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Monday, December 12, 2011

LAWYER PLEADS GUILTY IN CHILD PORN CASE

A Timmins, Ont., lawyer involved in child pornography activities from his law office computer has pleaded guilty to two criminal charges.

Last week, Brad Sloan pleaded guilty to a charge of possession and distribution of child pornography, Ontario Provincial Police Det.-Const. Doug Lockhart confirmed this morning.

“The distribution actually took place from the confines of his office,” says Lockhart, who works with the OPP’s child sexual exploitation unit.

According to the Timmins Daily Press, a forensic computer examiner retained for the investigation retrieved 4,377 images depicting individuals or pairs of young girls in various sexual poses.

Sloan shared the images with others and, in e-mail exchanges, noted his computer’s security, including the fact that no one else accessed it. But according to the newspaper, police learned of his activities from someone hired to do service work on the computer. Authorities first charged him in November 2009.

Sloan is to return to court on Jan. 11 for sentencing. Lockhart notes the Crown and defence have made a joint submission of a jail sentence of two years less a day.

According to Lockhart, the fact that the investigation involved a law office complicated the computer search. Because of concerns over solicitor-client privilege, the court appointed an associate partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP to act as an independent examiner in the case who would separate privileged files and isolate any offensive materials.

At the same time, a criminal defence lawyer was to act as an independent referee to assist the examiner in deciding what materials were privileged.

For more, see "Lawyer's child porn trial hits roadblocks."

HAMILTON LAWYER HONOURED

Evans Sweeny Bordin LLP senior partner John Evans received the first John F. Evans Award of Community Distinction from the United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton at a ceremony on Nov. 28.

Evans has handled business-related civil litigation, professional negligence, product liability, and personal injury actions for more than 40 years.

TORONTO LAWYER’S LICENCE REVOKED

The Law Society of Upper Canada has disbarred Toronto lawyer Paul Slocombe.

According to the LSUC, Slocombe engaged in professional misconduct by failing to provide written representations and documents in regards to two complaints; books and records in relation to four complaints; and a complete response to two complaints.

The hearing panel found him to be ungovernable.

The law society has ordered Slocombe to pay costs of $6,960 within a year. He wasn’t represented during the proceedings and wasn’t present for them.

MCCARTHYS PARTNER AMONG TOP 100

McCarthy Tétrault LLP partner Godyne Sibay received the Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award in the professionals category from the Women’s Executive Network this month.

The award honours Canada’s top achievers in private, public, and not-for-profit work.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Godyne is being honoured in this way,” said Marc-André Blanchard, chairman and CEO of McCarthys.

Sibay is a partner with McCarthys’ real property and project development and infrastructure group.

“I have personally benefitted from the mentorship of other women in my career and I am honoured to have received this award,” said Sibay.

“This accolade from the Women’s Executive Network inspires me to continue to be a catalyst for change to ensure that the next generation of women have even greater professional opportunities.”

LAWYER’S MOTION DISMISSED

An Ontario judge has ruled against a lawyer involved in an estates dispute who’s seeking to enforce a provision in the settlement agreement that would see a woman withdraw her complaint against him to the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The woman was Sandi Thompson, one of the beneficiaries of her mother’s estate. The beneficiaries delivered a notice of objection after the trustees, including lawyer William Martin, began an application to pass their accounts.

The parties settled following a pretrial conference on June 14.

Thompson, however, had filed a complaint with the LSUC against Martin two years earlier. But the settlement agreement had a term that the beneficiaries would provide the trustees with a full release, including all pending and future actions filed with the law society.

According to the Ontario Superior Court ruling, Thompson argued that the provision couldn’t stand. Martin, however, said the agreement was valid and enforceable.

“As consideration for the withdrawal, the trustees agreed to a reduction in their claim for compensation and agreed to be responsible for certain legal fees,” Justice Thomas Lederer said in reference to Martin’s position.

In dealing with the matter, Lederer approached it from the perspective of public policy. “It is improper for a person, subject to regulation, to require that a complaint about his or her conduct be released or withdrawn in exchange for payment or a benefit, as part of a private settlement in a related civil matter,” he wrote in Thompson (Family Trust) on Nov. 30.

For his part, Martin’s lawyer argued that despite the provision, his client couldn’t bind the law society, which would still be free to continue any investigation.

Lederer, however, rejected that notion. “In a theoretical world, this might be possible,” he wrote. “In the practical world, it is not. It is not just that complaints raise matters that have a broader public interest.

It is that, by their nature, these matters are important and the way we treat them is demonstrative of the significance we give them.”

As a result, Lederer dismissed Martin’s motion for an order directing Thompson to comply with the minutes of the settlement.

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