Robert Ian Histed v. Law Society of Manitoba
(Manitoba) (Civil) (By Leave)
Law of professions - Discipline, Barristers and solicitors - Law of professions — Discipline — Barristers and solicitors — Law Society bringing disciplinary proceedings against lawyer based on lawyer’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Crown counsel — Lawyer found guilty of professional misconduct by disciplinary tribunal — Whether a lawyer’s in court professional conduct is to be measured against the standard of reasonableness or correctness — Whether and the extent to which the law society’s power to punish a lawyer for incivility in defence of his client is subject to the rights and freedoms guaranteed to both lawyer and client under the Charter — Whether it is an abuse of process, and a denial of an accused’s right to make full answer and defence, for the law society to collaterally attack ongoing criminal proceedings before the courts by harassing their lawyers with citations — Whether palpable errors of fact overrode the discipline panel’s findings of misconduct and led to the wrong result — Whether it is error in law for the law society to pronounce a lawyer’s speech to be professional misconduct without troubling to give reasons.
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The applicant is a lawyer who was charged with four counts of professional misconduct by the respondent, Law Society of Manitoba (“law society”), including failure to be courteous and civil and to act in good faith towards persons with whom he had dealings. The charges related to the applicant’s allegations of prosecutorial misconduct about a Crown attorney and the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (“Crown counsel”). The applicant’s allegations were made in correspondence with Crown counsel and the law society, and in court documents and oral submissions in the course of the applicant’s representation of a client. The discipline panel of the law society found that the applicant embellished and misrepresented his communications with the Crown and that he did not have adequate evidentiary basis for his claims against Crown counsel. It determined he breached his duty of civility, his duty to his client, and his duty to the court by misrepresenting facts in his briefs and oral argument. The Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s appeal.
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