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What is Donald Best alleging in his lawsuit ‘Best v. Ranking et al’ ?

On July 18, 2014, Donald Best, a former Toronto Police Sergeant and undercover investigator, filed a $20 million dollar civil lawsuit in Barrie, Ontario, Canada alleging wrongdoing by various defendants; including some of Canada’s largest and most prestigious law firms, and three of Ontario’s police services: the Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police and Durham Regional Police.

In his Statement of Claim, Mr. Best alleges that he was convicted of Contempt of Civil Court ‘in absentia’ during a hearing that he was unaware of and not present for. Mr. Best alleges that this was a private prosecution, and that certain lawyers and their clients lied to the court in writing and orally on the record. The court used this fabricated evidence to convict Mr. Best, who spent 63 days in solitary confinement before another judge released him.

According to evidence filed in the case, Mr. Best has recordings of telephone conversations with the lawyers and police and other strong evidence that proves that lawyers and police lied to the court. It is also alleged that to date, no court has heard these recordings as the involved lawyers used procedure to prevent Mr. Best from appealing his conviction. The lawyers, police and other witnesses responsible for fabricating the false evidence and lying to the court have so far refused to be cross-examined. They also refused to submit sworn affidavits to refute the allegations in the Statement of Claim.

Mr. Best’s statement of claim also alleges:

“Certain defendants illegally employed and illegally paid a serving Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant, (Jim Van Allen), ‘on the side’ for illegal private investigations of the Plaintiff and for illegal access to police personnel, records and resources, and for the exercise of police powers and authorities outside of normal systems, procedures and jurisdictions, to benefit defendants in a civil lawsuit involving the Plaintiff’s corporation and to benefit them in proceedings in furtherance of costs against the Plaintiff, examination of the Plaintiff and a contempt order against the Plaintiff.”

None of the allegations has yet been proven in a court of law, and to our knowledge as of April 26, 2015 only one of the defendants has filed a Statement of Defence. Visitors to this website are encouraged to examine the legal documents and other evidence posted here and to make up their own minds about the civil lawsuit known as ‘Donald Best v. Gerald Ranking et al’. (Superior Court of Justice, Central East Region: Barrie, Court File No. 14-0815)

The full Statement of Claim issued July 18, 2014 can be downloaded in PDF format right here:

20140718 Statement of Claim ‘Best v. Ranking et al’  (pdf 1.3mb)

Who are the Defendants?

The following persons and entities are listed as defendants in the Statement of Claim: 

  • Gerald Lancaster Rex Ranking (lawyer Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP)
  • Sebastien Jean Kwidzinski (lawyer Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP)
  • Lorne Stephen Silver (lawyer Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP)
  • Colin David Pendrith (lawyer Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP)
  • Paul Barker Schabas (lawyer Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP)
  • Andrew John Roman (lawyer formerly with Miller Thomson LLP)
  • Ma’anit Tzipora Zemel (lawyer formerly with Miller Thomson LLP)
  • Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP (law firm)
  • Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP (law firm)
  • Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (law firm)
  • Miller Thomson LLP (law firm)
  • Kingsland Estates Limited (Barbados corporation)
  • Richard Ivan Cox (Barbados)
  • Eric Iain Stewart Deane (England)
  • Marcus Andrew Hatch (Barbados)
  • Philip St. Eval Atkinson (Barbados)
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean (Barbados)
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Peel Regional Police
  • Durham Regional Police Service
  • Marty Kearns (Police officer, OPP)
  • Jeffery R. Vibert (Police officer, OPP)
  • George Dmytruk (Police officer, Durham)
  • Laurie Rushbrook (Police officer, Durham)
  • James (Jim) Arthur Van Allen (former Police officer, OPP)
  • Behavioural Science Solutions Group Inc. (Ontario corporation)
  • Tamara Jean Williamson (Probation officer, Ontario)
  • Investigative Solutions Network Inc. (Ontario corporation)
  • Toronto Police Association

Is it true that Mr. Best filed for Trial by a Jury of ordinary citizens rather than by judge alone?

Yes, it is true. The Jury Notice can be downloaded in PDF format here.

Why do the legal documents posted here have redactions?

Each of the court documents available at DonaldBest.ca has already been filed in the courts as part of the Donald Best v. Gerald Ranking et al lawsuit or in Best’s original contempt of court case. Each has been redacted to remove personal information and ‘Identity Information’ as defined in Section 402.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada (i.e.: address, date of birth, written signature, electronic signature, digital signature, user name, credit card number, debit card number, financial institution account number, passport number, Social Insurance Number, health insurance number, driver’s licence number or password.)

Under Section 402.2 (2), “Everyone commits an offence who transmits, makes available, distributes, sells or offers for sale another person’s identity information, or has it in their possession for any of those purposes, knowing that or being reckless as to whether the information will be used to commit an indictable offence that includes fraud, deceit or falsehood as an element of the offence.”

It is the opinion of several senior lawyers, including a Crown Attorney, that distributing or publishing Identity Information such as dates of birth, driver’s licence numbers, passport numbers etc. to the public via the internet or any other means is reckless, places persons at risk of Identity Theft, Fraud and similar offences, and therefore constitutes a criminal offence in Canada under Section 402.2 (2).

We have worked diligently and responsibly to redact all Identity Information from the court documents published at DonaldBest.ca. Should you find any inadvertent omissions:

  1. Do not further distribute the document. Immediately delete or otherwise destroy the document.
  2. Contact DonaldBest.ca immediately via email at info@donaldbest.ca and inform us specifically of the Identity Information that needs to be redacted. (Document name, page number, paragraph or passage and Identity Information)
  3. We will correct the mistake by redacting the Identity Information, and reposting the corrected document at DonaldBest.ca, along with a public notice of the change.

What documents and evidence are available here concerning ‘Best v. Ranking et al’ ?

We urge our readers to fully examine the source court documents before forming any opinions, and that is why we are making them available here: Court Evidence

Is the Law Society of Upper Canada aware of Mr. Best’s allegations and evidence, including the secret telephone recordings?

Yes. In November 2012 Mr. Best wrote detailed letters to both the CEO and Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Robert G.W. Lapper Q.C. and Thomas G. Conway, asking for assistance in retaining a lawyer. The letters also contained allegations of criminal and other offences by Ontario lawyers.

Mr. Best explained his predicament to Mr. Lapper and Mr. Conway thus:

“Several lawyers recommended that I contact the two of you at the Law Society of Upper Canada for assistance because the special circumstances of my case are deterring lawyers from representing me.

The difficulty I am experiencing in finding a lawyer stems from the fact that I have a voice recording of my telephone conversation with two Ontario lawyers that, according to several experienced and senior counsel, proves the lawyers advertently misled the Court both in writing and orally.

I was subsequently convicted of civil contempt in absentia upon this (false) evidence created and submitted to the court by the two lawyers. In his reasons for my conviction, the judge specifically mentioned that he was relying upon the evidence of the two lawyers: their version of what was said in a phone call versus my version. My voice recording proves the evidence upon which I was convicted of civil contempt was a fabrication by the two lawyers.”

and “Some of the junior and senior lawyers I have spoken with were very forthright and told me that they cannot go against the big law firms because they receive work from them. Some have told me they work daily in the same professional or personal circles as the lawyers and firms who oppose me, and they cannot in these circumstances bring evidence or a motion that would harm the careers of the other lawyers.

One very senior civil lawyer told me “All lawyers lie. Live with it. Get over it.” Obviously I did not retain this man.

I am getting rather desperate because no experienced civil lawyer appears ready to take my case and I have approached dozens.”

Copies of Mr. Best’s letters to the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the response he received are available here:

20121128 LSUC Best Letters  (PDF 489kb)

There are some allegations in the Best v. Ranking et al Statement of Claim that the Law Society of Upper Canada may or may not be aware of, but as LSUC has not contacted Mr. Best or his lawyer over any of the allegations we have no way of knowing. It is noteworthy that one of the defendants, Paul Barker Schabas, is a ‘Bencher’ with the law society. Presumably Mr. Schabas would keep the LSUC informed.

Did the Law Society of Upper Canada assist Mr. Best to find a lawyer?

Over 100 Ontario lawyers refused to represent Donald Best, once they learned that Best had voice recordings that proved several lawyers lied to the Court. Many of the lawyers wished Mr. Best well, but stated they had conflicts of interest and/or that they were reluctant to take on a case that would damage the careers of other lawyers.

After explaining his situation and asking the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) for assistance in finding a lawyer, Mr. Best received a form letter from the LSUC that is included with the ’20121128 LSUC Best Letters’ PDF. The sum total of ‘assistance’ received from the LSUC is described in Mr. Best’s November 30, 2012 letter. Essentially the Law Society of Upper Canada and its CEO and Treasurer responded to Mr. Best’s letters with a form letter, but no real assistance at all.

In the end, over 100 Ontario lawyers refused to represent Mr. Best, the Law Society of Upper Canada provided no assistance in finding a lawyer, and Mr. Best was forced to represent himself while facing a three month jail sentence.

Did the Law Society of Upper Canada investigate Mr. Best’s allegations, examine the court evidence or listen to the secret recordings?

To Mr. Best’s knowledge, the Law Society of Upper Canada did not initiate an investigation into his allegations, and has not secured or examined any of the court evidence, or evidence at the law firms, or listened to the secret recordings. The LSUC has never approached Mr. Best or his lawyer about any of the evidence or allegations.

However, visitors to DonaldBest.CA can examine the evidence, listen to the secret November 17, 2009 recordings, read what the lawyers told the Court on December 2, 2009 and make up their own minds as to the truth. As we work to post additional court evidence, visitors to DonaldBest.CA will soon be able to consider evidence relating to other issues and allegations detailed in Mr. Best’s filed Statement of Claim in ‘Best v. Ranking et al’.

What are the allegations against the Police Services and individual police officers?

The complete answer to that question will be posted here soon. Some of the allegations can be found in two DonaldBest.CA articles. Here are some excerpts:

“According to Best’s lawsuit, James (Jim) Arthur Van Allen was a Detective Sergeant in charge of the elite Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Criminal Profiling Unit when lawyer Gerald Ranking of Fasken, Martineau DuMoulin LLP paid Van Allen $2,699.93 to illegally investigate Best and provide the results to Ranking and other lawyers and their clients”

“(Senior police officers in the Professional Standards Units) knew that the Plaintiff (Best) was facing 3 months in jail, and was in hearings before Justice Shaughnessy in January through May, 2013. They knew that Van Allen’s affidavit was illegal and deceptive, and that the court had used the Van Allen evidence to convict the Plaintiff. They knew that neither the court nor the Plaintiff was aware that Van Allen had been a serving police officer at the time he investigated the Plaintiff and swore the affidavit. They knew that the court had been deceived.”

“They knew or should have known that the truth about Van Allen was vital evidence to the Court in considering a just outcome in the Plaintiff’s contempt of court hearing. They knew, or should have known that had the Court been aware of the truth about Van Allen, his deceptive affidavit and improper secret police investigation of the Plaintiff, that the Court might not have convicted the Plaintiff in 2010, and might set him free in 2013. The police deliberately withheld this important evidence from both the Plaintiff and the Court.”

See Civil lawsuit alleges Canadian police expertise, information and resources illegally sold to major law firms

And (Legally Made) Secret Recording: Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen retired in 2010, not 2008. The lie that put an innocent man in jail.

What evidence is there that PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm is a fraudulent, non-existent entity?

Why would someone invent a false business name and pretend to the court that it was legitimate?

The answers can be found in our post Lawsuit claim: Faskens lawyer Gerald Ranking knowingly represented a phoney business entity, lied to the Supreme Court of Canada

If Mr. Best’s allegations are true, the Ontario Superior Court ordered that almost a million dollars be paid to a phoney business named ‘PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm’. What happened to the million dollars that was paid? Where did the money really end up? Is this money laundering?

Excellent questions all. As Mr. Best pointed out in his cross-examination, wherever the million dollars ended up, it wasn’t in a bank account held by any fictitious fraudulent non-entity called ‘PricewaterhouseCoopers East Caribbean Firm’. Is that money laundering? That’s a good legal question worthy of consideration by the courts and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Is it true that Mr. Best alleges that anonymous, threatening and harassing emails were sent from the Toronto office of Miller Thomson LLP law firm to his witnesses? Is there strong forensic evidence of this?

Yes, Mr. Best alleges that anonymous, threatening and harassing emails were sent to his witnesses from the Toronto office of the Miller Thomson LLP law firm as early as 2004. At that time people were generally not aware that sending anonymous emails and other internet activities left trails of electronic evidence. Some of the forensic evidence about this misconduct by Miller Thompson LLP law office personnel is posted on DonaldBest.CA here (PDF 424kb) and here (PDF 2mb).

Does the Law Society of Upper Canada know about the Miller Thomson LLP anonymous threats to witnesses?

Yes. On November 28, 2012 Donald Best notified the CEO of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Robert G.W. Lapper, Q.C.,  and the Treasurer Thomas G. Conway, via a letter filed as evidence here (PDF 489kb).

In his letter to the LSUC, Mr. Best said:

“Anonymous threats to witnesses from Miller Thomson LLP computers

There is also strong forensic evidence that a series of threatening and harassing anonymous emails to my witnesses originated from the computer systems of one of the involved large Toronto law firms (Miller Thomson), starting in at least 2004 and carrying on for many years. There is strong documentary evidence that the Miller Thomson law firm was provided with this evidence in writing in 2009 and 2010, yet the firm’s lawyer, Mr. Andrew Roman, withheld the evidence from the judge during my case: all the while arguing that his client and firm were not involved.”

Donald Best also provided additional evidence about the misconduct of Miller Thomson LLP law firm personnel in his April 18, 2012 and January 10, 2013 affidavits. (Not yet posted on SolidCase.CA)

What did the Law Society of Upper Canada do regarding the evidence of threats to Donald Best’s witnesses that originated from the Miller Thomson LLP law firm? Did the LSUC seize evidence from Miller Thomson LLP’s computers? What happened?

To our knowledge, the Law Society of Upper Canada did nothing to preserve or examine the evidence that Miller Thomson personnel made anonymous threats to Mr. Best’s witnesses, and that lawyer Andrew Roman withheld his knowledge of this from the court.

Why did the Law Society of Upper Canada not seize and investigate Miller Thomson’s computer data when the evidence of misconduct was strong and documented by two independent computer forensic examiners?

We have no idea. Your guess is as good as ours.