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Monday, January 23, 2012

DISBARRED LAWYER’S APPEAL DISMISSED

The Law Society of Upper Canada has dismissed an appeal by disbarred lawyer Dunstan Dan Senjule after it found medical evidence used to support his adjournment request was “piecemeal” and “vague.”

Senjule had appealed an earlier ruling based on the hearing panel’s refusal to grant an adjournment request without conditions that would prevent him from continuing his practice.

From April 2009 to January 2012, Senjule asked for adjournments of several hearings. Each time, he said he was ill.

But in its decision, the appeal panel found the medical evidence Senjule provided to prove he was suffering from ischemic heart disease was faulty.

“The ‘evidence’ provided by the appellant was hearsay, piecemeal, vague, conclusory, and arguably lacking in candour,” wrote panel chairwoman Linda Rothstein.

“The hearing panel was entitled to conclude that it was inadequate to support an adjournment of the hearing without conditions.”

A law society disciplinary panel had previously found Senjule to be a knowing participant in 23 fraudulent transactions over 2 1/2 years beginning shortly after his call to the bar in April 2002.

The fraudulent activities included 23 mortgages on 15 different properties worth a combined total of $5.9 million, the law society found.

MERGER CREATES  REGIONAL FIRM

Hacker Gignac Rice LLP and Graham Partners LLP officially merged to form HGR Graham Partners LLP this month.

The deal means the two Simcoe County law firms have created one central Ontario regional firm with 28 lawyers and more than 80 staff.

“We’re very excited by the opportunity we have to serve the people of Orillia, Midland, and Penetanguishene,” said Ron Crane, managing partner of HGR Graham Partners LLP.

GALE CUP GETS NEW NAME

Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP and the Canadian Bar Association have officially partnered to sponsor the Gale Cup Moot.

The five-year deal means the mooting competition will be renamed the Lenczner Slaght-CBA Gale Cup Moot.

“The Gale Cup Moot is one of Canada’s premiere advocacy events which we are delighted to support,” said Peter Griffin, Lenczner Slaght’s managing partner.

The competition will take place at Osgoode Hall on Feb. 24-25.

B.C. LAWYER FINED  $1,500 FOR OUTBURST

A B.C. lawyer who launched a verbal attack on an Ontario counterpart for sending demand letters to the parents of alleged shoplifters has been fined $1,500 for his outburst by the Law Society of British Columbia.

Gerry Laarakker, a sole practitioner in Vernon, B.C., went on the offensive after a client came to him with a $500 demand letter from Toronto lawyer Patrick Martin, who was writing on behalf of the Hudson’s Bay Co.

The letter warned the woman, whose daughter was involved in an alleged shoplifting incident, that she could be on the hook for an even higher claim for damages if she didn’t pay the settlement amount.

In a fax rebuffing the settlement offer, Laarakker accused Martin of being involved in a “scam.”

“Save the postage in the future and become a real lawyer instead!” he wrote.

“You must have harboured dreams of being a good lawyer at one point. Surely bullying people into paying some small amount of money is not what you went into law for. But then again, someone has to be at the bottom of the class.”

Following a complaint from Martin, a B.C. law society panel found Laarakker guilty of misconduct last year. Now, in a Jan. 10 decision, the panel ordered him to pay a $1,500 fine.

Laarakker must also pay the law society $3,000 in costs for the two-day hearing.

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