Lawyers Lorne Silver & Jessica Zagar gave directly opposing evidence to the court that sent Donald Best to jail. Whose version was true?

“Lawyer Jessica Zagar, as an Officer of the Court, swore that Lorne Silver personally attended at two law firms and selected the documents. Silver, as an Officer of the Court, formally stated on the record that he did not attend at the law firms or select the documents.”

Cassels Brock & Blackwell lawyer Jessica Zagar swears that her fellow senior lawyer Lorne Silver attended at two law offices on two separate dates and selected certain documents to be used as evidence before the Ontario Superior Court. Mr. Silver denies doing so, and he officially denied it on the record during Contempt of Court hearings against plaintiff Donald Best.

What is the truth? Did lawyer Lorne Silver attend the law offices and select the documents or not?

Why might Mr. Silver falsely deny attending the law offices and selecting the documents?

Former Toronto Police Sergeant Donald Best in his Statement of Claim (1.3mb PDF) filed in Barrie, Ontario Canada, alleges that on January 15, 2010, he was convicted of ‘Civil contempt of Court’ in absentia (in his absence) and sentenced to prison on the basis of false evidence presented to the Court by lawyers, including defendants Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver. The Statement of Claim also alleges that after his conviction, the defendants continued placing false and misleading evidence and information before the courts, and continued with other misconduct and crimes against the Plaintiff.

This article examines only one of the many alleged wrongdoings.

This specific alleged wrongdoing involves two different versions of evidence placed before the court concerning how certain privileged documents were selected as evidence from the files of Orillia law firm Crawford, McLean, Anderson, Duncan LLP.

None of the allegations has yet been proven in a court of law, and to our knowledge none 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, to do independent research 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)

According to legal documents filed in Ontario court (available for download at SolidCase.CA), Cassels Brock & Blackwell lawyer Jessica Zagar swore an affidavit on June 7, 2010 stating that Cassels senior lawyer Lorne S. Silver attended at two law offices in May 2010 and selected documents from the files of law firm Crawford, McLean, Anderson, Duncan LLP (CMAD). that were subsequently placed as evidence before Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.

However, during a January 11, 2013 cross-examination of Donald Best, Mr. Silver denied attending at the law offices and selecting the documents in question.

What is the truth? Judge for yourself.

The sworn affidavit of Jessica Zagar states in part:    Read more

Crown Attorney’s concern: Public needlessly at risk from Ontario lawyers’ criminal conduct

Brampton crown attorney Steve Sherriff says that the Law Society of Upper Canada’s policy of not reporting crimes by lawyers to the police is “wrong”. Mr. Sherriff is also concerned that “the public is needlessly at risk” from lawyers’ criminal conduct because of this ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ LSUC policy.

The recent ‘Broken Trust‘ series of articles in the Toronto Star quotes Mr. Sherriff and victims of crimes by lawyers, and looks into why over 80% of Ontario lawyers who commit serious criminal offences in relation to their law practice never face criminal sanctions.

In the Toronto Star series, Thomas Conway, former Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), the organization responsible for regulating and disciplining Ontario lawyers, seems to disagree with Mr. Sherriff. The LSUC treasurer says that the organization is prevented from reporting lawyers who commit crimes to the police even though regulating bodies in some other provinces do make reports to their local police.

But what if LSUC itself became internally aware of allegations that a lawyer had committed crimes? What would happen then? Would the Law Society of Upper Canada itself step in and conduct an investigation, seize evidence, examine the court files and interview witnesses?

According to documents filed in Ontario courts, in November of 2012 former Toronto police officer and undercover investigator Donald 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:   Read more

(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.

Former Toronto police sergeant Donald Best alleges in his recently filed civil lawsuit that the OPP Professional Standards Unit concealed their fellow officer’s crimes and in February of 2013 falsely told Best that Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen had resigned from the OPP in 2008.

In fact, Detective Sergeant Van Allen did not resign from the Ontario Provincial Police until October of 2010, a full year after he had illegally worked as an unlicensed private investigator against the plaintiff, Donald Best.

According to Best’s lawsuit, the above (legally made*) secret recording of a December 30, 2013 telephone call with retired OPP Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen confirms that Van Allen was a serving police officer in charge of the Ontario Provincial Police elite Criminal Profiling Unit when in October 2009 he illegally investigated Donald Best ‘on the side’ to benefit one side of a civil lawsuit in Ontario, Canada.

Van Allen swore a deceptive and false affidavit in October 2009 that was used to convict and sentence the Plaintiff Donald Best to 3 months in jail. Conspicuously absent in the affidavit is the fact that Van Allen was, at the time, a serving OPP Detective Sergeant, who was being paid ‘on the side’ to illegally work as an unlicensed private investigator for a major Toronto law firm.

The Plaintiff, Donald Best, alleges that Mr. Van Allen’s fellow police officers in the OPP’s Professional Standards Unit covered up Van Allen’s crimes even though it meant an innocent man would go to jail.

Mr. Best’s Statement of Claim states:     Read more

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

In Canada it is illegal for police officers to work as investigators for private interests.

The Criminal Code, Ontario Police Services Act, Ontario Private Security and Investigative Services Act and other laws prohibit police officers from working as private investigators. It is also illegal to hire a police officer as a private investigator.

Those laws, however, didn’t stop one senior Ontario Provincial Police officer from illegally working as an unlicensed private investigator ‘on the side’, nor did the laws stop a major Canadian law firm from illegally hiring him.

And those same laws didn’t stop other senior police officers from covering up their fellow officer’s crimes; even though their cover-up would send an innocent man to jail. This according to a recently filed civil lawsuit by a former police officer in Ontario, Canada.

Former OPP Detective Sergeant, criminal profiler Jim Van Allen (public domain photo)

Former OPP Detective & criminal profiler Jim Van Allen (public domain photo)

“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 illegally paid Van Allen $2,699.93 to illegally investigate Best and provide the results to Ranking and other lawyers and their clients”

How can we be confident that our justice system will not be undermined by rogue police personnel taking money ‘on the side’ to perform investigations for business interests or to support one side of civil disputes? If the police and lawyers don’t obey the laws, what is to prevent a divorcing husband or wife from paying a local police officer ‘on the side’ to gather information about their ex-spouse for a family law case?

What is to prevent your business rival from secretly hiring police officers to assist in a civil lawsuit against you?
Read more

Donald Best secretly (and legally) recorded call with lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver

In his Statement of Claim filed in Barrie, Ontario Canada, Donald Best alleges that on January 15, 2010, he was convicted of ‘Civil contempt of Court’ in absentia (in his absence) and sentenced to prison on the basis of false evidence presented to the Court by lawyers, including defendants Gerald Ranking and Lorne Silver.

Among other falsehoods, the lawyers assured the Judge that Donald Best had told them during a November 17, 2009 phone call that he had received a copy of the Court Order dated November 2, 2009.

Unbeknownst to the lawyers, Mr. Best had secretly recorded his phone call with them.

Compare what you hear in the November 17, 2009 secret telephone call recording with what the lawyers told the Court on December 2, 2009, both orally and in their written ‘Statement for the Record’.

What the Lawyers told the Court about the November 17, 2009 call with Donald Best

On December 2, 2009, the lawyers informed Justice Shaughnessy that Donald Best said during their November 17, 2009 phone call with him that he had received a copy of the Court Order dated November 2, 2009:

From the ‘Statement for the Record’ that Ranking / Silver provided to the Court:

MS. RUBIN: Just to be fair to Mr. Best, my notes say that he indicated that he hadn’t received a copy of Justice Shaughnessy’s November 2nd order, and that he had asked for a copy to be sent to him.

MR. SILVER: I don’t think that is right, actually. I think he said that he got it for the first time last night.

MR. RANKING: Well, I don’t want to really get into… my recollection is similar to Mr. Silver’s, that he, indeed, indicated that he had obtained the court order, and that he, in fact, called the trial coordinator to find out about the material.

(See page 12 of the Ranking / Silver ‘Statement for the Record’ PDF 1.7mb)

Ranking / Silver submissions to the Court, December 2, 2009

On December 1, 2009, Donald Best wrote to the Court and to the lawyers, accusing the lawyers of lying in their ‘Statement for the Record’. Mr. Best’s December 1, 2009 letters are here. (PDF 627kb)

In Court on December 2, 2009, the lawyers rejected Mr. Best’s version of events as detailed in his December 1, 2009 letters, calling his version of the November 17, 2009 phone call ‘defamatory’:

Ranking:  We can’t find Mr. Best and it’s one of those invidious, and I don’t use that word lightly, situations where Mr. Best at his will can write to counsel, can make frankly defamatory remarks about Mr. Silver and I to the court without any affidavit evidence, and yet hide away somewhere and yet then expect us to jump over hoops and bring motions and keep corning back and bothering this court and your valuable time, which is indeed, as I say in my respectful submission, invidious.

December 2, 2009 official court transcript, pages 4/5

After receiving Donald Best’s December 1, 2009 letters containing Mr. Best’s version of the November 17, 2009 phone call, the lawyers assured the court that they rejected Mr. Best’s version of the call. The lawyers didn’t know that Mr. Best had secretly recorded the telephone call, and that Best’s ‘version’ of events was backed up with an accurate voice recording:

Ranking: it goes without saying that we (Mr. Silver, Mr. Ranking and Ms. Clarke) categorically reject Mr. Best’s version of events that day.

December 2, 2009 official court transcript, page 41

What Really was said during the November 17, 2009 call with Donald Best

What did Donald Best really say during the November 17, 2009 call?

As claimed to the Court by lawyers Ranking and Silver, did Donald Best state that he had received a copy of the judge’s order?

Listen to the secret November 17, 2009 recording, read the certified transcript of the recording and then decide for yourself. Here are some excerpts from the certified transcript of the secret recording:

Ranking: The judge ordered you to attend. You have a copy of Justice Shaughnessy’s order dated November the 2nd?

Best: I do not Sir.

Ranking: Pray tell, how did you …

Best: I do not. As a matter of fact, the court reporter told me yesterday that there’s all sorts of documents I don’t have, and..

(Page 4 of Certified Transcript Primeau, YouTube recording starts at 6:55)  Read more

Donald Best v. Gerald Ranking civil lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court

Donald Best v. Ranking et al

On July 18, 2014, Donald Best, a former Toronto police officer and undercover investigator, filed a civil lawsuit in Barrie, Ontario, Canada alleging wrongdoing by various defendants; including some of Canada’s largest and most prestigious law firms.

None of the allegations has yet been proven in a court of law, and to our knowledge none 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 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)

As time marches on DonaldBest.CA will be expanding the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section and posting additional court documents and other evidence for consideration.

Visit our FAQ page to start.

1 9 10 11