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.
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.
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
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.
Lady Justice doesn’t like Self-Represented Litigants
by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police
So you want justice, and you want it badly enough that you are willing to represent yourself in court – without a lawyer.
What I really want you to understand is this: walking away from court is often the best decision you can make, whether you have a lawyer or not. If you are self-represented though, walking away is almost always the best decision.
There’s a tough reality to representing yourself that you don’t know about, even if you have previous experience in court with your lawyer beside you. As a self-represented litigant, you WILL be abused by opposing lawyers. You WILL be abused by court staff and by judges.
And, like the vast majority of self-represented litigants, you will likely lose your case. You may find yourself having to pay legal costs to the other side – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars or more. Or, like me, you may end up doing several months in prison even though your case is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal charge.
You have no idea about what you are getting into, but…
Maybe you are forced to represent yourself in court. Perhaps you are being sued and the other side won’t settle. Maybe your children or your home are at stake and you can’t walk away, but you have no money to hire a lawyer.
If you must represent yourself, you have a difficult path ahead. You’ll have to work hard to learn the law, and to learn the written and unwritten rules of litigation. Don’t let your case overwhelm what is really important in your life.
Representing Yourself in Court 101
My new video series covers some of the general information you’ll need to represent yourself in court. We’ll also look at some topics the legal community doesn’t like to talk about, such as the common dirty tricks that abusive lawyers reserve for those who don’t have a lawyer.
Lesson #1 in the series is titled ‘Walk away – if you can’.
How lawyers can take pressure off the courts and earn new profits from assisting self-represented litigants.
by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police
If you have ever been involved in a lawsuit, whether personal or business, you are probably aware that for most Canadians, the cost of hiring a lawyer can easily exceed the loss or damages under dispute. In family law, it is not unheard of for the legal fees on both sides to equal the joint family assets. That is reality in our courts.
Yet, each year tens of thousands of Canadians hire lawyers in the hope that, after legal fees, they will be able to achieve some level of justice, even if greatly discounted. Harsh reality often awaits many who enter the world of paying lawyers $400 or more per hour – in a system that provides the greatest financial benefit to those lawyers who spend the most time achieving as little as possible.
I can almost hear the screams of indignant outrage from the senior benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Except, I have been at social events and seen lawyers openly joke about exactly that; how the system is set up to benefit the legal profession, not ordinary Canadians. As one of the jokes goes: A good lawyer will take a year to accomplish a motion – an excellent lawyer takes much longer.
As the legal profession pushed the cost of justice out of reach of the majority of ordinary people, many Canadians are reluctantly having to represent themselves in the courts. This tsunami of self-represented litigants is overwhelming the justice system and tests the patience of many judges who find the once professional theatre of the court now more akin to an amateur hour talent show.
So the legal system is searching for solutions to the ‘problem’ of self-represented litigants. We’ve seen some good efforts that need to be continued. Chief Justice Michael MacDonald of Nova Scotia instituted an educational program for self-represented litigants. Across Canada, SRL advocacy groups and a few lawyers run workshops to assist those who are forced to represent themselves.
Unbundled Services: Quick and effective relief for the courts & opposing lawyers
What is missing though, is the willingness of mainstream lawyers and law firms to enter the business of providing legal research, legal document creation and case preparation for self-represented litigants who would happily pay for such assistance, but do not have the funds to hire a ‘full service’ lawyer to represent them in court. (‘Unbundled legal services’)
Many lawyers see the delivery of unbundled services as undermining the profession. Still others fear malpractice claims or professional insurance problems when self-represented litigants turn on the lawyer who assisted them.
Dr. Julie Macfarlane and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project continue to educate lawyers and law students about the SRL crisis – and now focus on untapped business opportunities for lawyers willing to add a new product: Unbundled Services to self-represented persons.
And, in the new NSRLP video (above) we see support for unbundled legal services from some heavy hitters including Chief Justice Robert Bauman of British Columbia, Chief Justice Michael MacDonald of Nova Scotia, and Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco of the Superior Court of Ontario.
Kudos to the Justices for their leadership, and to Dr. Macfarlane and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project for their excellent video.
Last Tuesday I was sitting in an examination room as a new doctor looked at my chart. (Like airline pilots, doctors seem to get younger every day.) When he flipped the pages to read my name again, he stopped, trying to remember something, and then said, “Donald Best… Donald Best. Did you write that column in the Globe and Mail yesterday?”
When I confirmed that I was the author, he called in a nurse, made introductions and the three of us spent the next 15 minutes discussing solitary confinement, my column and how a ‘nice man’ like me came to be housed with some of Canada’s most dangerous prisoners.
Prior to my own incarceration for 63 days, I too hadn’t thought much about solitary confinement, and when I did I had no idea about the reality – this despite three decades of service in public and private law enforcement.
But my article resonated with ordinary people, for which I am grateful – because solitary confinement is torture, nothing less. It is not what my Canada is about – or should be about.
In the last week, I received over one hundred emails and other messages of encouragement from all across Canada. My website saw an increase of several thousand additional visitors, and many journalists opened communication with me. I made guest appearances on two ‘talk-radio’ shows in Ottawa and Montreal. Several lawyers contacted me to inquire whether I would provide testimony to assist their clients who are incarcerated in solitary confinement.
(Sure I’ll testify to the truth about what I saw and experienced in solitary confinement. The truth does not have an agenda – it is just the truth.)
The catalyst for all this is, of course, Adam Capay, an indigenous 24-year-old man horrifically kept in solitary confinement for almost five years. His story splashed across the news media for a few days, but has disappeared now that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made some promises and moved Capay to a cell with a television.
Such is the fleeting attention of the public as new stories come and go.
17 Years in Solitary Confinement
Yet, as bad as Adam Capay’s case is – somewhere in Canada, if he is still alive, there is a prisoner who has spent over 17 years in ‘administrative segregation’.
Yes, I was a little nervous about appearing live on air – it’s not something I have much experience with – but Tommy made me feel as if I was just having a conversation with an old friend. At least he seemed like an old friend from my Montreal days so long ago.
Sure, he’s a pro, but what I love about Schnurmacher is that he doesn’t care about convention. Fearless is the one word that defines him.
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.
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:
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)
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
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)
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
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.
“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.
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.