A snowy armagedon was pending. The school system had ground to a halt. The City was shutting down! None of this kept over 30 dedicated supporters from showing up on Wednesday February 2nd to participate as sentinels of public scrutiny at Harry Kopyto’s Law Society (LSUC) good character hearing. Far from playing a passive role, they understood that their presence would influence the outcome of the hearing which is scheduled to continue this Friday February 4th at Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto.
While the wind and snow raged outside, inside the Hearing Room, Harry turned up the heat with a feisty exposition on the disclosure obligations of the Law Society. Although he is seeking disclosure for a number of issues, his central demand is for the records that will prove that the LSUC’s takeover of paralegals was based exclusively on seeking to eliminate their more affordable competitors.
In contrast to the two previous hostile panels who disintegrated after tangling with Harry, Margot Blight, who is chairing the current three person panel, after a few tense moments, adopted a more conciliatory stance. She refused to deal with a motion brought by the LSUC’s prosecutors to quash his constitutional challenge to the paralegal takeover law. She listened attentively to his argument that the LSUC had a heavy burden to provide broad disclosure, often summarising his arguments. She accommodated those in the audience who provided public oversight by adjourning the hearing early to allow them time to return to their homes as far away as Muskoka and Stratford.
Just how does Ms. Blight intend to run these proceedings? She is a confident and sophisticated adjudicator, sensitive to the need to appear fair and impartial. She is familiar with the law.
But will she do justice in this case? Or is it all a facade?
Will she respect Harry’s right to get the information he deserves? Or will she merely use neatly folded arguments to do him in?
Will she give him the ammunition he needs to defend himself? Or will she worry that he may use that ammunition against Big Law?
Will she direct the LSUC to “open its books” so that the rot will be visible? Or will she simply emerge as a more polished defender of the legal elite with whom she appears to feel very much at home?
She was chosen to chair the panel to deal with a “difficult” case. Her past history is to put out fires in public institutions. Kopyto’s demands for information could end up undermining those very people who she has competently served in her legal career so far. Is she a “soft cop”? Or will she do right by him?
The LSUC has changed tactics but has it changed its strategy? Harry’s story—a story of a lifelong struggle for justice—is unfolding at Osgoode Hall.
The disclosure arguments continue this Friday morning (Feb 4) at 9:30 am at the Museum Room, Osgoode Hall. Ms. Blight is expected to make her ruling. The weather will be better. Your presence is needed so that Harry’s judges will know that they are also being judged. Join us. It’s important.
HARRY KOPYTO DEFENCE COMMITTEE