The clock ticking down on Kopyto v Law Society – Thursday July 7th at Osgoode Hall

Kopyto faces the Law Society (LSUC) again on Thursday July 7, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. at Osgoode Hall, Museum Room.  As before, he will appear before the three-person panel headed by Margot Blight which will determine if he has the good character to continue working as a paralegal.

 

The July 7th hearing will deal with the final pretrial motion to be brought by Harry.  Most of his motions have been argued over several days of hearings held during the last winter and spring.  Some additional motions were deferred to be dealt with after the hearing of the evidence against him. The disclosure motions brought by Harry were almost entirely decided in his favour after the prosecution stonewalled the production of documents vital to Harry’s defence for almost two years.

Panel Chair Margot Blight has yet to release any decisions on the other important procedural issues raised by Harry, let alone deciding if it will even hear his constitutional challenge to the Access to Justice Act which gave lawyers monopoly control over their more affordable paralegal competitors at the expense of citizens’ access to justice.  Blight is playing her cards close to her chest.  A wrong decision could derail the prosecution and result in a successful appeal.  Her Panel was the last of three panels assigned to Harry’s case. The first two were demolished by Harry.  Blight’s handlers don’t want to lose again in one of the few remaining prosecutions against grandparented paralegals.

 

The July 7th motion (a companion hearing date scheduled for July 27th has now been cancelled) involves a constitutional challenge to the procedure being followed in his case. A paralegal applicant must prove his/her good character on a balance of probabilities.  But Harry has worked as a legal advocate his whole worklife.  His legal advocacy role grows out of the central purpose and passion of his life, which is to fight for justice. The Charter of Rights, through Section 7, protects values of integrity and personal autonomy that would be breached by retroactively ruling that he cannot continue to work as a paralegal. Therefore, Harry argues, such serious consequences require a higher standard of proof in his good character hearing; namely, evidence that would meet a standard of certainty, not mere probability.

 

Similarly, Harry will argue that the burden of presenting such proof should lie on the Law Society throughout the entire hearing.  At present, the Law Society’s self-produced practices limit its obligation to merely raise good character issues before shifting the burden on the paralegal to prove his or her good character.

 

These procedural safeguards, Harry will argue, are needed because of the potential major disruption to choices of central importance to Harry’s self-definition and integrity made by him decades before the law requiring a Law Society license for paralegals was passed.

 

Following the July 7th appearance, the Law Society will prepare for the actual trial, which will follow if his constitutional challenge to the takeover law is not successful.  In this next stage, the LSUC prosecution will call witnesses to attack Harry’s character.  Harry will have a chance to confront them and call his own witnesses as well as testify. That part of the hearing will likely be scheduled starting in September.

 

The LSUC hearings to date have usually attracted 40 or more supporters to each hearing who provided public support and oversaw the proceedings. Public presence on July 7th is no less important than in the past.  Show your solidarity.  We need you to be there.

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