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Monday, September 19, 2011

KITCHENER LAWYER TO STAND TRIAL

Kitchener, Ont., criminal defence lawyer Hal Mattson has been committed to stand trial on a charge of obstructing justice.

Mattson, 56, is facing accusations of trying to influence the testimony of a potential witness prior to a hearing in an attempted murder case last October.

“I was hoping it wouldn’t happen,” Mattson told the Record newspaper. “But we’ll deal with it.”

The committal followed a two-day preliminary hearing that included testimony from Tyson Holmes, the man Mattson allegedly tried to influence during the early stages of a case involving five people charged with attempted murder and drug offences last year.

Holmes received a one-year jail sentence for drug trafficking in the same case after attempted murder charges against him were dropped. Mattson didn’t represent any of the five people charged in the case.

A trial date hasn’t yet been set.

For more on this story, see "Arrested lawyer decries police tactics."

MNP SIGNS DIVERSITY PLEDGE

A Call to Action Canada has unveiled MNP LLP as the latest signatory to its mission statement.

The chartered accounting and business consulting firm is one of the biggest of its kind in Canada.

Signatories to the mission statement encourage diversity and inclusion in the legal profession by insisting that their outside law firms demonstrate a commitment to and progress in the full participation of women and minorities in the workplace.

“Our firm has always fostered a workplace which embraces diversity,” said Daryl Ritchie, CEO of MNP.

“It’s not just about recruiting a diverse workforce but how you demonstrate your commitment by respecting and celebrating all cultures and viewpoints. MNP serves a very diverse client base and our hiring practices have always mirrored that.”

LAWYER DISBARRED OVER FRAUDS

Toronto lawyer Thangavel Muthali Kesavan has lost his licence to practise due to his role in a mortgage fraud.

A Law Society of Upper Canada panel found Kesavan participated or knowingly assisted in fraudulent conduct by vendor and purchaser clients to obtain mortgage funds in 12 separate transactions.

The panel also found him guilty of misconduct for failing to be honest with his lender clients and failing to disclose material facts to them. In addition, Kesavan, a 2003 call, must pay $5,000 in costs to the law society.

LAWYER JOINS MILLER THOMSON

Savvas Kotsopoulos has joined Miller Thomson LLP as a partner in the firm’s real estate group.

Kotsopoulos, a 2003 call, will be based out of the firm’s Toronto office. His practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions, including purchases and sales, development, commercial leasing, and financings.

He also has experience in mergers and acquisitions that involve significant real estate portfolios.

LFO AWARDS 2 FELLOWSHIPS

The Law Foundation of Ontario has awarded two new fellowships to collaborative projects that address access to justice and legal rights related to people with disabilities.

Sheila Burns, a specialist and advocate in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, will spend 10 months at Georgian College working to help prevent people with it from becoming involved with the criminal justice system and improve diversion rates and outcomes for those who do.

“In the justice context, we need to shift the focus from incarceration to sustainable support and services,” said Burns.

Marian MacGregor, clinic director for the Community and Legal Aid Services Program at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, will spend seven months developing an intensive clinical program in disability law.

“The impact of disability, often combined with poverty, can create serious access to justice barriers,” said MacGregor.

“This new program will produce lawyers who are better equipped to meet the distinct needs of clients with disabilities, as well as involving students in the systemic change that needs to take place.”

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