courage to publicly state that he compared my secret recordings with the corrupt lawyers’ testimony and finds that the lawyers lied to the court to convict me.

Corrupt Ontario lawyers Sebastien Kwidzinski, Gerald Ranking & Lorne Silver lied to the courts.

Jimmy Dore Show also names Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy, Police Officer James ‘Jim’ Van Allen

At about 18:41 into the interview, I name and the Jimmy Dore Show names the three Ontario lawyers, Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy and retired Ontario Provincial Police officer Jim Van Allen – all of whom Jimmy Dore refers to as “corrupt”.

“Donald Best, we wish you all the best in getting to the bottom of this, getting justice in your case and exposing these corrupt lawyers and judges…” (Jimmy Dore to Donald Best at about 25:00 into the interview.)

Jimmy, his staff and presumably his legal team studied my case in detail prior to making his production decisions and final edits.

Viewers know exactly what it means when a citizen like me and a journalist like Jimmy Dore openly name lawyers and a judge as “corrupt” and they do not sue. The lawyers and the judge don’t dare because they would have to expose themselves to cross-examination for the first time – and they know they are guilty of corrupt acts.

Sometimes it takes a while to break through the news media gatekeepers. It looks like that time is approaching.

Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in articles

As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at info@donaldbest.ca and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments on articles are moderated about once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.

Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.

Readers are also encouraged to thoroughly study all the evidence available here at DonaldBest.CA, to perform independent research on the Internet and elsewhere, to consider all sides and to make up their own minds as to the events reported on DonaldBest.CA.

Donald Best
September 29, 2018
Barrie, Ontario
Canada

 

For lawyers (and everyone else) Integrity is easy – Courage is the hard part.

There will always be some lawyers and even a few judges who embrace greed, ignore the Rule of Law and engage in corrupt acts in support of powerful clients and cabals.

It is a part of the human experience that some individuals yield to temptation and forsake what is right and lawful.

The real danger though, is when the legal profession and its regulators turn a blind eye to lawyers and judges who choose to become “servants in the architecture of corruption.”

When this happens, corruption thrives and the Rule of Law soon withers away.

As shown in the circumstances of my case, Canadians deserve much better from the Law Society of Ontario, the legal profession and the courts. The Law Society of Ontario, the Ontario legal profession and the Canadian Judicial Council obviously fear transparency and accountability.

In this, Ontario lawyers and judges are little different than the policing organizations of 30 years ago who assured Canadians that they were capable of self-oversight with the public trust foremost in their agenda.

That was an absurdity and so the citizens of Ontario through their government established the Special Investigations Unit (‘SIU’) to take civiliian oversight of serious incidents involving police.

Why should the legal profession be allowed to investigate itself? There must be independent civilian oversight of investigations into wrongdoing by lawyers.

After almost 40 years spent interacting with ordinary people, the police, the legal profession and the courts in one way or another, I truly believe that most people are good at their core.

Really evil people are a minority in our society, and, I firmly believe, are a minority in any society.

Most people have integrity. They know in their heart – they feel in their heart – what is right and wrong and they try to do the correct thing; but… only when integrity is an easy choice.

Having courage is to act rightly despite your fears. 

Courage is where most good people fail the test.

To do what is right when the pressure is on, when your employer or a powerful group wants you to compromise or ignore what you know is right, takes more than integrity. It takes courage.

Most of us do not have that kind of courage. That is a hard truth and one of the reasons why groups of corrupt people can sway societal systems and exert influence totally out of proportion to their numbers and actual strength.

Yet, sometimes all it takes is one courageous person to stand firm and declare that they will not do this or that for their employer. They will not deliver false evidence or ignore the truth in the face of powerful government officials.

But such decisions carry a price.

Sometimes the price of integrity is relatively modest: Professor John Knox of the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill in Barbados was warned to stop testifying in a certain court case or he would be fired. Professor Knox testified and soon found himself unemployed – fired from the University. Then he was abducted from the family home at gunpoint and beaten severely… but at least he still lives.

Sometimes the price of integrity is high: Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky refused to ‘confess’ to crimes and to falsely implicate others. For his defiance, corrupt police imprisoned him and then beat him to death in his solitary confinement jail cell. As corrupt as the murderous police were, they were only the instruments of a larger corrupt cabal that extended high into the Russian government.

And lest my readers receive the impression that serious corruption only happens ‘over there’, I clearly state that in Canada and in the United States, just like everywhere else, integrity is sometimes rewarded – but most often is punished when ruling groups are exposed or threatened.

Integrity is easy. Courage is the hard part.

Federal Court of Canada secretly uses internet to investigate people and cases appearing before judges

Dr. Eric Cole – former Commissioner on CyberSecurity to President Obama – confirms secret investigations by Federal Court of Canada

Financial Post article reports stunning new development in Canadian Judicial Council case.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Toronto Police

Judges and/or employees of the Federal Court of Canada (‘FCC’) conducted extensive secret online investigations into my case, my witnesses, my lawyer and me during the over a year and a half that my CJC Judicial Review case was before that court.

Even during the November 20, 2017 final hearing as my lawyer was in court speaking to Justice Boswell – the FCC staff and/or Justice Boswell himself were googling about the case and downloading evidence, information and exhibits from the internet. 

As reported by Julias Melnitzer in the Financial Post, the above has been forensically confirmed by US computer networking expert (and former commissioner on cybersecurity for President Obama) Dr. Eric Cole in a sworn affidavit filed in Ontario courts. (Available here as a .pdf: without exhibits 2.5mbwith exhibits 33mb)

Secret evidence is prohibited in our courts.

So what’s the problem with judges and their staff secretly collecting information online about the cases, litigants, accused persons, witnesses and lawyers appearing before the judge?

That’s easy – this secret and unlawful court activity strikes right to the heart of our standards for a fair and open trial process.

Persons before the court have a right to see, examine and challenge all evidence considered by the court and to do so in public. This standard goes back over eight hundred years to the Magna Carta and is what differentiates English-based judicial practice from so many other countries and cultures.

Thus in the British, American and Canadian courts, jury members and judges are not supposed to do independent research into the cases they are considering. This is to ensure that all the evidence the court or jury members consider is on the record and in public so the prosecution and defence are aware of the evidence, can test it for accuracy and make submissions as to its value and interpretation in the case.

If the judge or jury members consider evidence that nobody else is aware of, they are conducting a portion of the trial in secret.

The issue of no secret evidence in the courts is so important to justice and fair trials that in the United States and Britain jury members are regularly jailed for violating this prohibition. Recently in Canada two lengthy criminal proceedings were declared mistrial when jurors were caught independently researching the case.

Jurors are usually caught when another member of the jury finds out and alerts the court staff. As one can imagine though, catching judges secretly investigating cases is exponentially more difficult although there have been a few recent instances in the USA and Canada.

Federal Court Justice Keith Boswell

Federal Court of Canada in full cover-up mode

It is apparent in the sworn affidavit of Dr. Eric Cole that the Federal Court of Canada was caught red-handed using the internet and google searches to secretly gather information about my case and the involved parties and witnesses for over a year and a half.

Further, Dr. Cole confirms that the Courts Administration Service that operates the computer network for the Federal Court of Canada knows exactly which judges and court staff are involved.

In a series of letters between Chantal Carbonneau, Deputy Chief Administrator of Judicial and Registry Services and my lawyer Paul Slansky, Ms. Carbonneau…

  1. admitted that court personnel conducted the investigations,
  2. indicated that she had knowledge of the people involved, but…
  3. refused to identify the judges and/or court staff who conducted the secret investigations into my case, and my lawyers and witnesses – and me.

There is much more to come regarding this story. The main takeaways are the following…

  1. For over a year and a half, Federal Court of Canada judges and/or their staff used the internet to conduct secret investigations and to gather information and evidence about the Donald Best – Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy case before the court.
  2. Expert witness Dr. Eric Cole, former Commissioner on CyberSecurity to President Obama, confirms the misconduct of the Federal Court of Canada personnel, and that the Courts Administration Service and the FCC know everything about which FCC judges and court personnel secretly researched the Donald Best – Justice Bryan Shaughnessy case before the court.
  3. The Courts Administration Service and the Federal Court of Canada refuse to release information about which judges and court personnel secretly researched the Donald Best – Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy case and the involved persons.

How many other cases did Federal Court of Canada judges secretly research on the Internet? Did the judge consider secret evidence in YOUR case before the Federal Court of Canada?

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella speaks on Judicial Independence, Access to Justice and an angry Canadian public

Newly revealed off-the-record speech

On July 7, 2011, Justice Rosalie Abella gave a lengthy address at University College, London titled ‘Constitutions and Judges: Changing Roles, Rules and Expectations.”

According to the Supreme Court of Canada’s then Executive Legal Officer Owen Rees, the speech was never published and further – Justice Abella never shares her speaking notes with anyone.*

Well… despite Mr. Rees’ information, somehow Justice Abella’s speech was scanned and published online by University College and is still available for download at the University College website here. (pdf 4mb) I posted a copy on my website that has been OCR’d (optical character recognition) so the speech is now searchable. You can download that OCR’d copy here.

Justice Abella’s speech is a good read both for the public and the legal profession not only because of the insight into the thinking of one of our Supreme Court Justices but also because the judiciary is falling into a state that Justice Abella warned against in her talk.

The public’s trust in the judiciary is failing. A large part of that is due to the refusal of the judiciary as an institution to hold wayward judges accountable in any meaningful manner. Further, at the Federal level, the organization tasked with investigating and disciplining Federal judges, the Canadian Judicial Council, is so obviously nothing more than a whitewashing bureau with as little transparency as it has accountability.

Like every profession empowered to oversee itself, the judiciary ended up placing its own interests before the public trust. And transparency? What a joke…

Let’s talk Judicial Accountability and Transparency. The Canadian Judicial Council’s annual reports went from seventy-two pages in 1996 to TWO PAGES in 2016 – a clear message from both the judiciary and the CJC that the Canadian public can go to Hell for all they care.

You can access the CJC’s annual reports at their website here: CJC website annual reports.

Justice Abella on Judicial Independence… and on judges like Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

It is interesting that in her speech Justice Abella cautioned that judges should be vigilant that their judicial independence and impartiality are not cauterized by controversy. She also said that judges must keep the public confident that no matter what, rights and freedoms will be pursued and protected.

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

But what happens when, as in my case, a judge like Federal Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy so obviously abandons even the appearance of impartiality and adherence to rule of law? And further, what happens when the Canadian Judicial Council and Attorney General of Canada openly defend and side with a judge whose conduct some lawyers have called ‘reprehensible’?

I submit that it is not the rogue acts of a handful of judges that undermine our justice system – it is the cover-ups that do the most damage to the public’s trust and confidence in our courts.

On reading her speech, I think that Justice Abella probably gets that point.

“Justice may be blind, but the public is not.” Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella.

Access to Justice

Starting at the bottom of page 19 of her speech and continuing for some time, Justice Abella talks about how important it is that judges retain the trust and confidence of the public and that the public is becoming angry over the lack of access to justice and the fixation of the justice system on procedure instead of a focus upon justice.

“So what’s the noise our profession can’t ignore? The sound of a very angry public. And it’s a public that’s been mad at us for a long, long time. Like the character from the movie Network, I’m not sure they’re going to take it anymore. And frankly, I’m not sure they should.”Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella.

“I’m talking of course about access to justice. But I’m not talking about fees, or billings, or legal aid, or even pro bono. Those are our beloved old standards in the “access to justice” repertoire and I’m sure all of you know those tunes very well. I have a more fundamental concern: I cannot for the life of me understand why we still resolve civil disputes the way we did more than a century ago.”Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella.

“I think it’s finally time to think about designing a whole new way to deliver justice to ordinary people with ordinary disputes and ordinary bank accounts. That’s what real access to justice needs, that’s what the public is entitled to get, and that’s what our professionalism demands. Justice must be seen to be believed. And getting people to believe in justice is what the legal system is supposed to do.” Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella.

Photo of Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella courtesy of the Supreme Court of Canada.

TEXT RECOGNIZED COPY BELOW – May have inaccuracies. Check against .pdf copies…

CONSTITUTIONS AND JUDGES: CHANGING ROLES, RULES, AND EXPECTATIONS.

University College London

The Constitution Unit The Supreme Court London, England

July, 7, 2011

Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella

Supreme Court of Canada

In 1929, overturning the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision that “Persons” in the constitution excluded women, Lord Sankey, on behalf of the Privy Council, directed the Court to interpret the Canadian constitution as a “living tree capable of growth and expansion”, and in a “large and liberal”, not a “narrow and technical” way. The Supreme Court of Canada has, in recent years, taken this direction very seriously in its interpretation of the Charter ofRights and Freedoms and has, as a result, reminded us of Isaiah Berlin’s aphorism that there is no pearl without some irritation in the oyster, since there is no doubt that this large and liberal interpretation has by now produced some large and liberal irritation.

Read more

Canadian lawyers must no longer investigate themselves and their friends.

Independent investigations of lawyer misconduct should be the standard.

It is no longer acceptable that the Canadian legal profession, that exerts vast influence and authority into every area of life, continues to self-regulate without transparency, independent civilian oversight and external accountability.

The powerful Canadian legal profession must be brought into compliance with modern standards of independent oversight and external accountability.

Are lawyers more honest than police officers… or are they also vulnerable to temptations and pressures?

For good reason, we don’t allow our police to operate without external oversight and accountability. The stories of police abuse, corruption and incompetence are legion – and in the last few years became a deluge as incidents are regularly documented with solid video and/or audio evidence from mobile phones, security and dashboard cameras.

Ontario and many other jurisdictions formed civilian investigative units to independently investigate serious police wrongdoing and to lay charges where appropriate.

And still, we have trouble holding the police accountable.

Unlike police officers, lawyers do not generally commit crimes in the street while surrounded by surveillance cameras and citizens wielding mobile phones.

Lawyer misconduct is often done in backrooms with a signature, a few words – or a wink and a nod that betray a small client in favour of a larger big-spending long-term corporate client.

The law societies across Canada are simply a group of friends investigating and ‘disciplining’ the same people they went to school with, socialize with and meet in the workplace and in court. That works out exactly as you think it would and it is never about the public trust no matter how many times the law society executives say the words.

The Law Society of Ontario covered up and whitewashed hundreds of crimes by lawyers who committed criminal offences against their clients – according to the Toronto Star’s Broken Trust investigation. I can’t think of why it would be different in any other province.

Canadians must demand laws that will force upon the legal profession real transparency, independent civilian oversight and external accountability to Canadians at large. Self-regulation of lawyers must end.

 

Law Society of Ontario calls for input into money laundering rules… Foxes designing hen house security

Money Laundering needs specialists

Lawyers are key to successful money laundering. That’s why the rules shouldn’t be left up to them.

During his acceptance speech as the co-winner of the 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity, journalist Rafael Marques de Morais said “(unethical) Lawyers are servants in the architecture of corruption.”

Indeed they are. Lawyers are very necessary servants in the architecture of corruption for without lawyers willing to assist their valued clients, money laundering would be much more difficult for organized crime, crooked politicians, cheating corporations and others so inclinded to wash and conceal money here in Canada or offshore.

With Canadian banks and other named businesses having to report to the government large cash transactions (deposits or withdrawals over $10,000 cash) and also suspicious transactions – lawyers are the go-to people for weaseling around the laws because they are largely exempt from the reporting rules and constraints of non-lawyers. Plus, lawyers have a vast array of creative tools and strategies available – not to mention an international brotherhood that is experienced in working around inconvenient laws.

After 9/11, Canadian lawyers fought hard to keep from being more closely regulated and scrutinized over the issue of money transfers. They succeeded for a time, but the pressure is on again.

“The Law Society ‘solution’ for preventing money laundering is to rely entirely upon the integrity of individual lawyers – with no accounting or oversight by the law society or anyone else unless a complaint is made. Given that those involved in money laundering would never complain to the law society, that wraps things up quite nicely.”

Law Society of Ontario calls for input into money laundering rules

Canadian lawyers admit they are in fear of “the possibility of a renewed effort by the federal government to extend the PCMLTFA (Proceeds of Crime – Money Laundering – and Terrorist Financing Act) to members of the legal profession.” (See page 2 of the Law Society of Ontario’s Call for Input – download 1mb pdf here.)

As a result, the law societies across Canada have banded together with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to present a little dog and pony show for the public and the legislators (who are primarily legal profession club members themselves.) The ‘club’ created a ‘Professional Regulation Committee’ and is calling for input from lawyers to the proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Rules.

A few minor changes coupled with a public relations campaign should do the trick… anything to stave off effective regulations that would cramp the profession’s ability to creatively serve the needs of their big-paying clients that they don’t want anyone to look at too closely.

You will note how the LSO proposal deals with transfers of cash, identifying and verifying clients and the use of lawyer’s trust accounts. A closer read shows that the proposed changes still leave lots of leeway and discretion to individual money-laundering lawyers. The money laundering toolbox is still intact with private mortgages, property transfers, offshore corporations and lots more tools still viable as lawyers’ secret conduits for tainted money.

Focus on Cash is a red herring.

The focus upon cash is a red herring for Canadian lawyers. Most of the money-laundering lawyers in Canada are not involved with large cash transactions through their own hands. By the time money arrives in their law firm accounts, it is coming through banks and from other lawyers in the form of documented transfers, real estate sales to apparent arms length parties and staged business dealings that have just enough appearance of legitimacy to protect the involved lawyers and law firms.

A Global Witness undercover investigation showed that 25% of New York lawyers would money-launder for strangers walking in off the streets. That was for strangers, not valued and known clients. Do we think that proportion of crooked lawyers is any different in Toronto, London or Barbados?

LSO Treasurer Paul Schabas (left) covered up fraud and money-laundering indicators for corrupt lawyer Gerald Ranking.

Law Society of Ontario Treasurer Paul Schabas knew that lawyer Gerald Ranking fraudulently used a fake business entity in Ontario courts, and that Ranking received a million dollars in a trust account for this phony purported client.

Intruding into this Law Society of Ontario dog and pony show are some serious facts that destroy the law society’s credibility to deal with apparent money-laundering by legal club member lawyers.

For instance, Law Society of Ontario Treasurer Paul Schabas was co-counsel with corrupt Fasken lawyer Gerald L. Ranking on a civil case where Ranking went wild with criminal misconduct. Schabas at the time was a bencher and a member of the law society’s discipline committee. (See ‘Paul Schabas and Canada’s Corrupt Bay Street Lawyers‘ for details and supporting court exhibits.)

What did Paul Schabas do when he learned that Gerald Ranking’s purported client in a civil case was actually a non-existent fictional creation?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch.

What did Law Society of Ontario bencher Paul Schabas do when he learned that Gerald Ranking had received about a million dollars in a trust account for his ficticious non-existent client?

Paul Schabas and his law society knew that lawyer Gerald Ranking of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s Toronto office fraudulently claimed that his purported client was a registered Barbados business – when in fact the ‘company’ was a phony non-entity conjured up to deflect liability from Ranking’s actual clients. Schabas and the law society also knew that Ranking received over a million dollars court costs payments in the name of the phony ‘company’ that Ranking knew didn’t really exist – a badge of money laundering.

What did Paul Schabas do when he knew that the million dollars could not possibly be deposited to the credit of the fake ‘business’ that the court awarded it to?

Nothing.

So you see… Law Society Treasurer Paul Shabas and the Law Society of Ontario cannot be trusted to administer, investigate and discipline lawyers who violate anti-money laundering rules, including the ‘know your client’ provisions.

And that was just one case. Here’s a few hundred more…

According to the Toronto Star’s Broken Trust investigation, in the last few years the Law Society of Ontario covered up and whitewashed hundreds of crimes by lawyers who committed criminal offences against their clients.

And now the Law Society of Ontario is proposing minor changes to the anti-money-laundering rules that will do little to stem the problem of money-laundering lawyers – the “servants in the architecture of corruption.”

It is time to bring Canada’s legal profession into compliance with modern standards of transparency, independent oversight and external accountability.

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