Cassels Brock law firm motto “A Law Unto Ourselves” under a bird of prey

What elitism. What arrogance. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read Cassels Brock’s motto on the law firm’s website* at ‘student.casselsbrock.com‘ : “A Law Unto Ourselves”

As a reminder, here’s what the phrase means… “One who ignores laws or rules”

Law firm logo… or motorcycle gang tattoo?

The bird of prey logo looks like a biker’s tattoo. (Law firms’ birds of prey eat clients and their bank accounts, right? The logo and motto must be quite the inside joke at Cassels Brock.)

You just can’t make stuff like this up. It’s wild that a major Canadian law firm would choose and publish on their website such an offensive motto and bird of prey biker tattoo – er, logo. But they did.

Maybe it’s an insider thing for partners, lawyers and law students. Somehow, I don’t think that clients are supposed to know about the motto, the logo and how Cassels Brock truly views the legal profession, itself, or clients.

And right at the bottom of the page: © 2017 CASSELS BROCK & BLACKWELL LLP.

(And to the Cassels Brock management committee; there was no need to copyright the tattoo. Really, I guarantee no other professional law firm is going to steal it. Then again, these are probably the kind of people who block their lawyers and employees from visiting DonaldBest.ca. See: Major Toronto Law Firms block employee visits to DonaldBest.CA)

Senior Partner Lorne S. Silver lied to the court, fabricated evidence

Perhaps their “A Law Unto Ourselves” motto explains the corporate culture at the Cassels Brock law firm – a culture where a senior partner’s misconduct is ignored even when it entails criminal offenses like perjury, fabricating evidence and obstructing justice.

For instance, Cassels Brock senior partner Lorne S. Silver (above) fabricated evidence and lied to the court orally and in writing. He even took an interest in a young articling student and taught him how to lie to the court too.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the detailed articles, listen to the secretly made voice recordings, examine the evidence and court exhibits – and make up your own mind.  Read more

Mike Sweet and Eddie Adamson died together – 25 years apart.

Eddie Adamson & Michael Sweet

It was 37 years ago today that my station-mate Mike Sweet was shot down by the Munro brothers during a robbery at a Queen Street bar in Toronto’s downtown. As Mike lay bleeding out on the floor begging for mercy, the murderous Munroe thugs did more heroin and taunted the police officers surrounding the building. They threatened to kill Mike if anyone approached.

They tortured Mike. The press went easy on those details to spare the family and to not inflame potential jury members.

Outside stood Eddie Adamson and his ETF Emergency Task Force team – yanking at their leashes to go in and rescue Mike.

Senior Officers on scene gave orders for Eddie and his squad to stand down. For over an hour everyone listened to Mike dying; crying, screaming, begging. Then just low moans. Then silence.

The men were outraged at the idiocy of the senior officers who wanted to ‘negotiate’ while Mike was bleeding out. Some were crying. In frustration, one officer smashed out a car window with the butt of his shotgun.

Still the senior officers ordered no action. They held a press conference while Mike lay dying…

And in the middle of that press conference, Eddie Adamson and his ETF breached the building, shot the hell out of Craig and Jamie Munroe, while some of the uniform guys dragged Mike up the stairs and to the hospital.

But it was too late for Mike. The Munroe brothers lived because they were jacked up on drugs. My friends could have been excused for finishing off each Munro with a shot to the head – but – they were disciplined police officers who served the rule of law first even in this horrific situation. It must have taken every bit of self-control and discipline to not murder the Munroes.

If I had been there in that basement, I might have murdered them.

Haunted like all of us, but perhaps worse because of his rank, twenty-five years later Eddie Adamson rented a hotel room, spread out newspaper articles about Mike, put his pistol into his mouth and pulled the trigger. The Munroe brothers taunted Eddie and his family from prison both before and after his death.

Eddie was right. We should have gone in way sooner no matter what the idiots in charge said.

And therein is the lesson of March 14, 1980: When authority is wrong, disobey and do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences. All the brass hat senior police officers and dignified second-guessing judges won’t bring back Mike or Eddie.

May God bless both of them, and their families.

 

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

SHOCKER: Police secret investigation collected evidence of misconduct by Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

 

Why are police investigating the Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision? There are only a few possibilities – all troubling and some illegal.

Was Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy the target of the police investigation? Chief of Police refuses comment.

Durham Regional Police launched a secret investigation soon after Toronto lawyer Paul Slansky filed an Application for a Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision regarding Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.

Internet records and correspondence with Chief of Police Paul Martin reveal that from at least May 31 to June 21, 2016, multiple Durham Regional Police investigators spent many days examining and downloading electronic evidence and legal documents filed in support of a judicial misconduct complaint by Donald Best against Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.

Police investigators also collected evidence supporting Donald Best’s Application for Judicial Review of the CJC decision. At least three police investigators worked at the same time using different computers and mobile devices in a major investigation that lasted almost a month.

Several police sources and former law enforcement personnel (including this writer) confirm that this was a major deployment of investigative resources by the Durham Regional Police.

Police Detectives accidentally exposed major investigation

The secret investigation was discovered because the police detectives were apparently unaware that their computers were connected to the Internet through an ‘assigned Internet Protocol number’ that is registered to the Durham Regional Police. (IP number 66.163.5.113)

The police detectives were also apparently unaware that visitor records of the targeted website, DonaldBest.CA, would show their Durham Regional Police origin, the type of computer or other device used, operating system version, screen resolution, physical location & postal code, browser program version, Internet service provider, visitor activities, visitor history and much more.

Hide My Ass VPN Service

Durham Regional Police adopt ‘Hide My Ass’ VPN

After Best’s lawyer Paul Slansky wrote a letter of concern to Chief of Police Paul Martin on June 15, 2016, police detectives started using the ‘Hide My Ass’ VPN virtual private network service to disguise their activities. This is a paid service, so either the Durham Regional Police or an individual police detective purchased a ‘Hide My Ass’ account in an attempt to conceal the ongoing investigation.

The police failed to correctly configure their ‘Hide My Ass’ software. As a result the DonaldBest.CA website administrator was still able to identify Durham Regional Police computers and document the continuing investigation. During the same time frame, many similar visits were traced to an IP number assigned to The Regional Municipality of Durham.

Chief of Police Paul Martin

Durham Regional Chief of Police stonewalls questions

Lawyer Paul Slansky’s letter to Chief Martin included evidence of the police investigation, asked for an explanation and confirmation that the investigation was official and authorized. (Letter and attachments available below.)

Mr. Slansky wrote to Chief Martin:

“My client is concerned about why this is taking place. He has committed no crime. Why is the DRPS investigating him or his website? He feels intimidated by these actions. In light of the past ‘off the record’ investigation* by the DRPS, that he was advised of by Detective Rushbrook, my client is concerned that this may not be an official DRPS investigation.”

Chief of Police Paul Martin stonewalled Best’s lawyer and refused to provide any information at all. The Chief’s Executive Officer simply replied:

“Your client’s public website is easily accessible by any individual who wishes to view it. No further response to your letter will be provided.”

CJC Executive Director Norman Sabourin

Who ordered the police investigation of a Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision – and under what authority?

Was the intent of the police investigation to impact, interfere with or subvert the Judicial Review? Was the intent to intimidate a CJC complainant and his lawyer?

Was Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy the actual target of the police investigation?

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

There is no doubt that the Durham Regional Police initiated a secret investigation after Best’s lawyer served and filed an Application for a Federal Court Judicial Review of the decision of the Canadian Judicial Council regarding Donald Best’s complaint about the misconduct of Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.

Best’s Application for a Judicial Review seems to have been the catalyst for the police investigation as for almost a year previously the DonaldBest.CA website published many articles about Justice Shaughnessy, his involvement in Best’s civil case and the CJC complaint against him. It was only when the Application for a Judicial Review was filed that the Durham Regional Police initiated their investigation.

Troubling Questions

  • What is the true purpose of the Durham Regional Police investigation? What were the investigation goals? How were the results intended to be used, and by whom?
  • Was Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy the target of the police investigation? Was the investigation assigned to the Durham Regional Police because they are the local agency in Oshawa where Justice Shaughnessy usually sits?
  • Who ordered the investigation and under what authority in law?
  • Who knew about the investigation?
  • Who received reports or briefings about the police investigation?
  • What were the results of the police investigation?
  • Which senior police officers authorized this major deployment of investigative resources?
  • Was this an official investigation with an occurrence number, document trail and retention of records? Or, was it an improper backroom use of police resources for a private purpose as happened previously in 2009 & 2010 as already documented in court records of Donald Best’s civil case?*
  • What government and police databases were accessed during the investigation? What information was exchanged with other agencies and law enforcement agencies? Were other law enforcement agencies involved?
  • Were Crown prosecutors consulted?

Parties served with the Application for the Judicial Review:

  • Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy
  • Attorney General of Ontario
  • Attorney General of Canada for the Canadian Judicial Council.

Did any of the served parties overstep their authority in ordering a police investigation?

Did anyone intend that the Durham Region Police investigation would be used to impact, undermine or subvert the Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision – or to intimidate the complainant Donald Best or his lawyer Paul Slansky?

Who ordered the Police Secret Investigation? Some Possibilities…

Attorney General of Canada (AGC)
Canadian Judicial Council, Director Norman Sabourin

The first thought that occurs to this writer is that if the Attorney General of Canada or the Canadian Judicial Council wanted to use the police to conduct a secret investigation, they would naturally turn to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP is our national police service, and is headquartered in Ottawa near the AGC and the CJC.

On the other hand, either the AGC or the CJC could have requested an investigation by the Durham Regional Police – which is the local police service in Oshawa where Justice Shaughnessy usually sits.

If, however, the AGC or the CJC did order the police investigation, this raises extensive ethical and legal questions about the limits of each entity’s authority and mandate.

Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG)

As with the federal Attorney General, it seems reasonable that if the MAG wanted to order a police investigation of the Judicial Review, of Justice Shaughnessy or of the complainant to the CJC, Donald Best, that the MAG would have turned first to their own policing organization, the Ontario Provincial Police.

The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General declared during a preliminary motion that it acts as Justice Shaughnessy’s personal lawyer, and not for the people of Ontario in this case. This again raises extensive ethical and legal questions if the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General ordered the Durham Regional Police to conduct an investigation where the results could potentially be used in support of Justice Shaughnessy or to potentially impact the Judicial Review, the complainant or his lawyer in any manner.

Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

If Justice Shaughnessy, upon learning of the Judicial Review of the Canadian Judicial Council’s decision regarding a complaint of misconduct against himself, ordered or caused the Durham Regional Police to investigate the Judicial Review, the complaint, the complainant or his lawyer – is this an abuse of position, against any law or established ethics, guidelines or conflict of interest rules for judges?

I would be very interested in hearing from legal scholars as to the boundaries of proper behaviour for a judge, the CJC, the MAG and AGC in this case where it is proven that the Durham Regional Police conducted a major investigation concerning a judicial review.

About the only thing that we know for sure is that the Durham Regional Police secretly conducted a major investigation shortly after lawyer Paul Slansky filed an Application for a Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision about a complaint of misconduct against Justice Shaughnessy.

As to who ordered the investigation and its purpose, the police know – but they aren’t talking.

Paul Slansky’s letter and Chief Martin’s reply

June 15, 2016 Slansky letter to Chief Martin (PDF 379kb)

June 30, 2016 Durham Regional Police response letter (PDF 140kb)

Donald Best’s Complaint of Misconduct against Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

See this article: Affidavit filed in action against Canadian Judicial Council, Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Previous Unofficial Police Investigations

*In 2009 a Durham Regional Police officer conducted an unauthorized and probably illegal ‘on the side’ investigation of Donald Best, apparently to assist defendants in a civil case where Best’s corporation was the plaintiff.

Read: Canadian Police Expertise, Information and Resources illegally sold to major law firms.

Photo Credits

‘Hide My Ass’ logo courtesy of Privax Ltd. / HideMyAss.com

Durham Regional Police logo & Chief Paul Martin released to the public domain in unrestricted DRPS Annual Report.

Public domain photo of Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy has been modified to remove others in the background and is a new work by Donald Best. The photo has been included to put context to the article. It’s use is the same as many Canadian news outlets that continue to publish photos of many Superior Court Justices who were or are under investigation by the CJC and other authorities.

Norman Sabourin, CJC Executive Director photo courtesy of The Lawyers Weekly

Colin Perkel – Toronto Star fake news hit piece targets lawyer Paul Slansky

Hired Gun Hit-Piece Journalist Colin Perkel

Colin Perkel’s new Toronto Star hit-piece targeting lawyer Paul Slansky contains such deliberately limited information that it can only be called fake news.

It is a real shame to see a career journalist like Colin Perkel writing agenda-driven propaganda at the behest of his corporate masters – when he must know that he is being used to deliver half-truths in furtherance of a cover-up of criminal behaviour by senior Ontario lawyers.

After his first hit-piece against my lawyer Paul Slansky, published June 21, 2016, Perkel did not reply to my offers to be interviewed.

At the same time, persons using the Toronto Star computer network downloaded from my website; court documents, audio files and exhibits that conclusively prove that Toronto lawyers Lorne Silver, Gerald Ranking and Sebastien Kwidzinski lied to the courts to convict me in absentia (while I was out of the country and unaware of the proceeding) of contempt of civil court.

Junior lawyer Sebastien Kwidzinski and senior Ontario lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver deliberately lied to the courts.

The DonaldBest.CA articles that the Toronto Star reporters read also documented (supported by sworn affidavits and court transcripts) that no judge and no court has ever listened to the voice recordings that prove that I was convicted and jailed upon the deliberate lies, perjury and deception of corrupt Toronto lawyers Lorne Silver, Gerald Ranking and Sebastien Kwidzinski.

The judges who never listened to my audio recordings include Justice Susan Healey – whose comments Perkel loves to selectively quote in his articles. Perkel knows that truth, but the truth is not included in his commissioned hit-piece:

Justice Susan Healey made her decision and comments based upon the court record that excluded the voice recordings and other irrefutable evidence of illegal acts by the named lawyers.

Read more

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

Does Your Lawyer have a Criminal Record? That’s possible in Ontario, Canada.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Welcome to the Province of Ontario – where convicted pedophiles and proven thieves meet the ‘Good Character’ standard for licensing by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Yet another convicted and jailed pedophile has been approved to continue as a licensed Ontario lawyer practicing in the area of ‘Family Law’.

Senior lawyer Martin Schulz will be allowed to continue to practice family law – despite being sentenced to 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography. The Crown prosecutor dropped more serious charges as part of a plea bargain.

Schulz had hundreds of child sex photos and movies on his computer. Think of the ruined lives, the devastation, the pain of these little children – but the Law Society Tribunal decided about Schulz:

“We find no reasonable grounds for believing that a significant risk of harm to members of the public exists.”

September 14, 2016 Decision of Law Tribunal members Sabita Maraj, Susan T. McGrath (chair), Frederika ‘Freddy’ M. Rotter.

The tribunal found that Schulz could continue to practice family law with a restriction that he could not represent children and would not be alone with any person under the age of 18 years old.

As a spokesperson for the Law Society stated, a past criminal record – even for child sexual assault – doesn’t preclude someone from receiving a licence to practice law.

If that is the law society standard, then that is the standard. After all… lawyers alone regulate and set the standards for the legal profession.

The lesson for the Ontario public is this:

Your lawyer might have a criminal record. The Law Society won’t tell you… and you probably won’t know.

And, as was shown in the recent Toronto Star ‘Broken Trust’ investigation of the law society, your lawyer might be one of the hundreds of lawyers who in the past few years committed serious criminal offenses against their clients, but were never charged because the law society covered it up.

Law Society Tribunal members who approved licensing of pedophile Martin Schultz: (L-R) Sabita Maraj, Susan T. McGrath (chair), Frederika 'Freddy' M. Rotter.

Law Society Tribunal members who approved licensing of pedophile Martin Schultz: (L-R) Sabita Maraj, Susan T. McGrath (chair), Frederika ‘Freddy’ M. Rotter.

What are the Law Society’s senior benchers and Tribunal thinking to allow convicted pedophiles and other persons with criminal records to practice as lawyers? Have they lost touch with reality? They have certainly lost touch with Canadians.

By continuing to license persons with criminal records, and by covering up hundreds of crimes and other acts of wrongdoing by lawyers – the Law Society of Upper Canada is seriously undermining the reputation of Ontario’s legal profession.

For more, watch the above video and read these past articles at DonaldBest.CA:

Time for Independent Oversight of Canada’s legal profession

Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada approved & licensed known pedophile to be children’s lawyer – with predictable results.

Here is the Martin Schulz decision of the Law Society Tribunal (download pdf)

More to this story than being told: Toronto Police clerk charged with illegally accessing confidential files

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Toronto Police

In 1985, my squad executed a search warrant at the home of a member of organized crime and discovered that Chinatown’s Luen Kung Lok Triad gang was receiving confidential Toronto Police Intelligence Bureau surveillance reports shortly after they were filed – sometimes within hours of the report creation.

In that case, corrupt Toronto Police personnel were making thousands of dollars a month providing outsiders with illegal access to police information, resources and investigative techniques.

I was one of four officers quietly inserted into 52 Plainclothes squad with secret orders from Chief Marks to put a stop to the corruption. We worked in a station of several hundred police officers who were not aware of our undercover mission.

We spent almost a year pretending to be corrupt –  taking bribes, enjoying free meals, free booze and partying with organized crime while secretly recording everything for the big takedown.

We had to bring our own ‘girlfriends’ to the parties because otherwise it would look suspicious when we refused the gang offers of women. Our ‘girlfriends’ and ‘squad groupies’ were, of course, undercover female police officers playing the role. Although Julian Fantino (who went on to become Chief of Police and then Associate Minister of Defense) briefly covered the investigation in his biography ‘Duty’ – the project deserves it’s own book. I’ll put that on my do list.

Here is an October 26, 1988 Toronto Star report of one of the trials in that case. You’ll note that accused Wilson Wong named two Toronto Police “friends” at 52 Division (downtown) who “are no longer on the Metro force”. Yes, there is still lots to be told about Project Winky. (click photo for large)

1988-wong-trial-sml-private

Here we are thirty years later and the quest to illegally access and benefit from confidential police information continues.

Toronto Police yesterday charged a civilian employee with a total of 24 crimes involving illegal access to police databases, saying that the searches made by the accused, Erin Maranan 28 years old of Thornhill, Ontario, were not for “official police business”. (Toronto Star Toronto Police forensics clerk charged with illegally accessing files)

I only know what I’ve read in the news media, and the court has imposed a publication ban on the proceedings – but that doesn’t stop us from making some informed observations and analysis of the available information.

Much more to this case than presently being told

This case is possibly much more than a civilian employee looking up background on her lover or her husband’s mistress. Some indicators:

  • The accused worked as a clerk in the Forensic Identification Service. As such, she had access to special databases and information that are not even directly accessible to most police officers. She might even have had the ability to alter information. The duties of a forensic cleck include “processing, searching, comparing and identifying fingerprints for crime-scene identification and criminal record purposes, providing professional photographic and digital imaging services to all units, and maintaining section files.”
  • The accused is also charged with personation – pretending to be someone else to gain a benefit. I speculate that this involves logging into the system as another police employee, perhaps even as a police officer. As an alternative, she could have been accessing Identity Information and commiting fraud.
  • The accused is charged with perjury, although we don’t know under what circumstances. That is serious business – a straight indictable criminal offence with a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
  • The accused is charged with 23 counts of Breach of Trust between February and September 2014. Whatever the circumstances, this means that her actions were planned, not spontaneous, and that she knew she was committing a series of criminal offences.

It is good to see the Professional Standards Unit of the Toronto Police taking this illegal access to confidential police data by an employee most seriously.

Former OPP Detective Jim Van Allen

Former OPP Detective Jim Van Allen

This is a different response than taken by the Ontario Provincial Police when one of their senior Detective Sergeants illegally worked as a private investigator for clients that included suspects in the threatening of witnesses. In that disgusting case involving now-retired Detective Sergeant James (Jim) Van Allen, the OPP Professional Standards Unit covered up and whitewashed lawbreaking by their long-time colleague. (See Canadian police expertise, information and resources illegally sold to major law firms)

Allard Prize winners know that fighting corruption is a dangerous business

You can do something important in the fight against corruption.

At zero risk to yourself and to your family… YOU can nominate a candidate for the Allard Prize for International Integrity

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

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.

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… that takes more than integrity. It takes courage.

Courage: that is where most good people fail the test.

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.

Please watch my latest video, and then do your part to fight corruption. You can nominate a candidate for the Allard Prize for International Integrity – one of the world’s most prestigious and richest prizes for anti-corruption and integrity.

Here is the online prize criteria and nomination form.

Time for Independent Oversight of Canada’s legal profession

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

In a previous article, I told how Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada licensed a known pedophile to practice Child Protection Law – with predictable results. (You can read that article right here.)

What were the Law Society’s senior benchers thinking to do such a thing? Have they lost touch with reality? How did they suppose ordinary Canadians would perceive this? Did they not consider the welfare of the children who would be exposed to this pedophile lawyer?

Or… was the Law Society of Upper Canada so completely embraced with a sense of entitlement and superiority that duty to the public trust simply never entered the equation? I suspect that was the case – and remains so today.

I’ve expanded upon that theme in my first ‘op-ed’ video production to call for independent oversight of Canada’s legal profession. In the video I contrast how Canadians impose independent oversight and external accountability upon the police (with good reason) – yet we continue to allow our legal profession to regulate itself in the face of mounting evidence that this arrangement is not working out – to put it mildly.

Now don’t get me wrong here… the vast majority of Canada’s lawyers and judges do their best every day to deliver the best justice they can within the rules, laws and system that we have. And thank g*d that they do, because we have all the examples we need in some other countries to see what an entirely corrupt system does to individuals.

To borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill… Canada’s justice system is the worst – except for all the others.

And yet; increasingly, ordinary Canadians see that the power and authority (two entirely different concepts) conferred upon our lawyers and judges is too often abused or in the least, misapplied for reasons that range from overwhelmed, under-resourced courts to disturbing incidents of corruption and coverups at all levels.

Among the the rank and file of Canada’s legal profession, there has developed a distinct lack of courage to do the right thing.

Ordinary Canadians see a legal profession that once was the champion of Rule of Law now reduced to padding time dockets to meet Bay Street rents.

Canadian lawyers acknowledge that Ontario has a special problem

In the last two years as I expanded my advocacy for Self-Represented Litigants, I’ve spoken to many lawyers, Crown Attorneys and even a few judges/retired judges across Canada – right from Newfoundland through the Maritimes, into Quebec, onto the prairies and to our West Coast.

It is a fair comment to say that the general reputation of Ontario’s lawyers and the Law Society of Upper Canada is not exactly stellar in the eyes of many legal professionals outside of the province. In a phrase, the major Toronto law firms’ culture of ‘big money and big politics’ is viewed with disdain even in small Ontario communities.

But the systemic faults of the legal profession that are magnified in Big Law Ontario are not absent from other provinces.

Throughout Canada, lawyers are regulated, investigated and disciplined by the same people they went to law school with, the same people they work with and the same people they attend office parties and BBQs with.

Across Canada, when it comes to the legal profession, there is…

  • No independent oversight.
  • No independent investigations of lawyer misconduct.
  • No external accountability.
  • No transparency.

A growing legacy of scandals, cover-ups and whitewash means that it is time for independent investigations of lawyer misconduct in the short term – with the long term goal of bringing modern concepts of independent oversight to legal professionals who, like the police, have tremendous individual and group authority and power, with the attendant potential for abuse.

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

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