April 11, 2014
Does Harry Kopyto believe in the rule of law? The Law Society says no. Harry says yes.
The attack on Harry comes from his representation of clients who can’t afford to pay high-priced lawyers. A by-law of the Law Society forbids paralegals from doing lawyers’ work.
Harry explains it this way. Read the rest of this entry »
April 4, 2014
What do the following people have in common?
- A sightless, unemployed, young black man who successfully sued a bank for discriminating against him.
- A pharmacist who exhausted her life savings of $120,000 on lawyers’ fees and, unrepresented, conducted a week-long matrimonial trial which she won hands down. She had the help of a paralegal who charged her less than 2% of what she had previously spent in legal fees.
- A Cuban immigrant with no income and unable to speak English sued by a plaintiff who hired a high-priced lawyer from the biggest law firm in Canada. He succeeded miraculously in blocking the plaintiff’s lawsuit against him.
- A man who suffered a serious brain injury in a head-on car accident on a highway when he was ten years old. He finally shared his story in a trial against the doctor and hospital which did nothing to diagnose and treat him years earlier as they were legally bound to do.
- An elderly, disabled man who needed a patient, committed advocate to defend his dignity against a hospital and long-term care facility that abused him and denied him his rights. He eventually won his case in the courts.
- A disabled property manager who was fired when he revealed fraudulent activities by his superiors and then pursued a civil suit against them. He had help from a paralegal who did legal work over several years on the case for less than $1,000.
- A young person charged with a criminal offence who was denied Legal Aid. He was represented by a paralegal for a twenty dollar bill.
- Members of a Vietnamese family who sought, in various court cases, and never received to this day, a meaningful explanation for the death of their mother and wife while she was visiting the emergency department of a hospital for a medical complaint. They are still seeking an explanation from the hospital.
- A nurse whose daughter was stillborn filed a complaint against a coroner for failing to carry out a mandated autopsy on the fetus which the hospital claimed had been done. Her complaint against the coroner gathered dust for five years until the Coroners’ Council which disciplines coroners was abolished. Her complaint was the only one outstanding at that time and was never adjudicated.
- Representatives of 300 nurses, most of whom were members of minorities, needed an effective advocate to appear before the Ontario Labour Relations Board to fight against a trusteeship imposed upon their union local by a bureaucratic union leadership. The representative they chose exposed the union’s manipulation and deceit in undermining their democratically elected local executive.
- A person wrongly convicted of assault could only afford $200 as legal fees to pay someone to do all his paperwork on an appeal of his wrongful conviction. The appeal was successful and he was completely exonerated.
- An elderly woman in her eighties went to court sixty years after being jailed in Toronto under the Female Refuges Act in 1939 for marrying a Chinese man. She was completely exonerated, received financial compensation, an official apology from the Premier of Ontario and became a cause célèbre in the public sphere.
- The father of a seven-year-old child was barred from helping his son dress or allowed to enter the dressing room after hockey games. The son was forced to change his clothes in public on a stairwell of the freezing hockey arena. His son won the lawsuit against the hockey association. He received an apology, compensation, and the policy barring parents from access to their children was dumped.
- A young black man stopped two dozen times by cops while driving a flashy car without ever being convicted of anything. He faced down each cop that stopped him in a court case which allowed him to expose the harassment he suffered and defend his dignity.
- A young man wrongly charged with various criminal offences who could not afford a $20,000 retainer to pay a lawyer he had asked to defend him. He was exonerated in court on all but one of the charges for which he received an absolute discharge. He was represented in multiple appearances by a paralegal who charged him less than 5% of the amount initially quoted as legal fees.
- A mother of two children appeared in family court seeking representation by a paralegal. The judge tampered, in fourteen different places, with the official court transcript of the hearing during which he denied the mother the right to be represented by the paralegal. The judge was exposed for falsifying the transcript and was found guilty of judicial misconduct by the Ontario Judicial Council.
What do all these persons have in common? They were only some of the character witnesses who appeared personally to attest to Harry Kopyto’s good character during the last few months of 2013 and the first few months of 2014 before a three-person Law Society (LSUC) Hearing Panel chaired by establishment lawyer Margot Blight. They were all helped or represented by paralegal candidate Harry Kopyto who provided them with access to affordable justice.
No One Came Knocking on His Door
The Law Society charges that Harry has poor moral character because he engaged in unauthorized practice by helping many of these clients who testified about him. Harry breached a Law Society by-law by providing legal services only lawyers are allowed to perform. Therefore, Harry is ungovernable. He does not follow rules. So there, Kopyto! Begone! Read the rest of this entry »
March 19, 2014
Blight is Trying to Walk on Water
Shall we laugh or cry? That is the real question arising out of Margot Blight’s written decision not to recuse herself as Chair of Harry Kopyto’s good character Hearing Panel.
It took Margot Blight six and a half months―until March 12, 2014― to release her reasons. It’s a good thing you didn’t hold your breath. If there was any doubt about her bias and conflict, it’s dissipated by her twisted excuses.
Is there a conflict of interest? Blight says no. But how does she get around the fact that she represented the Catholic School Board that Mike Giftopoulos, a key witness for Harry at the hearing before her, claims discriminated against him by refusing him to work full-time hours? And the fact that her colleague still represents the Board? The answer, she pleads, is simple. Read the rest of this entry »
March 17, 2014
If there was one single day that exemplified the essence of the Law Society’s bias and conflict of interest in judging Harry Kopyto’s moral character, it was Tuesday March 4, 2014. Come join us to review the theatrical production that took place.
There was Harry at the podium―stubby and unshaven―shirt hanging out over his pants, bluntly questioning his witness, as usual without notes. There was Panel Chair Margot Blight, demur and affable, with the usual smile pasted on her face except for occasional flashes of anger and a nervous habit of chewing her fingernails that reveal her real mood. She was sitting between her two fellow Panel members, stern paralegal Michelle Tamlin and public appointee Baljit Sikand, always ready to soften Blight’s rough edges. There were also Law Society counsel, Susan Heakes and Anne Catherine Dionne. They were sitting to Harry’s right, ready to pounce whenever opportunity allowed. And there was Mike Giftopoulos, Harry’s character witness, fidgeting uncomfortably at the witness table in surroundings that were clearly unfamiliar to him.
The stage was set. The Panel was straining to create an atmosphere of dignity in Osgoode Hall’s austere Museum Room. Everyone’s role was defined. Nothing appeared amiss. It was just―on the surface―one more day out of dozens and dozens of other hearing days.
Each day, Harry’s moral character is the subject of detailed dissection by the gatekeepers of moral rectitude, who decide who can be an advocate in Ontario’s courts. Everyone knows what the denouncement will be. However, the masquerade party still has a couple of days to go before the masks are doffed. Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2014
(Next hearing: Tuesday March 4th @ 9:30 AM in the Museum room at Osgoode Hall)
Kopyto’s last witness in his good character hearing next Tuesday (March 4th) will be a client of Harry’s named Mike. He will testify about how he is a victim of discrimination by his employer and about how Harry is doing a good job representing him in a human rights case.
Mike is a teacher. He had a heart ailment that required him to take time off from his teaching job in a high school in Hamilton. Mike got better and his doctor cleared him to return to full-time work. But the Roman Catholic School Board insisted that he could only come back and work part-time. The Board did not have medical grounds for doing so. They even threatened to call the police to remove him from the school when he continued to work one afternoon. So Mike filed a human rights complaint alleging discrimination against him because of his disability.
One in a Million Coincidence
Now it gets interesting.
The school board hired a lawyer. In one of those one-in-a-million coincidences, that lawyer’s name was Margot Blight. The same Margot Blight that is the Chair of the three-person Panel judging Harry’s character. The same Margot Blight that Mike will have to testify before at Harry’s character hearing next Tuesday. The same Margot Blight who was the architect of the school board’s defence against Mike in his human rights complaint. The same Margot Blight that authored the false allegations contained in the documents that Mike will refer to while he is in the witness stand to prove the discrimination against him at the hearing next Tuesday.
There is more. Read the rest of this entry »
February 12, 2014
Harry Kopyto’s Law Society hearings are continuing tomorrow Thursday February 13th and Tuesday February 18th (hearings have also been scheduled for Tuesday March 4th and Wednesday March 5th). Harry’s clients will be appearing on these days as witnesses to testify about their cases and Harry’s role in helping them fight for justice.
The three-person Panel judging Harry’s character has yet to provide reasons why its Chair, Margot Blight, refused to recuse herself even though she placed herself in a conflict by acting professionally against one of his witnesses, Mike Giftopoulos. It is now four months since she was formally challenged to withdraw and almost six months since Harry first raised the conflict.
Last November, Ms. Blight announced that the reasons were “half-finished”. When Kopyto raised the lengthy delay during his hearing on February 10th, Ms. Blight apologized profusely but pooh-poohed his request that she render her decision before Mr. Giftopolous testifies so that at least his client’s anxiety of having his evidence weighed by a judge who opposed his Human Rights Complaint would be lessened by a decision that would explain Ms. Blight’s decision to remain on the panel. It is clear that Ms. Blight is out for blood.
With the Panel’s neutrality in tatters and all the witnesses hammering home Harry’s sterling efforts to help them, often for little or no financial charge, your presence and support at these upcoming hearings is more important then ever.
The hearings continue at Osgoode Hall which can best be accessed through the Law Society’s entrance off City Hall Square on the east side of the building in downtown Toronto. They start at 9:30 a.m. Show your solidarity and support. Be there.
February 5, 2014
The Law Society will be proceeding with its hearings into Harry’s character at Osgoode Hall on Monday February 10, 2014 and on Thursday February 13, 2014. There is an additional hearing scheduled for Tuesday February 18, 2014.
The hearings will all be starting at 9:30 a.m. However, they will not take place in the Museum Room which has been the usual venue. The venue for the Monday February 10th hearing will be in the Lamont Learning Centre. The hearing on Thursday February 13th will be in the Lower Barrister Room. Both rooms are on the first floor of Osgoode Hall.
The easiest way to access the hearing rooms is through the Law Society entrance into Osgoode Hall which is on the east side of Osgoode Hall off the City Hall Square.
Most of the witnesses who will be testifying will be Harry’s clients. Everyone is encouraged to attend and show their solidarity and support for Harry as well as for his clients and other witnesses testifying on his behalf.