British lawyer jailed four and a half years for fabricating evidence. Three corrupt Canadian Bay Street lawyers get pass for same crime.

Same crime – different outcomes for corrupt lawyers in England and Canada.

Jailed lawyer Diljit Bachada

British solicitor Diljit Bachada fabricated evidence and placed false documents before the court in a civil dispute. She was caught when it was found that her documents contained a copyright notice that didn’t come into existence until six months after the date of the forged documents. (Law Society Gazette: Solicitor jailed for falsifying legal documents)

As a result, Bachada will spend the next four and a half years as a guest of Her Majesty’s Prisons. A second solicitor, Tharinjit Biring, assisted by providing a false witness statement and will spend eighteen months in prison.

In Canada though, Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada covered up and whitewashed hundreds of crimes by lawyers who committed criminal offences against their clients – according to the Toronto Star’s Broken Trust investigation.

In my own case, three corrupt Bay Street lawyers fabricated evidence and committed other criminal offences – yet the Law Society of Upper Canada, the legal profession and the courts gave them a pass.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is an exclusive club, and once you’re in it the rule of law doesn’t always apply. It just wouldn’t do to send senior members of the club to jail – even if an innocent man must go to prison instead.

Corrupt Ontario lawyers Sebastien Kwidzinski, Gerald Ranking & Lorne Silver lied to the courts.

The three corrupt Bay Street lawyers in my case are:

On November 17, 2009, Ranking, Silver and Kwidzinski crafted a false ‘Statement for the Record’ of a telephone call they had with me, Donald Best. They falsely told a judge in writing and then orally in court that I had informed them during the call that I did receive a certain court order. In fact I had told them many times that I had not received the court order and they cross-examined me on this point.

The corrupt lawyers did not know that I was in Asia and had secretly recorded the phone call which proved they lied to me in the call and to the judge. Further, later evidence showed that Ranking and his secretary lied to the court about sending me the court order via courier.

Further, Ranking and Kwidzinski’s purported ‘Barbados registered’ client was in fact a phony, non-entity which had been fraudulently created for the purpose of deflecting liability from their real client. Ranking was of course never able to present registration documents for his phony client. In January 2013 he was again caught red-handed filing fraudulent documents intended to legitimize his non-existent client some three years after the case had ended.

Then there is the fact that Gerald Ranking and Fasken Martineau law firm received over a million dollars in settlement and court costs which could not have been transferred to their non-existent client. That, my friends, is a badge of fraud and money-laundering.

Oh… and did I mention that Ranking and Kwidzinski illegally hired a corrupt Ontario Provincial Police officer to perform an illegal investigation for them? It’s called bribery of a peace officer under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Yes, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the courts were and are well aware of all of this – but the Bay Street lawyers are members of The Club, and rule of law doesn’t apply to them.

Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in this article

As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at info@donaldbest.ca and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments left on articles are moderated at least once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.

Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.

Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario, Canada

* Thanks to a loyal reader who informed me of the jailed British lawyers.

 

Ghomeshi verdict highlights a Double Standard

Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi

Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi

Courts slam witnesses for lying, but one group gets a pass.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

The reality in criminal courts is, like it or not, that if a major witness is exposed lying, fabricating evidence, grossly exaggerating or in any way modifying their evidence to better ensure a conviction, then the charges against the accused will likely be dismissed.

Jian Ghomeshi, the former CBC Radio host, was found not guilty on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance in connection with allegations made by three women. The judge overseeing the case, Ontario Court Justice William Horkins, said about the witnesses, “The act of suppression of the truth will be as damaging to their credibility as a direct lie under oath.”

Each of the three witnesses did not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but truth, therefore the judge tossed the charges.

Justice Horkins came down hard on the witnesses, going as far as to criticize the three complainants for their “willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth on more than one occasion.” (Globe & Mail: Truth and deception: Ghomeshi verdict a good day for justice)

The judge found that the witnesses were on a mission to bring Mr. Ghomeshi down. In one of the thousands of e-mails Ms. DeCoutere exchanged with S.D, she said she wanted to see Ghomeshi “decimated.” Add the fact that each of the witnesses was caught lying to the court and you open the door for charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and commit perjury. Those charges will not happen because the public would be outraged, but perjury is perjury even if the witness was sexually assaulted and is truly a victim.

Ghomsehi was a trial very much in the public eye, so everything had to be done according to the law as best as the judge could. Public interest and press scrutiny really do assist to keep judges on the straight and narrow.

Justice Horkins did what had to be done in the Jian Ghomeshi case. He followed the rule of law and ignored the political, public and other influences.

Double Standard when it comes to lying to the court

The judge’s action in Ghomeshi highlights a double standard in the justice system; the courts always condemn witnesses for lying – but regularly look the other way when lawyers lie to the judge and knowingly place false evidence into the court record.

Even when irrefutable evidence proves that lawyers fabricated evidence and lied to the court, the rules about perjury and obstruction of justice go by the wayside as the legal profession and the courts do everything possible to save fellow members of ‘The Club’ – even if it means sending an innocent man to jail.

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

In my case, Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy convicted me in absentia (I was not present) of ‘contempt of civil court’ and sentenced me to three months in jail; during a hearing I was unaware of.

I was in Asia at the time when opposing lawyers rushed through a civil costs hearing over the Christmas season. At that hearing, lawyers Gerald Rankin and Lorne Silver lied to Justice Shaughnessy and knowingly placed false evidence into the court record.

The lawyers falsely told the judge in a written ‘Statement for the Record’ and also orally in court that, during a phone call with the lawyers, I told them that I had received a copy of a certain court order. In fact, during that phone call I told the lawyers over twelve times that I had not received the court order and would they please send it to me.

Later, when confronted with my letter to the judge accusing them of lying to the court and fabricating evidence, Mr. Ranking (Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP) and Mr. Silver (Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP) doubled down on their corrupt activities and assured Justice Shaughnessy that their version of the events was true, that they categorically rejected my version and that I was therefore lying.

What Ranking and Silver did not know was that I had secretly recorded the phone call.  Read more

Advice for self-represented litigants, Part 3: LSUC Bencher Joseph Groia “Lawyer-bullies prey on the weak and inexperienced”

Lawyers Gerry Ranking and Lorne Silver-private

Lawyers Gerald Ranking (left) & Lorne Silver. Strategies for cross-examination of self-represented litigant included screaming, yelling foul words and throwing objects at the witness. (as indicated in transcripts of cross-examination with the Judge not present. The lawyers later apologized to the court, but not to the self-represented litigant.)

The Legal Profession’s culture of bullying

Law Society of Upper Canada bencher Joseph Groia and BC lawyer Gerry Laarakker are two of the high profile people weighing in with comments on law professor Adam Dodek’s excellent article: Ending Bullying in the Legal Profession.

In January 2012, the Law Society of British Columbia found Laarakker guilty of misconduct for not being polite to a bullying Ontario lawyer. Laarakker had to pay $4,500 in fines and costs. The Ontario lawyer-bully walked free because the legal profession has a culture of bullying that law societies tolerate and even support through attacks on lawyers who stand against the practice.

According to lawyer Katarina Germani of Clyde & Co. LLP in Toronto, “(lawyer-bully) behaviour is so often normalized by the profession.”

And as Chris Budgell comments, bullying by lawyers is a problem in the courts, not just within law firms.

Self-represented litigants need to be aware of lawyer-bullies

There is a sometimes difficult to define line between a lawyer diligently representing their client – and engaging in bullying. Although there are contrary opinions I’m sure, I believe that most judges and most lawyers dealing with self-represented litigants try to be fair – if for no other reason than to avoid appeals and complaints.

But, as LSUC bencher Joseph Groia points out, some lawyers are bullies who attempt to prey on the weak and inexperienced. That description certainly includes self-represented litigants.

In my own case, during a January 2013, cross-examination where the judge was not present, senior counsel Lorne S. Silver of Cassels Brock & Blackwell yelled, screamed foul language at the top of his voice and threw objects at me. All this is supported in the transcripts. Co-counsel Gerald Ranking of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP later apologized to the court (but not to me), for the disgusting behaviour, of which Mr. Ranking played his own part during the same cross-examination.  Read more

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?

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

Judge: Hidden video and audio recordings prove Ontario police officer committed criminal acts

Durham Police Corruption-private

“I hurt people… and then I make their cocaine fuckin appear…”

Durham Regional Police Constable James Ebdon threatens violence and to plant drugs on motorcycle gang associate.

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

Durham Regional Police officer James Ebdon was caught in a hidden video / audio recording threatening to plant drugs and commit acts of violence against a member of the public. (You can watch and listen to the hidden recording at YouTube)

Some people might be inclined to excuse or ignore the incident because the officer threatened an associate of Hell’s Angel motorcycle gang member Harley Guindon. We cannot let the fact that the police officer was threatening a criminal associate to allay our personal and societal fear of such behaviour by police. Fabrication of evidence and perjury by police is a very dangerous and slippery slope, indeed.

In her decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Laura Bird wrote:

“The evidence establishes that Constable Ebdon committed several criminal offences in the course of his duties. He has no appreciation for the seriousness of his conduct and continues to patrol the streets of Durham. Conduct such as that exhibited by this officer has no place in our society and it must be condemned by the court.”

Quoted in the The Star

Once police or lawyers fabricate evidence and lie to the court, where does it stop?

It is true that many law enforcement officers have at one time or another (even if for only an instant) thought of planting or fabricating evidence to take down gang members or other serious criminals.

I know from my experience as a Toronto Police sergeant and internal investigator that a number of factors stop police officers from fabricating evidence or committing crimes to obtain evidence: commitment to our justice system, personal values and character, risk of getting caught and the high penalties if they are caught.

Justice Bird knows that allowing, excusing or ignoring this criminal behaviour by police officers will undermine our justice system, and so Her Honour correctly condemned the officer using the most robust language.

Ontario’s legal community soundly condemns police officers who perjure themselves before the courts, but it seems that a different standard applies to lawyers.

But what if, as in my personal case, recordings prove that Lorne Silver and Gerald Ranking (senior lawyers from two of Canada’s largest law firms) fabricated evidence and lied to the court to obtain my ‘in absentia’ conviction for contempt of court; but the courts refuse to listen to the recordings?   Read more

Some Canadian lawyers are too big to jail

Canada Lawyer SAN

How the corrupting influence of large law firms undermines Canada’s justice system and threatens self-regulation of the legal profession (Part 1 of a series)

“I see you as an embittered, vengeful, 82 year-old liar, stupid enough to espouse the desires of a venal Canadian backer, the pawn of totally incompetent counsel and of stupid and revenge-driven children.”

“Now, what happens if you die before the matter is resolved (as, at your age, you may)…”

“BITCH.
We will kill you while you are asleep. Lock your doors and windows real good.”

From a series of anonymous threatening emails sent to an 82 year old witness by unknown personnel from Miller Thomson LLP’s Toronto law office, and by other co-conspirators.*

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

This is the first of a series of articles that will examine the corrupting influence of large law firms, and how senior lawyers from some large Canadian law firms are Too Big to Jail; even when the evidence against them is devastating, irrefutable and uncontested.

Today we present an overview of concerns with the operations of large law firms. We also look at the financial pressures and greed that some lawyers and judges believe is motivating increased unethical and even criminal behavior by large law firm lawyers.

There have always been quietly discussed concerns within the Ontario legal profession, that large ‘mega’ law firms have become so powerful and influential that they dominate and skew trial outcomes, the justice system itself and the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) that is responsible for the self-regulation of Ontario’s lawyers.

Some time ago the law society adjusted its system of electing regional ‘Benchers’ in an attempt to mitigate to some extent the dominance of the large Toronto law firms in the governance of the legal profession.

The law society changes, however, did not even begin to address concerns that the operations of mega law firms:

  • Limit access to justice for ordinary citizens and small to medium businesses,
  • Cause and conceal conflicts of interest that can harm clients,
  • Undermine national and public interests, and the political process, in the pursuit of profits above all else,
  • Compromise professional integrity in the pursuit of money and in ‘winning at any cost’ to attract and maintain large top-tier clients,
  • Receive unhealthy deference from the legal profession and the courts, and
  • Receive unhealthy deference from the Law Society of Upper Canada and other regulators in matters of misconduct and discipline.

Concerns about the impact of large law firms upon society and the legal profession are universal in North American jurisdictions. Some twenty years ago, now Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Robert A. Katzmann published:   Read more

Body cameras only a part of the solution to re-building trust in the police

police-body-video-camera

by Donald Best

by Donald Best

The Toronto Police recently announced a one-year $500,000 pilot project to outfit 100 officers with body cameras to record investigations and dealings with the public. At first look, $5,000 per officer seems outrageous until we consider that this is a pilot study with many facets of which the physical equipment comprises only a small portion of the budget. Online research shows dedicated police body cams starting at only US$199, but the data storage and management costs typically exceed the cost of the equipment by many times per year. The costs to outfit every Toronto officer would be many millions initially, with significant ongoing costs annually.

Nonetheless, the cost/benefit ratio to both the police and Canadians in general will, I strongly believe, fall on the side of implementing the system for every police officer in contact with the public or involved in conducting investigations.

As a former Toronto Police sergeant and undercover investigator of organized crime, I know that the simple knowledge that events are being recorded has a profoundly positive effect upon the behaviours of both police officers and citizens. Even the possibility of hidden recordings due to the universal presence of cell phone videocams is already having an impact upon officer behaviour, to the benefit of all concerned.

I have often relied upon hidden audio and video recordings because they present to the court and everyone the irrefutable truth. Such recordings are only a part of the evidence and have their own limitations, but at least they deter any liars on all sides from fabricating evidence and narratives out of thin air: or expose them after they have done so as more than a few rogue police officers in Canada and the USA have discovered lately.

Other citizens commented on a recent Globe and Mail editorial praising the Toronto Police initiative, that the real test of the police body cameras will be in whether the police and justice system actually use the video recordings to hold police officers accountable for serious wrongdoing.

Time for independent civilian oversight of Ontario’s lawyers?

At least with the police, there is independent civilian oversight on several levels as well as the efforts of the media and hardworking lawyers to try to ensure justice is done and also seen to be done. Not so with Ontario’s legal profession though.   Read more

Former police officer Donald Best analyzes the Walter Scott shooting raw video (#walterscott)

Citizen’s video prevented police cover-up of Walter Scott murder

By now you have probably seen the citizen video showing South Carolina police officer Michael T. Slager firing eight shots at the back of an unarmed man running from him. The victim, Walter Scott, age 50, died after being hit five times including once through his heart. Officer Slager is charged with his murder. (New York Times article with slow motion video)

According to the initial news accounts Walter Scott had been stopped for a burned out taillight but faced arrest for contempt of court for failing to pay child support. Whatever confrontation happened prior to the video is unclear, and at the immediate beginning of the video it looks like Scott or the officer could have dropped an object on the ground in front of the officer (said by some to be the officer’s Taser). There is also a second object that bounces on the ground behind the officer at about the time he is drawing his pistol.

What is clear from the video though is that Scott was running away from the officer, and was about 25 feet / 7 meters away when the police officer fired the first shot into his back. Scott kept running and the distance increased as Officer Slager fired off another quick six shots at Scott’s back. Then as Scott staggered, Officer Slager paused, took careful aim and fired a final controlled shot into Scott’s back. I wonder if that was the shot that pierced Scott’s heart because he went down immediately.

Police Officer does not behave as if he is fearful of Scott

Scott goes down grabbing his mid left side and only then does Officer Slager walk over and handcuff him. As he walks, the officer is not pointing his weapon at Scott and thus is not in fear of his life at that point. That is not the normal action of a police officer who believes a person might be armed. Even if an armed suspect has been shot eight times, any police officer would keep aiming at the suspect until the weapon had been retrieved and the suspect secured. That seems to indicate that Slager did not believe Scott had a weapon when he shot him.   Read more

Paul Schabas seeking re-election as Bencher, Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society Upper Canada

Toronto lawyer Paul B. Schabas, a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, is seeking a third term as a Bencher in the upcoming April 30, 2015 Law Society of Upper Canada election. Mr. Schabas is also a defendant in the Donald Best v. Gerald Ranking et al civil lawsuit.

According to his biography, Mr. Schabas is one of Canada’s leading media lawyers:

“As one of Canada’s leading media lawyers, Paul has appeared on many recent cases in the Supreme Court of Canada, including Grant v. Torstar, which established a new public interest defence to libel.”

No doubt Mr. Schabas is the ‘go to guy’ for many major news media outlets for libel defence, or for legal advice about whether or not to cover contentious or potentially explosive news stories.

Apparently Mr. Schabas was a bencher when Donald Best sent letters to him and other lawyers on December 1, 2009, alleging that lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver and Sebastien Kwidzinski lied to the court in a written ‘Statement for the Record’ they filed as evidence. Mr. Best’s letter can be found here. A summary of the incident is here: Donald Best secretly (and legally) recorded call with lawyers Gerald Ranking, Lorne Silver

Mr. Best also wrote to the Executive of the Law Society of Upper Canada on November 28, 2012, alleging amongst other wrongdoing by lawyers, that:

“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.”

Best’s November 28, 2012 letter can be found here. A summary of the incident can be read here: Court evidence: Anonymous online threats against 82 year old widow originated from Miller Thomson Law Office

Mr. Schabas is the current Chair of the Proceedings Authorization Committee which decides which cases against lawyers should go to a Discipline Hearing. The following excerpts are from his campaign website PaulSchabas.ca:   Read more

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