Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Toronto Star Demonstrated Small Mindedness in Civility Prosecution Coverage

On June 24th, 2011 a disciplinary panel of the Law Society of Upper Canada reprimanded me for conduct which they found constituted unprofessional conduct on my part. The panel ordered the reprimand at a little before 4 p.m. Peter Small a journalist with the Toronto Star was in attendance and his story was published in the Toronto Star by dinner time that evening. The lead sentence of the internet version of his story was "The Law Society of Upper Canada has reprimanded a lawyer for rude, profane and aggressive behaviour".

I have been consistent in my view that the manner in which most of the conventional media covers legal issues is wanting in that the reporting is merely conclusionary and often appears to be advocacy on behalf of one interest or another. The Toronto Star's coverage is no exception and provides a splendid illustration of my point. My prosecution was divided into two parts - liability and penalty. The liability portion took place on December 13th and 14th, 2010. I testified extensively and my testimony was subjected to cross-examination. The penalty hearing took place on June 24th, 2011. The Toronto Star only attended the penalty hearing. As one who reads the Toronto Star daily I expected more of them in their decision to cover this story.

In this post I will highlight the four year history of my prosecution from start to finish.

Case History:

- Parties attended a mandatory mediation session on or about June 21st, 2007 at which time the utterances were made;
- All participants to the mediation including the Mediator signed a comprehensive confidentiality agreement;
- June 27th, 2007 or so the Mediator releases his report which encourages
further mediation and is silent on any professional misconduct;
- August 1st 2007 Mr. J. Goodman and his client Novopharm filed a complaint with the LSUC. This complaint alleged the following:

1. I told him to "Shove it(his offer)up your ass";
2. I stated "You don't have to grab a tit for it to be sexual
3. That I negotiated directly with their client, Novopharm;and
4. An allegation that I was rude to a staff member at their office.

****- June 2008 LSUC closes complaint with a caution after investigation. ****

- July, 2008 Mr. Jeffrey Goodman appeals the caution seeking a greater penalty.
- July, 2009 the scope of the cocmplaint is expanded by the LSUC to include various e mails and letters between counsel both prior to and after the original complaint;
- Scope of the complaint is expanded further when Justice Basel writes directly to the Treasurer of the LSUC alleging that I missed 3 or 4 judicial pre-trials. This complaint is later amended to assert that I failed to treat the court with courtesy and respect;

****- September 24th, 2009 LSUC issues press release announcing Civility Protocol;****

- December 13, 14th, 2010 I testified that I understood that the confidentiality agreement which I signed prior to the mediaiton session made my utterances about Novopharm's offer and their position that there was in fact no sexual harassment of my client immune from prosecution;

- March 8th, 2011 the Panel ruled that the confidentiality agreement did not protect my speech from prosecution and proceeded to find me guilty on three and a half of six counts;

- July 5th, 2011 Panel releases order dated June 24th, 2011 providing for the non-disclosure of evidence from the hearing which may disclose Novopharm's confidentiality interest in the settlement.

NOTE: This piece is written for the sole purpose of drawing attention to issue of public importance, namely, the failure of the Toronto Star to properly cover a story with significant public interest.

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