Julie Macfarlane, Denise Barrie, Chief Justice Michael MacDonald; shining stars of CBC’s Self-Representing Litigants special

“I think that the huge rise in the number of self-represented litigants in recent years is in some ways the great undiscussed issue of the legal system… More than half the people in Canadian family courts are there without lawyers…”

“We have a procedure in the legal system which has been around for a very long time, called ‘summary judgment’. It’s a way of forestalling or ending a case prematurely before it continues through the processes using up judicial and legal time. We found that there has been a huge rise in the number of summary judgment cases in the last ten years, and that most of those cases are now being brought where there’s a lawyer on one side and a self-represented litigant on the other.”

Julie Macfarlane, National Self-Representing Litigants Project; quoted in CBC’s The National feature The New Litigants #TheNewLitigants

“Sit down and SHUT UP!”

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Over fifty percent of people appearing before Canadian family courts are self-represented litigants, yet according to CBC’s New Year’s Eve special The New Litigants, judges are still telling citizens representing themselves before the courts to “SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!”

Nova Scotia Chief Justice Michael MacDonald has a different idea. He instituted an educational program for self-represented litigants. Justice MacDonald is a leader who deserves praise.

The legal system is the good ship Titanic; trying desperately to steer clear of the deadly iceberg named ‘Injustice’. The rudder has been put full port; but will the heading change in time?

The CBC special above is well worth 18 minutes of your time.

Donald Best

Bestselling author Kenneth Eade tweets the Donald Best story of lawyer and police misconduct

Author Kenneth Eade Killer Lawyer-private

A pleasant surprise this morning to wake and find that bestselling legal thriller author Kenneth Eade tweeted about my case.  @KennethEade1 

His latest book Absolute Intolerance holds the lead on Amazon’s top seller list for thrillers.

Tonight I’ll dig into Eade’s Killer.Com that comes highly recommended by an old friend.

Thanks for the mention, Mr. Eade.

Donald Best

When lawyers and police break the law together, what justice can exist for ordinary citizens?

Faskens lawyer Gerald Ranking illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation. Section he Criminal Code calls it

Fasken Martineau lawyer Gerald Ranking (left) illegally hired OPP Sergeant Jim Van Allen to perform an illegal investigation to benefit Ranking’s clients. Section 120 (1)(a)(i) & (ii) of the Criminal Code calls that ‘Bribery of a Peace Officer’

Alabama: Yet another case of corrupt police and corrupt lawyers working together. 

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Leaked documents reveal that for over ten years a group of corrupt Dothan, Alabama police officers (including the current Chief of Police) planted drugs and weapons on hundreds of innocent young black men.

Instead of stopping the practice and freeing the innocent prisoners, the local District Attorney covered up and colluded with the corrupt police.

Collusion between corrupt police and corrupt lawyers is a worrisome issue in the justice system simply because we are beginning to see increasing reports of this type. The news from Dothan, Alabama is only the latest story.

As I reported last March, Louisiana plaintiff Douglas Dendinger was arrested and charged with battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness after five police officers and two prosecuting attorneys jointly provided false evidence that they saw Dendinger physically assault and intimidate a police officer as he served the officer with legal documents. Luckily for Mr. Dendinger that (as in my case) he had a hidden recording proving that the police and attorneys perjured themselves and lied to the court.

In my own case, lawyers and police committed various wrongdoing; including fabricating false and deceptive evidence, lying to the court, committing a fraud upon the court by representing a phoney non-existent business entity, anonymously threatening witnesses and illegally hiring a corrupt Ontario Provincial Police officer ‘on the side’ to perform illegal acts and other misconduct.

Canadians rely upon the legal profession to monitor the police, make rogue officers accountable and to act as a deterent. When corrupt lawyers work hand in hand with corrupt police officers, and the Law Society of Upper Canada covers up and whitewashes, how can ordinary citizens hope for justice?

Toronto Star closes reader commenting. No loss; they were already deleting any comments about Best vs. Ranking lawsuit or Donald Best

Toronto Star Commenting-private

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

As the traditional news media struggles to survive in a world where everyone and anyone can publish a story or broadcast breaking news live from anywhere with just a mobile phone, newspaper publishers are being forced to make some tough choices.

Today the Toronto Star announced the immediate end of reader commenting. Visitor stats will surely suffer as I found myself returning five or ten times to various stories to watch the reader discussion unfold. Now I’ll read the story once and move on. It must be the same for many others.

Paul Schabas is probably Canada's foremost media lawyer

Paul Schabas is probably Canada’s foremost media lawyer (photo courtesy of the Toronto Star newspaper)

Killing the Donald Best story

It won’t really matter as far as my story goes, because the Toronto Star has been systematically deleting all mention of my name and court case in the comments for about a year.

Some of my friends have speculated as to why the Star has been censoring my story. Over the past year, several Star journalists expressed interest and even wild enthusiasm about my lawsuit and the solid evidence showing wrongdoing by lawyers and police, but (so I am told) there seems to be a roadblock at the editor level.

One of my friends speculates that this might have something to do with the fact that Paul Schabas of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, one of the lawyers I am suing, acts for the Toronto Star in many legal cases right up to the Supreme Court of Canada level. If it was true that Mr. Schabas was advising The Star not to cover my story, that would be interesting as in the many news stories I’ve read Mr. Schabas is always demanding the right to publish and fighting for freedom of the press.

Perhaps Mr. Schabas feels differently about freedom of the press when he and his fellow lawyers are the subject of the story?

Or, perhaps not.

In any event, The Star closed reader commenting at the newspaper’s website. Will the Globe and Mail or National Post follow the Star’s lead? And, will it really matter if they do?

 * Photo of Paul Schabas courtesy of the Toronto Star

Lawyer and police misconduct in Donald Best case “reads like a John Grisham novel”

John Grisham-Rogue Lawyer private

Perjury. Violence. Abduction. Threats to rape and murder witnesses. Anonymous internet threats from a Bay Street law firm. A Canadian judge’s secret backroom order.

Best vs. Ranking is just another civil lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court…

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

A judge once remarked on the record that my case reads like the plot from a John Grisham novel.

I can’t disagree. I wonder what Mr. Grisham himself might think. (Grisham photo above courtesy of the Toronto Star)

Like most Grisham novels the stakes in my case are high enough at US$120 million dollars to cause some lawyers, accountants, police officers and other professionals to step over the line.

Way over the line.

“My case is complex, but my April 23, 2015 sworn affidavit provides a basic summary and is, frankly, a pretty good page-turner at bedtime.”

Download Donald Best’s April 23, 2015 affidavit. (PDF 882kb without exhibits)

My case has seen some people on the other side (including certain lawyers and police officers) proveably commit various crimes including: fabricating evidence, lying to the court [1], fraudulently using a phoney non-existent ‘company’ as a lawyer’s client to petition the courts and transfer a million dollars [2], illegally hiring a corrupt OPP police sergeant ‘on the side’ to work against me in a civil lawsuit [3] and putting an innocent man in jail using proveably false, fabricated evidence. [4]

Welcome to civil litigation involving the Caribbean island nation of Barbados.

Also like a John Grisham novel, my witnesses, lawyers, myself and our family members have been the targets of a long-running campaign of violence, harassment and threats designed to deter us from seeking justice before the courts.

In the Greater Toronto Area, I was assaulted in the street. Also in the GTA, a man with a Caribbean accent approached and threatened one of my children over this case. My family’s auto was shot up. While my former lawyer was out of Canada litigating my case, his wife and family received an intimidating anonymous phone call from a person with a Barbados accent. My lawyer’s wife gathered up her children and fled their Orillia, Ontario home in terror; exactly as was intended by the caller.

One of my witnesses was abducted and beaten at gunpoint by a person connected with the other side in Barbados. One of my witnesses was threatened with job loss if he testified, and was fired from the University of the West Indies after he testified anyway.

Illegally and behind my back, an Ontario judge secretly substituted a changed court order in a backroom meeting; off the court record and without notifying me even though I was a self-represented litigant. This kind of judicial ‘Star Chamber’ activity regularly happens in Iran or Russia, but surely not in Canada; except when it does. [5]   Read more

Police and media response to Lynelle Cantwell and ‘Ugliest Girls’ online poll shows double standard

Cyberbullying victim Lynelle Cantwell (photo courtesy of Toronto Star)

Lynelle Cantwell (photo courtesy Toronto Star)

ST. JOHN’S, N.L.—A school board in Newfoundland and police are now investigating a case of cyberbullying involving an anonymous poll ranking girls at a high school based on their looks.

Lynelle Cantwell, a student at Holy Trinity High School in Torbay, is getting national attention for her response to the creators of the online poll, called “Ugliest Girls in Grade 12.”

Toronto Star: ‘Ugliest Girls’ online poll under police investigation in Newfoundland

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

Opposing internet bullying is a popular cause these days. Investigating online bullying is also a popular police activity that nets law enforcement easily-gained positive recognition in the community; but only as long as the perpetrators are low hanging fruit like high school students and not members of a protected class like lawyers from big Bay Street law firms.

The contrast is stark.

On one hand, a story about high school student Lynelle Cantwell and anonymous online poll for the ‘ugliest girls’ receives national news media attention about online bullying.

On the other hand, when sworn forensic evidence filed in Ontario Superior Court shows that personnel from the Toronto office of Miller Thomson LLP, one of Canada’s largest law firms, sent anonymous threatening internet messages to several witnesses in the Best v. Ranking civil lawsuit, the news media coverage is… Zero.

“The anonymous online messages and emails even include threats to murder and rape female witnesses.”

The anonymous threats and harassment originating from the Miller Thomson LLP law firm and elsewhere are part of a campaign of anonymous threats, harassment and criminal acts that has been ongoing for years, even to the present day.

Here are some samples taken from the court record:  Read more

Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy secretly increased prisoner’s jail sentence; in a backroom meeting, off the court record, without informing the prisoner.

Ontario Superior Court of Justice-private

How Justice Shaughnessy:

– Secretly substituted a new Warrant of Committal that included an increased sentence,

– Misled a self-represented litigant and made an inaccurate court record transcript,

– Ordered a self-represented litigant excluded from parts of the legal process in his own civil case hearing.

20100115 Warrant Justice Shaughnessy SAN

20130503 Warrant Justice Shaughnessy SAN

 (click photos to see full size*)

by Donald Best

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police.

UPDATED: Canadian Judicial Council investigates Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.

Original story, published December 2, 2015…

On May 3, 2013, I stood without a lawyer as an unrepresented / self-represented litigant before Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy. I heard his words refusing my application to overturn my January 15, 2010, conviction ‘in absentia’ and three-month sentence for Contempt of Civil Court in a civil litigation costs hearing. I had not attended the January 15, 2010 hearing as I was overseas and unaware of it.

The judge looked me straight in the eye and said on the court record that he was lifting the stay that he himself had placed upon his January 15, 2010, Warrant of Committal for my imprisonment and that I would now be taken to prison.

What Justice Shaughnessy didn’t tell me, and what I couldn’t know as the court police slapped on the handcuffs and took me to the cold cells below, was that even though my hearing was over and the judge had left the courtroom, he wasn’t quite finished with me.

While I paced in the basement cells awaiting transfer to prison, Justice Shaughnessy sat in some backroom where, off the court record, he secretly signed and substituted a new and changed Warrant of Committal that effectively increased my sentence by one-third.

Behind my back, the judge secretly arranged that I would only discover the increased sentence as a special surprise at some unknown time in the future; perhaps even months later as I neared my anticipated release date.

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy placed none of this on the court record transcript. He did it secretly after he left the courtroom and after I was led away in custody. Had he wanted to, he could have called me back to court to inform me, or even come down to the cells to tell me.

Justice Shaughnessy said nothing of this new and increased sentence to me, to my lawyer when I had one, or to anyone else in court, either on May 3, 2013, or during the many preceding court dates attended over a period of nine months. Not having any knowledge of the judge’s intention to secretly substitute a new Warrant of Committal with an increased sentence, I did not have an opportunity to make submissions to him or to argue against the legality of his actions. He arranged everything so I would learn about my increased sentence from some prison guard.

Further, on May 3, 2013 Justice Shaughnessy washed his hands of me and ordered that I was never again to be brought before him, so he made sure that he would never have to face me after I learned of his backroom surprise. As noted on page 69 of the May 3, 2013 court record transcript, just before he left the courtroom Justice Shaughnessy said:

“Further, I will also notate that I am no longer seized of this matter and I hereby direct that any further and other applications relating to this proceedings are to be heard by another judge.”

An acquaintance later remarked that Justice Shaughnessy must have quite a wicked sense of humour; even if his values, ethics, sense of justice and fair play appear to fall short.

An unrepresented defendant is fair game in Ontario Superior Court

I doubt that Justice Shaughnessy would have even attempted to secretly increase my sentence and substitute a new Warrant of Committal had a lawyer represented me. But as I was only an ordinary Canadian before the court with no lawyer, I was fair game.   Read more

Internet Expert: DonaldBest.CA visitor stats ‘astonishing’

Website Visitor Stats-SAN20.1% of first-time visitors spend over an hour at DonaldBest.CA

An additional 10.8% of first-time visitors spend from 5 minutes to an hour.

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

Last week an Internet Expert examined the visitor statistics and records for DonaldBest.CA and became visibly excited about some of his observations.

My personal website has been online since July of 2014, but all this is new to me so I never really looked at anything other than the number of daily visitors, along with making notes of visits from some of the law firms and other defendants that I am suing in 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 fact the expert finds ‘most astonishing’ is that 20.1% of first-time visitors to DonaldBest.CA spent over an hour clicking through the website and downloading documents and exhibits. Apparently this is first-time visitor behaviour that major websites would kill for; but what did I know about this?

Add to that an additional 10.8% of first-time visitors that spent from 5 minutes to an hour and, according to the expert, you have an “astonishing” 30.9% of first-time visitors spending major time to examine my website in detail.

This is, I am told, visitor performance that major websites would gladly pay through the nose for if it were that simple.

What is the reason for this visitor behaviour? The expert has a few theories.

Cassels Brock Lawyers-private

Law Firms are Major Visitors to DonaldBest.CA

Some of the most dedicated visitors to my website are the Canadian law firms that are defendants in my civil lawsuit Best v. Ranking. These defendant law firms have visited my website hundreds of times in the past year; sometimes spending hours on each visit reading articles and downloading legal documents and photographs. Of course, I have a list of the files they have downloaded, and the time they spent on the website each day.   Read more

The Sebastien Kwidzinski story: How senior partners taught a young articling lawyer to fabricate evidence and lie to the court.

Sebastien Kwidzinski & senior partners Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver

Sebastien Kwidzinski & senior partners Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver*

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

When Sebastien Kwidzinski arrived for work on the morning of November 17, 2009 he had no idea that by the end of the day circumstances would require him to make an ethical and legal decision; either reveal that he witnessed senior lawyers fabricating evidence and lying on the court record, or keep silent and become part of a group of Bay Street lawyers deceiving a judge with false evidence and lies.

What was a young articling student to do?

Think of the pressure to follow the lead of a senior partner who bragged of earning over a million dollars income a year. Tell the truth and you’re out; never to have a chance at a coveted Bay Street partnership. Keep the code of silence, support the team and you’re assured of achieving everything a young law student could want; an opportunity to be part of one of the most powerful legal cabals in Canada.

In Fall of 2009 Sebastien Kwidzinski was a 26-year-old fresh-faced kid working for Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP senior partner Gerald Ranking. Kwidzinski had always done well academically, graduating in 2002 at the top of his class from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario. Recounting how York University sent a team to his home with a scholarship offer, Kwidzinski told the Toronto Star in 2006 that he “followed the money” and went into the law program at York U.

While at university Sebastien Kwidzinski was active in various student associations and in 2008 took a summer job with Faskens, where he was seconded to the Ontario Securities Commission. At 25 years old he was on his way to a law career with one of Canada’s largest and most respected legal firms.

As Kwidzinski excitedly headed off to his first day of work to “follow the money” with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, I wonder if he had ever read the words published by now Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Robert A Katzmann:

“As large firms have grown and multiplied, despondency about the decline of law practice from its virtuous and collegial past has intensified. Within the legal profession itself, many share the sense that law has freshly descended from a noble profession infused with civic virtue to a commercial pursuit. In the most erudite and theoretically sophisticated account of decline, the dean of the Yale Law School counsels idealistic young lawyers to stay clear of large firms, because they have a “harshly economizing spirit” and “increasingly commercial culture”.

The Law Firm and the Public Good, Robert A. Katzmann, page 40 (See ‘Some Canadian lawyers are too big to jail‘.)

Kwidzinski arrested for ‘Youthful Stupid Stunt’

But then came an incident that the Toronto Police later characterized as a youthful “stupid stunt”. On November 8, 2008 Sebastien Kwidzinski, age 25, was arrested along with two other York students and charged with false message, common nuisance and mischief interfering with property after a brown paper bag reading “I AM A BOMB” was left on a bus parked at York University. This happened two days into a strike by professors and teaching assistants of CUPE 3903. Thousands of people were evacuated from the area before the bomb squad declared the ‘bomb’ to be a hoax.   Read more

Purolator Courier confirms Faskens lawyer Gerry Ranking and secretary Jeannine Ouellette lied to Justice Shaughnessy in Ontario Superior Court

Public Domain photos of Lawyer Gerald Ranking (L) and secretary Jeannine Ouellette (R)

Public Domain photos of Lawyer Gerald Ranking (L) and Ranking’s secretary Jeannine Ouellette (R)

“Purolator Courier confirms: No tracking number, no shipping documents exist. Gerald Ranking and his secretary lied to the court. This article lays out the evidence.

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

On January 15, 2010 while I was in Asia, I was convicted of civil contempt of court in absentia and sentenced to three months in prison during a hearing in Ontario Superior Court that I was unaware of. My conviction and three-month sentence were based upon provably fabricated evidence and lies told to the court by senior partners from some of Canada’s top law firms.

Amongst many other lies, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP senior partner Gerald Ranking told the court that he and his secretary couriered to me a copy of a draft court order on November 6, 2009. Then on top of that lie, Mr. Ranking and his fellow lawyer Lorne S. Silver falsely told the court that during a November 17, 2009 phone call I had ‘confessed’ to receiving the draft court order purportedly couriered to me on November 6, 2009.

Purolator Courier confirms that Gerald Ranking and his secretary did not send me the draft court order as they assured Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy of the Ontario Superior Court. Purolator Courier confirms that Gerald Ranking and his secretary lied to the court. This article lays out the evidence.

My fellow Canadians, don’t believe anything I say; just examine the evidence and judge for yourself.

Secret recording of telephone call

Public domain photo of Lorne Silver

Public domain photo of Lorne Silver

I have already shown how Faskens senior partner Gerry Ranking and Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP senior partner Lorne Silver falsely told the court that, during a November 17, 2009 telephone call with them, I admitted receiving the draft court order purportedly couriered to me on November 6, 2009. Silver and Ranking lied to the court. I said no such thing and these lying lawyers knew it then and know it now.

My secret and legally made recordings of the call prove that I did not say that I had received the purported November 6, 2009 courier package or any court order. In fact, I stated exactly the opposite over a dozen times; that I had NOT received such an order and did not receive the purported package. Nonetheless, both Ranking and Silver lied to the court in writing and orally; falsely informing Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy that I had told them during the phone call that I had received the draft court order.

Creating a second lie to support the first

Mr. Ranking and Mr. Silver were willing to lie to the court about what I said in the phone call, but their lie would be so much better if they had ‘proof’ that they did send me the draft court order they were falsely telling Justice Shaughnessy that I had ‘confessed’ to receiving.

In a very telling moment after the November 17, 2009 phone call, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP lawyer Gerald Ranking stated that his legal secretary* Jeannine Ouellette on November 17, 2009 swore an affidavit of service that on November 6, 2009 she had sent to me via Purolator Courier a draft court order of Justice Shaughnessy dated November 2, 2009.

Download a pdf of Jeannine Ouellette’s affidavit here.

Jeannine Ouellette’s affidavit was a lie. Mr. Ranking lied to the court about sending me the draft court order, and lied to the court about me ‘confessing’ to him that I had received it.   Read more

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