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LAWYER SUSPENDED FOR TAKING CLIENT DRUGS

By Alfa, Jul 15, 2004 | | |
  1. Alfa
    LAWYER SUSPENDED FOR TAKING CLIENT DRUGS

    Gauthier Didn't Stop Inmate Who Took Cocaine To Her Client

    TORONTO - An Ottawa lawyer who brought a syringe cointaining cocaine
    hidden inside a chocolate bar into the city jail has been suspended
    from practising law for a month.

    In a split decision, a three-member disciplinary panel of the Law
    Society of Upper Canada, which regulates lawyers in Ontario, accepted
    a joint submission and found Rose-Lyne Gauthier guilty of "conduct
    unbecoming a solicitor."

    She was banned from practising law for the month of August and ordered
    to pay $1,000 to cover the costs of the hearing.

    "It was a mistake on your part. You have weathered it with courage,"
    said Toronto lawyer John Campion, who chaired the disciplinary panel.

    Mr. Campion and Allan Gotlib, a chiropractor appointed by the province
    to serve as a "lay bencher" with the law society, agreed to impose the
    one-month suspension.

    The third member of the panel, lawyer Robert Aaron, disagreed and
    suggested a reprimand would have been a more appropriate penalty. Mr.
    Aaron was sharply critical of the law society for its delay in
    proceeding with the disciplinary hearing, which took place more than
    two years after the end of Ms. Gauthier's criminal trial.

    "She has been under the fear of the guillotine of disbarment for two
    years. What is going on at the law society that it took two years?"
    asked Mr. Aaron.

    Naomi Overend, a lawyer for the law society, said it was required to
    investigate issues "not addressed in the criminal trial."

    Ms. Gauthier fought back tears yesterday as she made a brief statement
    to the panel.

    "I wish to repeat my apologies to the members of the profession and
    the law society," Ms. Gauthier said.

    The family and real estate lawyer pleaded guilty to an accessory
    charge in March 2002. A Superior Court judge imposed a suspended
    sentence and two years probation, as well as 180 hours of community
    work. Ms. Gauthier originally faced five charges, including
    trafficking. Four charges were withdrawn.

    Ms. Gauthier has admitted she brought the chocolate bar, as well as a
    can of pop and a medical textbook, to the Innes Road jail during a
    visit to her client, Richard Condo, in October 2000. The lawyer, who
    had only been practising for about a year at the time of the incident,
    was representing Mr. Condo on a
    child custody matter.

    Mr. Condo, who has more than 80 criminal convictions, was declared a
    long-term offender in 2001. His crimes include the kidnapping and
    aggravated assault of his estranged wife.

    Guards at the jail refused to allow Ms. Gauthier to visit her client.
    She returned a short time later and asked for a visit with another
    inmate who was housed in the same area. The lawyer was observed
    placing the pop on the table along with the chocolate bar, which was
    still in its wrapper.

    The candy had been obtained from a friend of Mr. Condo's and was
    believed to be either a Snickers or Mars bar. The inmate immediately
    inserted the chocolate bar in his rectum. He was strip-searched and
    placed in a "dry cell."

    The guards discovered an empty syringe that contained minute traces of
    cocaine and THC.

    "The law society is not alleging the member knowingly or was wilfully
    blind in bringing in drugs" to the jail, Ms. Overend said. Instead,
    the law society lawyer suggested Ms. Gauthier was guilty of a "sin of
    omission.

    "When the inmate inserted the chocolate bar into his rectum, at that
    point the member was obliged to act," said Ms. Overend.

    The panel heard Ms. Gauthier was questioned by the jail guards about
    the incident, but denied anything had happened or that there might
    have been potential criminal activity.

    Ottawa lawyer Douglas Baum, who also represented Ms. Gauthier in the
    criminal proceeding, told the panel the publicity from this case has
    been "very trying for her in the public arena."

    He noted that the incident occurred nearly four years ago and Ms.
    Gauthier has been waiting for more than two years to learn if she
    would be disbarred.

    Ms. Gauthier is a single mother of two teenagers who returned to law
    school in the late 1990s when she was in her late 30s.

    "The future looked bright and then this happened. She has learned her
    lesson. This behaviour will never reoccur," said Mr. Baum.

Comments

  1. str8ballin
    It took 4 years for them to decide to suspend her for only a month? She's lucky thats all she got off with.



    She must have been very committed to her client if she's gonna sneak a cocaine filled syringe into a jailhouse!



    I bet that guy had one hell of a rush for a short time.That would be worth sitting in a "dry cell" to me!
  2. Psilocybe S.
    what the fuck is the point of sending in a serenge with out cocaine it it, when the purpose was to have cocaine in it? Do you think all the coke came out into that guys ass when he was sticking the cholcoate bar up his ass?
  3. maxmoe
    Man, at the rate you pay these lawyers they better bring me drugs!
  4. white_lighter
    damn seems like they let you do whatever you want in canada
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