Monday, February 20, 2012

The Divisional Court has upheld the disbarment of former lawyer and lobbyist Peter Budd, who was convicted of sexually exploiting two teenage sisters between 1998 and 2004.

Writing in an endorsement of an order by a Law Society of Upper Canada appeal panel, Associate Chief Justice Douglas Cunningham for a three-judge panel rejected Budd’s appeal to set aside the law society’s decision and replace his disbarment with a suspension. He ruled there would not be a new hearing and the disbarment would remain.

Budd was a close neighbour and friend of a family identified as “D” by the law society until 2004 when they learned he had entered into sexual relationships with the family’s three female children, who were all in their early to mid teens, according to the decision.

Budd was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of each child, but was acquitted of the sexual assault charges, and convicted of sexual exploitation of two of the sisters. Budd was sentenced to nine months in jail as a result.

He later appealed the conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal. That appeal was dismissed. He sought an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, which was denied.

Budd also appealed the law society’s hearing panel’s decision revoking his licence to practise. An LSUC appeal panel dismissed his appeal.

Writing in his endorsement of the law society’s decision, Cunningham noted of the severity of Budd’s actions and its role in each dismissal.

The law society panel “found that notwithstanding Mr. Budd’s outstanding career, and his many good qualities, collectively they did not mitigate the distrustful, deceptive, and prolonged nature of the sexual exploitation that had been established,” Cunningham wrote in Budd v. LSUC.

The ruling went on to say: “The decisions of disciplinary bodies imposing penalties on a professional colleague are entitled to respect.

Here, after two lengthy hearings, eight of Mr. Budd’s peers, after careful and thoughtful review, and acknowledging his admirable professional reputation, have concluded that revocation is the only penalty that adequately addresses the enormity of his misconduct.

In our opinion, that penalty is well within the range of what is reasonable on the facts established.”

The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by a Sudbury, Ont., real estate lawyer to clear several years worth of tax debts from his name after a 25-year legal battle with the Canada Revenue Agency turned sour.

Justice Johanne Trudel made the ruling Jan. 25. She found to be false claims by lawyer Hugh Doig that the trial judge had erred in finding Doig had failed to make the necessary payments “on account of tax arrears” between several periods between the 1971 and 1984 taxation years.

“The appellant alleges that the Judge erred in law in the application of the burden of proof in respect of the 1971-1973 taxation years. We disagree.

The Judge dealt with this period at paragraphs 42 to 44 of his reasons,” wrote Trudel in Doig v. Her Majesty. “In view of the evidentiary record in front of him, we find no error in the Judge’s application of the burden of proof.”

Doig sought a declaration from the Federal Court in 2009 that he had no tax debt between the 1971 and 1984 taxation years, saying he had paid the debt but hadn’t been given credit for the payment by the Canada Revenue Agency or its predecessor.

As of June 2009, Doig owed $323,738.31 in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties “from taxation years prior to and including 1982 to 1989, and 1991 to 1993,” according to the decision. Doig doesn’t dispute the amounts claimed by the CRA in 1985 or the following years, but disputes claims for the years prior.

The appeal was ultimately dismissed with costs.

Robert Half Legal has released the results of a survey showing increased professional demands and social media have taken a bite out of Canada’s power lunch with 50 per cent of lawyers breaking bread with clients less often than they used to.

Robert Half, the legal staffing firm that developed the survey, used an independent research firm to conduct the survey and interviewed 150 lawyers at the largest law firms and corporations in Canada.

In the survey, lawyers were asked about how common power lunches are now compared to three years ago and how often lawyers meet clients for power lunches each month.

They found while lawyers often met with their clients an average of two times per month, compared to three years ago, the number of power lunches conducted by lawyers has steadily declined.

“Considering today’s hectic work environment, it is becoming more difficult for legal professionals to find the time for a business lunch,” said John Ohnjec, Robert Half Legal Canada division director.

“This is prompting lawyers to more frequently use e-mail and social media to stay in touch with their contacts, rather than having face-to-face meetings.”

To hold more productive in-person meetings, Robert Half Legal offered the following advice to lawyers:

•    Choose a restaurant you’re familiar with, is easy to find, is relatively quiet, and has a varied menu.

•    Don’t be late. Make every effort to be on time, or ideally, get there early. You can select a table that’s conducive to a business discussion and greet everyone as they come in.

•    Cut to the chase. Remember that people have busy schedules and can spend only limited time away from the office.

•    Turn off electronic devices. Cellphones should be silenced when you enter the restaurant.

•    Mind your manners. Few things are more uncomfortable than dining with someone who is condescending to the waitstaff.

Williams McEnery partner Jaye Hooper has been named president of the County of Carleton Law Association.

Hooper will serve in the position for one year and was first elected to the CCLA’s board of trustees in 2006 in the “young lawyer” position.

In her new role, Hooper will be the youngest president in the CCLA’s history and the first female president with a young family.

Hooper previously served as the vice president of the organization.

The CCLA is the second-largest not-for-profit legal association in Ontario with membership that includes judges, lawyers, paralegals, and law students. It is governed by a group of elected volunteer lawyers who sit on the board of trustees.

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