Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Province's Invocation of Notwithstanding Clause Troubling

   The Province's decision to invoke the Charter's "notwithstanding clause" to usurp the unconstitutional finding by the Superior Court of Bill 5 puts a particular gloss on the new government which will likely be imprinted in the consciousness of Ontario's voters for years to come.  Both the manner in which the Ontario Government passed the law and the manner in which they responded to the Superior Court's finding of unconstituionality conveys to Ontario residents that public consultation, due process and The Rule of Law are not high on this government's agenda.

   What is clear to this writer is that this government does not seem to appreciate the substance of the Superior Court's decision.  This is problematic.  Reading between the lines from the Premier's comments about the judge who authored the decision, it is clear to this writer that parliamentary supremacy is his thing.  The judge is appointed and not elected by the people he raged.

   If I was a betting man I would bet that this will not be the last time this government turns to the notwithstanding clause during their tenure.  Fasten your seat-belts !

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bromley Armstrong: My Thoughts on a Great Canadian.

   When I arrived in Toronto from Montreal in and around 1987, I was directed to meet  two gentlemen in order to get myself "settled" and "involved" in Toronto's African-Canadian community.  Those two men were Charles Roach and Bromley Armstrong.  I first met Mr. Roach.  He too directed me to meet Mr. Armstrong and so I did.

   At the time, Mr. Armstrong was a union representative on the Ontario Labour Relations Board(the Board). The Board sits in a tripartite format with a chair, a union sides person and a management sides person. I called him and provided him with a little introduction about myself and my ambitions. Mr. Armstrong was beyond himself that I had studied Industrial Relations at McGill University and that I intended to practice in that area of law. Mr. Armstrong was a very firm believer that the trade union movement could play a much more significant role in the areas of racial discrimination and the quest for equality and that greater involvement by members of those impacted groups was a key to change in the workplace.

   While a student-at-law, I worked as both a Summer Student and Articling Student with the Ontario Labour Relations Board where Mr. Armstrong worked.  It is primarily through my tenure at the Ontario Labour Relations Board as a law student that I got to work with and get a very unique perspective on the man and his ideas.

   Bromley Armstrong was by no means a one issue man.  His contributions in the areas of immigration policy and racial intolerance and inequality are well documented. He was fearless and uncompromising in his commitment to change what ever he saw as unjust.

   This quality in Mr. Armstrong was an understandable by-product of two of the
corner-stones of what made him what he was; his love and respect for The Rule of Law
- coupled with his unwavering conviction that social change and advancement is only
attainable through organizing and political action.  Mr. Armstrong understood that
change does not happen unless one makes it happen. This guiding principle was a
constant in both his work at the Ontario Labour Relations Board and his community work.

   At the OLRB, Mr. Armstrong and I spent many hours debating labour relations history and policy and how it could be improved.  He embraced his role as a union sides person on the Board and saw it as an opportunity to advocate the union perspective on an issue at any opportunity that presented itself. To the best of my recollection he may well have employed his right to dissent more than any other sides persons - management or union. Mr. Armstrong understood the value of the right to dissent. It is a hard fought for right that many policy-makers and the like appear dedicated to eradicating - ever so slowly - if men like Mr. Armstrong are not there to challenge them.

   I always marveled at Mr. Armstrong's level of community involvement.  It seemed that every week he was giving a speech or participating on a panel at some conference or another.  Preparation and organization were a constant in anything he did.  Before he spoke or participated on any panel he prepared an outline or his written speech.  As he got to know me better he would ask me to review and critique his drafts.  I can not begin to put into words the pride that I felt in being asked by him to do that. I will never forget one occasion when he was to give a talk on section 15 of the Charter and how it could be a vehicle to social change in the area of racial discrimination and inequality.  We  thoroughly discussed the issue and in so doing I came to formulate much of my current thinking on how racial profiling by police officers is in fact a violation of section 15 of the Charter.

   Mr. Armstrong is gone in the flesh.  However, his passion for justice and his conviction in The Rule of Law combined with his unwavering commitment to social change through social and political action has left us a clear blue-print for us to follow on our quest for social change and justice. Rest in Peace Sir !  You did well and I am proud to have spent the time that I did with you at the Ontario Labour Relations Board ! I learned much and I thank you !



 



   

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Have You Been Constructively Dismissed ?

   The traditional firing where the employee is marched into a meeting with his or her supervisor and a human resources manager and then handed a letter informing them of the termination of their employment is not the only way that one can be terminated. Our law now firmly recognizes the legal concept of constructive dismissal.

   Constructive Dismissal is a dismissal which arises not by an affirmative act by the employer as described above but through acts and omissions on their part which may entitle an employee in law to consider their employment to have been terminated by those acts and to walk away from the employment relationship.

Unreasonable Demotion:

    Typical fact-scenarios for a constructive dismissal include the unreasonable demotion of an employee.  For example, the employee is employed as the Vice President, Marketing. He or she receives an annual salary of $250,000 plus a bonus based on company performance which historically has placed them in the range of $300,000 to $375,000 of annual monetary compensation.  One day management decides that this employee will now report to his subordinate, the Director of Local Marketing and will be denied the bonus portion of their compensation. Courts have consistently found this fact-scenario to constitute constructive dismissal.  As such, the employee is entitled in law to refuse the demotion and to commence legal action against their employer based on a theory of recovery of constructive dismissal.  The damages available to the employee are the same as if the employer conducted the traditional dismissal.

Changes in Compensation
and Benefits:

   Another change to the employment relationship which our court's have recognized as constituting constructive dismissal is where the employer makes significant and unreasonable changes to the employees compensation or benefits.  Typically speaking an employee whose contract of employment provided them with an annual salary of $150,000 a year would be entitled to consider his or her contract of employment at an end were the employer to unilaterally decide to decrease the employee's compensation.

Failure to Provide a Safe
Work Environment and to
Follow Published Policies:

   At common law an employer has a duty to provide its employees with a safe work environment.  Under our human rights statutes employers have a duty to provide workplaces free of discrimination and harassment.  The two sources of legal obligations are the rationale why many employers pass workplace polices and manuals delineating the employee's rights and how they are to be enforced and respected in their workplaces.  Many a job seeker places reliance on these published policies and manuals in their decision to both join the employer and to remain in their employment.  These policies provide employees who have traditionally been subject to employment discrimination and harassment with a significant form of security.

   An employee who is the victim of workplace bullying, harassment or other forms of  discrimination who complains, makes reasonable efforts to apply the employer's published policies in these areas and receives no protection from the employer will have a compelling case of constructive dismissal. The strength of that employee's case substantially increases where the bullying, harassment or discrimination adversely impacts the employee's health and well-being.

"Shoddy" Workplace
Investigations:

   The increased importance of the obligation to provide harassment free workplaces in today's workplaces has brought with it a corresponding duty on employers to treat employees accused of such infractions fairly.  Once again the employer's published polices on these issues often provide employees so accused with certain fundamental rights which are articulated in such policies. The right to a fair and impartial investigation is one which comes to mind.  An employee who is so accused and is denied the basic application of the employer's own stated policies with respect to how these matters will be investigated will also have a compelling case of constructive dismissal.  Again, the strength of that employee's case increases substantially where the "shoddy investigation" and the failure to follow the employer's own polices adversely impacts the employee's health and well-being.

Relocation of
Workplace:

   Relocation of the workplace is yet another change in the terms of employment which may entitle an employee to consider their employment to have been constructively terminated.  Of all of the grounds upon which an employee can ground a claim of constructive dismissal this one is easily the most challenging one upon which to base liability.  The court will evaluate the employee's claim to turn down the relocation on all of the facts and circumstances.

Seek legal advice:

   Claims of this nature are not cut and dry.  They involve the consideration and application of laws which are in a state of constant flux.  They also often involve questions of law which may go beyond the scope of employment law.

   Employees who find themselves in situations like any of the one's noted above would be well served to seek out a legal opinion.

About the author:

E.J. Guiste holds a degree in Industrial Relations from Montreal's McGill University.  He completed part of his Articles of Clerkship with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and was employed as an Employment Standards Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Labour.  Employment law and human rights represents a major part of his work as a lawyer. Tel. (416) 364-8908 - E mail: ejguiste@yahoo.com

 


   

Sunday, June 3, 2018

When Can Unionized Employees Sue Their Employers ?

   The general principle in employment and labour law is that unionized employees can not sue their employers for any claims which arise from the interpretation and application of the collective agreement between their bargaining agent and employer.  This point was made clear by the Supreme Court of Canada in Weber  v.  Ontario [1995] 2 S.C.R. 929.

Employer Terminates 
Based on Criminal Act:

   In Piko   v.  Hudsons Bay Company 41 O.R. (3d) 729 the Court of Appeal for
Ontario carved out a significant exception to the general principle prohibiting
unionized employees from suing their employers for civil claims connected to
their employment and dismissal.  In that case the employee was dismissed for
theft and was criminally prosecuted for such.  The employee asserted that the
employer initiated the criminal prosecution.  The charge of theft against the
unionized employee was resolved in her favour and she sued the Hudson's Bay
Company for malicious prosecution.

   Instinctively,  the employer raised the general prohibition asserting that employee could not sue them on account of the collective agreement.  They brought a motion to strike the claim and dismiss the action. The motions judge ruled that the court had no jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the claim as the the essential character of the dispute arose from the employee's employment relationship with the defendant which was covered by a collective agreement.

   J.A. Laskin writing for the majority in Piko held that by taking the dispute out of the collective bargaining forum and bringing it into the criminal law realm the employer effectively stepped outside of the collective agreement and therefore the dispute was no longer one focusing on the interpretation and application of the collective agreement.

   The Court of Appeal for Ontario made it clear that a claim that the employer maliciously prosecuted an employee lay outside the scope of the collective agreement. The Court said:

"And the Bay's actions in instigating criminal proceedings are not directly related to the
dispute over whether Piko was unjustly dismissed.  The Bay's actions are neither a
prerequisite to nor a necessary consequence of its dismissal of Piko.  In short, the
collective agreement does not regulate the Bay's conduct in invoking the criminal
process, which is the conduct at the heart of the present dispute.  The dispute, therefore,
does not arise under the collective agreement."

Seek Legal Advice:

   Civil claims involving high-handed dismissals, malicious prosecution or dismissals contrary to public policy such as the Human Rights Code are not your average wrongful dismissal action.  It is prudent to seek out the advice of a lawyer with knowledge and experience in this area before agreeing to any settlement.

About the author:

   E.J. Guiste handles high-handed wrongful dismissal, malicious prosecution and breach of public policy statutes such as the Human Rights Code.  He represents client  in all facets of the process from providing opinions, investigations, representation at mediation, trials and appeals at all levels of court.

   

When is a Wrongful Dismissal High-Handed ?

   For more than 20 years I have been involved in representing clients who are the victims of what I have come to describe as high-handed dismissals.  Most dismissals are not high-handed.  In fact, a significant number of dismissals are satisfactorily resolved by the parties without litigation.

   High-handed dismissals involve some act or omission on the part of the employer which make the plaintiff's claim against the employer more than a contractual dispute over reasonable notice and or severance pay.  Here are a few examples taken out of cases which I have personally litigated on behalf of clients:

1.   Employer terminates based on alleged criminal act by the employee at work and initiates the employee's criminal prosecution providing false information to support the charge;

2.   Employer, although having knowledge of a superior's abusive behaviour toward a subordinate which is contrary to their own published policies, condones and fails to stop the conduct which causes harm to the subordinate;

3.  Employer induces an employee to give up other employment to join them promising more pay, benefits and a promising career with them only to dismiss the employee falsely alleging poor performance and failing to follow their own policies - which policies were used to induce the employee to join them;

4.  Employer terminating employees contrary to public policy articulated in human rights codes etc.

   The facts and circumstances which will give rise to a high-handed dismissal are by no means closed.  I am by no means suggesting that the four scenarios I have described above are a complete list.  They are merely a break-down of the types of circumstances that I have dealt with as an employment lawyer.

   High-handed dismissals are outside the norm.  Employers ought to obtain sound legal advice before they embark on them.  Employees ought to obtain sound legal advice before they settle these types of claims.

About the author:

E.J.Guiste represents clients in employment and human rights law. 
His focus is primarilyon high-handed dismissals and those based on
the breach of public statutes like the Human Rights Code of Ontario
and other statutory laws.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Supreme Court Rules on Incivility as Professional Misconduct: Lawyer's State of Mind Matters

Relevant Excerpts from
The Majority's Reasons:


  [122]                              While I take no issue with the Appeal Panel’s approach, I am respectfully of the view that the Appeal Panel unreasonably found Mr. Groia guilty of professional misconduct. In assessing “what” Mr. Groia said, the Appeal Panel reiterated that misconduct allegations or other challenges to opposing counsel’s integrity cross the line into professional misconduct unless they are made in good faith and have a reasonable basis. The Appeal Panel accepted that Mr. Groia’s allegations of misconduct were made in good faith. It based its finding of professional misconduct primarily on the fact that his allegations lacked a reasonable basis. However, contrary to its own approach, the Appeal Panel used Mr. Groia’s sincerely held but erroneous legal beliefs to reach this conclusion — one which, as I have explained above at paras. 88-91, cannot be reasonable.

[123]                              Once the allegations of impropriety — what Mr. Groia said — are no longer in the mix, it becomes apparent that the other factors in this case cannot reasonably support a finding of professional misconduct against him. As I will explain, the frequency of Mr. Groia’s allegations was, to some extent, a product of the uncertainty surrounding the manner in which abuse of process allegations should be raised — a factor the Appeal Panel did not consider.

[124]                              Moreover, the trial judge took a largely hands off approach and did not direct Mr. Groia as to how he should be bringing his allegations. Eventually, the trial judge did intervene, albeit quite late in the day, and he instructed Mr. Groia not to keep repeating the same allegations over and over again, but to simply register his objection. In response, Mr. Groia complied, albeit with the odd slip. And when the reviewing courts admonished Mr. Groia for his behaviour during Phase One of the Felderhof trial, Phase Two proceeded entirely without incident. Again, the Appeal Panel did not factor the trial judge and reviewing courts’ response to Mr. Groia’s behaviour and how Mr. Groia modified his conduct thereafter into its analysis.

[125]                              Taking these factors into account, I am respectfully of the view that there is only one reasonable outcome in this matter: a finding that Mr. Groia did not engage in professional misconduct on account of incivility.


    The Supreme Court of Canada's decision to overturn the Law Society Tribunal Appeal Panel's decision is grounded in their finding that there must be subjective fault or intent on the part of the lawyer with respect to assertions of impropriety directed towards opposing counsel or the process. The court clearly recognized that the administration of justice and the public interest is better served by affording lawyers flexibility to make strong allegations where they believe them to be well founded. The same is true of advancing novel legal arguments.  Below is an excerpt of what the court said:


[88]                              That said, the reasonable basis requirement is not an exacting standard. I understand the Appeal Panel to have meant that allegations made without a reasonable basis are those that are speculative or entirely lacking a factual foundation. Crucially, as the Appeal Panel noted, allegations do not lack a reasonable basis simply because they are based on legal error: at para. 280. In other words, it is not professional misconduct to challenge opposing counsel’s integrity based on a sincerely held but incorrect legal position so long as the challenge has a sufficient factual foundation, such that if the legal position were correct, the challenge would be warranted.

[89]                              Nor is it professional misconduct to advance a novel legal argument that is ultimately rejected by the court. Many legal principles we now consider foundational were once controversial ideas that were fearlessly raised by lawyers. Such innovative advocacy ought to be encouraged — not stymied by the threat of being labelled, after the fact, as “unreasonable”.

[90]                              In my view, there are two reasons why law societies cannot use a lawyer’s legal errors to conclude that his or her allegations lack a reasonable basis. First, a finding of professional misconduct against a lawyer can itself be damaging to that lawyer’s reputation. Branding a lawyer as uncivil for nothing more than advancing good faith allegations of impropriety that stem from a sincerely held legal mistake is a highly excessive and unwarranted response.


[91]                              Second, inquiring into the legal merit of a lawyer’s position to conclude that his or her allegations lack a reasonable basis would discourage lawyers from raising well-founded allegations, impairing the lawyer’s duty of resolute advocacy. Prosecutorial abuse of process is extraordinarily serious. It impairs trial fairness and compromises the integrity of the justice system: Anderson, at paras. 49-50; R. v. O’Connor, [1995] 4 S.C.R. 411, at paras. 62-63. Defence lawyers play an integral role in preventing these dire consequences and holding other justice system participants accountable by raising reasonable allegations. Finding a lawyer guilty of professional misconduct on the basis of incivility for making an abuse of process argument that is based on a sincerely held but mistaken legal position discourages lawyers from raising these allegations, frustrating the duty of resolute advocacy and the client’s right to make full answer and defence


Commentary and Analysis:

   Regulatory bodies across Canada will need to reevaluate their approach on prosecuting lawyers for incivility in light of this ground-breaking decision from the Supreme Court of Canada.  Their prior approach to these prosecutions which appeared, at least to this observer, to view the fault requirement on these complaints along the lines of a strict liability offence must change.  

   Careful consideration will need to be taken to ascertain whether and to what extent they have evidence that the subject lawyer did not hold a good faith belief in their submissions or comments.  Perhaps even more significant - regulatory bodies will now need to take a more careful look at the source of the complaint against a lawyer.  Is the complaint coming from a party to the lis ?  Is the complaint coming from a source or party that may have an interest in undermining the subject lawyer's work ?  

   Complaints coming from administrative tribunals in the form of an addendum to their decisions which contain self-serving and illogical pronouncements such as "this conduct is not relevant to this decision" and which accuse the lawyer of bringing meritless motions and which are then widely published in the media and on social media by a member of the said tribunal ought to be carefully scrutinized so as not to adversely impact the legal rights of not only the subject of the complaint but the subject lawyer's client(s).(see for example - Justices of the Peace Hearing Panel in Re Massiah - Compensation Decision - On Twitter - see Deborah Livingstone@dresdengirrl - June 17, 2015)

   Similarly, complaints coming from a party to the lis such as the Crown in criminal matters should always be carefully scrutinized.   

   Above all, regulatory bodies will, now, more than ever, want to ensure that the proceedings which they do decide to bring to public hearings against lawyers for incivility have a strict adherence to fairness, transparency and public interest.  Persons associated with regulatory bodies which bring such proceedings against lawyers must be careful that they do not express strong and damning views in the media which can been seen by the public to be pre-judging or "rail-roading" the subject lawyer.
At the end of the day lawyer regulation must be seen to be done in the public interest.


About the author:

E.J. Guiste, like Mr. Joe Groia, believes that a lawyer's job is to fearlessly represent his client. This belief and the hostile reception he received from the JPRC Hearing Panel during his defence of H.W. Massiah led him to write A Catholic Lawyer's Prayer - a piece in which he shares with his readers the vulnerability of the advocate who stands up in strong defence of his client. Readers ought to read it.





Friday, May 18, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Lawyer's Disregard for Client's Claim of Innocence Violates 6th Amendment

  On May 14th, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court released a ground-breaking decision in McCoy  v.  Louisiana (No. 16-8255) which has clearly and properly circumscribed the trial management rights of lawyers in criminal cases in the United States.  The court made it abundantly clear that not all decisions with respect to how a criminal trial is to be conducted is reserved for the expertise of trial counsel. The court confirmed that the following decisions are reserved for the client: whether to plead guilty, waive the right to a jury trial, testify in one's own behalf and forgo an appeal. 

   Of great significance to legal profession is the Court's clear pronouncement that the acts of the lawyer in this case were not governed by the established jurisprudence on ineffective assistance of counsel which required the client to show prejudice from the representation. The Court seems to be very clear in its position that there are certain acts and omissions committed by lawyers in the trial process which are so significant and fundamental as to bring the Court's focus and attention not on the lawyer's competence but in this case the client's autonomy.

 
Basic Facts From 
the Case Headnote:

   The appellant was charged with murdering his estranged wife's mother, step-father and son. He pleaded not guilty insisting that he was out of State at the time of the killings and that corrupt police killed the victims when a drug deal went bad.  Although he vociferously insisted on his innocence and adamantly objected to any admission of guilt, the trial court permitted his counsel, Larry English, to tell the jury, during the trial's guilt phase, McCoy "committed the three murders"

   English's strategy was to concede that McCoy committed the murders, but argue that McCoy's mental state prevented him from forming the specific intent necessary for a first-degree murder conviction.  Over McCoy's repeated objection, English told the jury McCoy was the killer and that English "took the burden off of the prosecutor on that issue.  McCoy testified in his own defence, maintaining his innocence and pressing an alibi difficult to fathom. The jury found him guilty of all three first-degree murder counts.  At the penalty phase, English again conceded McCoy's guilt, but urged mercy in view of McCoy's mental and emotional issues.  The jury returned three death verdicts.

   Represented by new counsel, McCoy unsuccessfully sought a new trial.  The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's ruling that English had authority to concede guilt, despite McCoy's opposition.

Held:  The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to chose the objective of his defense and to insist that his counsel refrain from admitting guilt, even when counsel's experienced-based view is that confessing guilt offers the defendant the best chance to avoid the death penalty.

   (a)The Sixth Amendment guarantees to each criminal defendant "the Assistance of Counsel for his defence".  The defendant does not surrender control entirely to counsel, for the Sixth Amendment, in "granting to the accused personally the right to make his defense," "speaks of the "assistance" of counsel, and an assistant, however expert, is still an assistant."  Faretta  v. California 422 U.S. 806, 819-820

   (b)  The court distinguished Florida  v. Nixon, 543 U.S. 175.  Nixon's attorney did not negate Nixon's autonomy by overriding Nixon's desired defence objective, for Nixon was generally unresponsive during discussions of trial strategy and never verbally approved or protested counsel's proposed approach.  He complained about counsel's admission of his guilt only after trial.  McCoy, in contrast, opposed English's assertion of his guilt at every opportunity, before and during trial, both in conference with his lawyer and in open court. Citing Nix   v.  Whiteside 475 U.S. 157, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that English's refusal to maintain McCoy's innocence was necessitated by a Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct that prohibits counsel from suborning perjury.  But in Nix, the defendant told his lawyer that he intended to commit perjury.  Here, there was no avowed perjury. English harbored no doubt that McCoy believed what he was saying; English simply disbelieved that account in view of the prosecution evidence.  Louisiana's ethical rules might have stopped English from presenting McCoy's alibi evidence if English knew perjury was involved, but Louisiana has identified no ethical rule requiring English to admit McCoy's guilt over McCoy's objection.

   (c)  The Court's ineffective-assistance-of-counsel jurisprudence, see Strickland  v.  Washington, 466 U.S. 668, does not apply here, where the client's autonomy, not counsel's competence, is in issue.  To gain redress from attorney error, a defendant ordinarily must show prejudice.  See id, at 692.  But here, the violation of McCoy's protected autonomy right was complete when the court allowed counsel to usurp control of an issue within McCoy's sole prerogative.  Violation of a defendant's Sixth Amendment-secured autonomy has been ranked "structural error"; when present, such an error is not subject to harmless-error review.

   An error is structural if its is not designed to protect defendants from erroneous conviction, but instead protects some other interest, such as "the fundamental legal principle that a defendant must be allowed to make his own choices about the proper way to protect his own liberty."  Counsel's admission of a client's guilt over the client's express objection is error structural in kind, for it blocks the defendant's right to make a fundamental choice about his own defence. McCoy must therefore be accorded a new trial without any need to show prejudice.

Ginsburg, J, delivered the opinion of the Court in which Roberts C.J., and Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan JJ, joined. Alito, J. filed a dissenting opinion, in which Thomas and Gorsuch, JJ.., joined.


Sixth Amendment:

   In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature of the cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Commentary and Analysis:

   Perhaps the most significant point in this very significant decision is the Court's decision that jurisprudence on ineffective assistance of counsel does not apply in the special circumstances of this case.  The court's characterization of Mr. English's trial strategy of usurping the client's decision on how to proceed in terms of guilt or innocence as structural error is not only practical and sensible but strongly rooted in the recognition that liberty is a fundamental personal right which must be controlled by the individual.  Once this right is taken from the individual their liberty is compromised or violated.

About the author:

E.J. Guiste is a trial and appeal lawyer based in the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada.  He handles both trial and appeal work on criminal and civil matters.