Both myself and my colleague, Paul Doroshenko, are known for the ways in which we stick our necks out in the interests of justice. Doing so has its benefits, mostly because we know we are sticking up for the little guy and there is great satisfaction that comes from fighting for a cause that you believe is just. I am particularly active in defending Immediate Roadside Prohibition cases, and have advanced numerous complex, technical, and creative legal arguments. I do not always succeed, but I do cause the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles some difficulty.
However, there are also downsides to doing what we do. And if you've noticed the silence in my blog as of late, the downsides are part of the explanation.
I was recently the subject of two attacks on my character by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. One came in the form of a proceeding in BC Supreme Court seeking to have me disqualified from representing any clients before the Superintendent, in perpetuity, or to specifically disqualify me on a number of my existing cases. It also named the other lawyers at my firm and Acumen Law Corporation. The other came in the form of an argument that I had engaged in misconduct for doing what I am ethically obligated to do: defend my clients to the best of my ability, advancing every possible argument.
Ian Mulgrew wrote a story for the Vancouver Sun about these allegations, and recognized the absurdity of them. The Superintendent has since backed off on both fronts.
My belief has been that these attacks were a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate me and persuade me not to take on so many significant cases. I say thinly veiled because the Attorney General wanted a Court Order to prevent me from doing just that. There's an old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I guess the flip side of that is that if you can't beat them or join them, then you should try to destroy them. During the height of this, I joked to Paul that generally when people say that the Government is out to get them they come off as crazy. In my case, I could say it in sincerity, with filed pleadings to back it up.
I'm not one to back down, and I did not take these allegations or these attacks lightly. I spent money out of my own pocket defending myself and my colleagues, and I put in countless hours preparing material and evidence to support my case. The unfortunate result is that this distracted me from things like writing my blog. But in no way did it convince me to back down. While all of this was going on, I was still arguing judicial review cases in BC Supreme Court. I've had a streak of successful decisions, including two prohibitions that were sent back for re-hearing after my successful arguments last week alone. I've filed an application for leave to appeal a decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, and I've appeared in the Court of Appeal to argue pro-bono for a client's case. I argued an interesting jurisdictional question on a driving while prohibited charge, and am awaiting a decision in June, 2016.
But personal projects like the blog, or my love of iZombie and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have had to fall by the wayside.
The effect of this all has only been to refocus my efforts against fighting the Immediate Roadside Prohibition legislation and to try to make the process fairer and more reasonable. Tomorrow, I appear again in BC Supreme Court on an important argument relating to statutory interpretation. The Government wanted to make me back down. They wanted to distract me. It hasn't happened, and it won't.
I may have been quiet, but I haven't been gone. I'm still taking cases, and still interested in advancing important causes. The Government might try to cut me, but I'm still sticking my neck out.
Vancouver Criminal Lawyer with a focus on impaired driving, cannabis legalization and related issues, and immediate roadside prohibition defence.