The following letter is from the late Charles Roach (circa late 1989) on the topic of Harry Kopyto’s disbarment:
From Charles Roach
To Harry Kopyto and Party
As a person central to the negotiation and preparation of the Agreed Statement of Facts upon which the Benchers of the Law Society saw fit to disbar Harry, I have to shake my head in disgust.
Before my very eyes I saw how Harry was set up. I did not for a moment think that any of those honourable benchers would subvert the negotiated plea to negligence and find that Harry committed a fraud upon legal aid.
It should be made known that the legal aid investigators in their report stated that the facts as they found them did not support a charge of fraud.
At no time during the proceedings was fraud ever alleged by the Law Society. At no time did the prosecutors for the Law Society allege recklessness on Harry’s part. The Agreed Statement did not concede fraud or recklessness. Yet the Benchers found there was recklessness amounting to fraud.
I am numbed by the fact that such a miscarriage of justice could happen in the inner sanctum of Ontario lawyers. Had there been a developed code of professional conduct. In the criminal law one could not be.
There has to be decency involved in plea bargaining. One has to have trust that the adjudicators will be sensitive to the process and the delicate balances worked out by prosecutor and respondent to save the system time and expense. The Benchers subverted that principle in this case.
Long after we are gone from the face of this earth, future generations will examine the Kopyto case and find it a shabby episode in the history of the Law Society. But the truth of the matter will be out one day. We hope the Courts can erase this nasty blot on the record of Law Society Discipline procedures.