[Note: original post stated incorrectly “Monday February 3rd”; corrected to Monday February 4th]
The Blight Panel’s rush to make an order to limit Harry Kopyto from testifying in defence of his character never materialized on January 23, 2013 to the surprise and astonishment of over twenty-five supporters who braved a blistering, snowy morning to attend to support Harry. The Panel did not even mention Blight’s edict to block Kopyto that she ominously proclaimed she would announce that morning.
Of course, the order will be made. But only after the Panel rules on the outstanding disclosure motion that Harry brought returnable on Monday February 4, 2013, Harry’s next hearing date. That motion seeks disclosure of Harry Kopyto’s disbarment file. If granted, this disclosure will clearly impact on the length of Kopyto’s personal testimony. Blight did not appear to factor it into her thinking when she announced at the end of the January 7, 2013 hearing that she will impose a time limit on Kopyto by 10:00 a.m. on January 23rd. How can she time-limit Harry in giving his personal testimony when she has not even ruled yet on his entitlement to get documents from the Law Society that he has the right to testify about? Her error was amateurish. It would have been embarrassing to put it explicitly on the record.
Blight’s main strength as a case management maven rushing difficult cases to rapid conclusions is also her greatest weakness. Her attempt to jump the gun on Kopyto’s disclosure request exposed her focus on getting the hearing over even at the expense of denying Harry an opportunity to pursue his disclosure rights. She thought it was best to ignore rather than openly acknowledge her error. Like so much else happening in the hearing room (not unlike Alice in Wonderland), pretending something doesn’t exist, in the collective mind of the Panel, makes it go away.
The decision to limit Kopyto’s personal testimony at his hearing resulted from a motion brought by the Law Society prosecution team in December, 2012. Every time Harry exposes with concrete evidence the persecutorial and devious behaviour of the Law Society towards him, the LSUC prosecutors declare that such evidence is “unhelpful”. So, when Harry asks for disclosure of the Law Society’s dirty campaign against Harry in connection with his disbarment, the LSUC prosecutors intone the same breathless mantra that such evidence is “unhelpful”. Kopyto is then forced to jump through hoops before the Panel will even think of giving him such records to complete his testimony.
Kopyto’s “good character” hearing was initiated in 2009, two years after he applied to be grandparented. (That’s a two-year delay by the LSUC that the LSUC pretends doesn’t exist when accusing Harry of delay). Since then, he has gone through 75 hearing days, more or less. Harry’s is the only paralegal admission hearing still outstanding.
The LSUC prosecution, in its motion material, seeks to give Harry only two or three more days to complete his personal evidence, insisting he doesn’t need any further disclosure from them. “Unhelpful” testimony and evidence in this context is anything that exposes the privileged and unjust character of the institution that is the Law Society of Upper Canada. On January 7, 2013, the Panel ordered Kopyto to file “a detailed plan” of his remaining evidence with time estimates for each evidentiary subject. If he refused, the Panel announced it would arbitrarily limit his testimony. Kopyto challenged such an order. He explained that his evidence was based on public record exhibits. The presentation of this evidence couldn’t be organized into neat and discrete categories. This could only be done if evidence is given in a topical or chronological manner. That was not Harry’s style of presentation. He therefore accused the Panel of interfering with his style of presentation of his evidence which the order made by the Panel clearly impinged. Blight refused to acknowledge that her order breached Harry’s right to present his evidence in whatever way he wants (which is his right). On this point, the Panel remains in denial. By pretending that it is not doing what it is clearly doing, the Panel (like Alice through the looking glass) loses credibility and loses touch with reality. Harry can never be right. The Panel can never be wrong.
But we should not kid ourselves. The promise to limit Kopyto is very much alive, notwithstanding the premature announcement as to when the limitation will be announced. As Kopyto delves deeper into his evidence and exhibits, the Panel grows increasingly uneasy. The evidence overwhelmingly establishes Harry’s good character, to the Panel’s bewilderment and dismay, given his status as a disbarred lawyer (“a judicial fact that cannot be questioned,” as Ms. Blight has noted).
Kopyto argues that he is entitled to the disclosure of the LSUC’s disbarment file to flesh out several issues. One of these issues relates to his alleged non-cooperation with the LSUC’s investigation of his character. Blight is very confident in attacking Kopyto on this point. However, Kopyto contends that he didn’t refuse to cooperate with the Law Society’s appointed investigator who has since discredited himself—evidenced by an embarrassing revelation regarding abuse that he had engaged in as a Toronto cop before his resurrection as a LSUC investigator. Harry advised the investigator, Adrian Greenaway, that he would cooperate as long as he received full disclosure of the LSUC’s documents that would be the subject of his interview with Greenaway. The disbarment file, Kopyto will likely argue in his disclosure motion, would offer dramatic proof to justify his wariness in dealing with Greenaway. There appears to be wisdom in Harry’s decision not to fall into a trap of meeting Greenaway without being properly prepared and informed as to the nature of the allegations against him.
Kopyto’s disclosure motion is also relevant to other defences advanced by him in his hearings before the Blight Panel. These defences will be elaborated in a subsequent blog posting to be released shortly. In the meantime, everyone is urged to back Harry’s right to full disclosure by attending the February 4th hearing next Monday at 9:30 a.m., Museum Room, Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto. Keep the Panel under the limelight of public scrutiny.