WHAT WILL MARGOT BLIGHT DO?
Will panel Chair Margot Blight deal fairly with her financial conflict of interest and her appearance of bias on October 16, 2013 when Harry will ask her to recuse herself (see the last two blog articles)?
Don’t hold your breath.
Consider her record on this issue so far:
- On August 29, Harry Kopyto advised Margot Blight that one of his witnesses in his good character hearing would be Michael Giftopoulos. Kopyto had informed her 9 days earlier that he had been retained by Michael in a human rights complaint that Mike had filed against his employer, represented by Ms. Blight. She immediately resigned from the file to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest. However, the fact that Mike would now appear as a witness devastated her effort to appear uninvolved.
- She immediately realized that 3 years of hearings before her and 5 years of Law Society hearings in total could be wasted. Accordingly, Ms. Blight blatantly ignored the procedure set out for resolving a bias or conflict issue in the Adjudicator’s Code of Conduct which required her to immediately rule on whether or not she was in a conflict of interest based on submissions made to her by both parties. Instead, she ordered Harry to bring a motion to have her recused. This gave the Law Society some breathing space to devise a scheme to save her butt, but it also entangled her further in a procedure from which she is required to take her distance.
- On the August 29 hearing date, Ms. Blight resourcefully conceptualized, for the Law Society prosecution eagerly taking notes, a strategy to allow her to retain her position as chair of the panel judging Harry’s moral character. She encouraged them to try to eliminate Michael Giftopoulos as a witness for Harry at his good character hearing. Wow!—Thank you for not taking sides, Ms. Blight.
- Instead of minimizing her conflict by passing the file in which she acted against Michael to a disinterested and previously uninvolved law firm, Blight decided to have her firm continue to represent the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board against the human rights complaint filed by Michael Giftopoulos. Money trumps neutrality ever time!
The blog article below documents how Blight’s conduct as panel chair from day one has never been neutral. She overrode multiple fundamental principles of natural justice in her determination to carry out the task assigned to her by her Law Society handlers—to drive Kopyto, a thorn in the side of a the legal system for decades, out of his career as a legal advocate.
Readers of the blog are encouraged to attend the motion that Harry has brought to remove Margot Blight as panel chair. There is an unmistakable and egregious appearance of conflict and bias. Witnesses who have been previously excluded are invited to attend the motion hearing on Wednesday October 16, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in the Museum Room, Osgoode Hall as it will only hear evidence pertaining to Harry’s motion. Public scrutiny is paramount. Therefore, all are welcome to attend.
Does the Law Society treat its boxing opponents seeking to preserve their professional status equally? The answer lies in Chapter Three of its Official Training Manual. This Manual was secretly acquired from an unidentified source by the publishers of this blog. Chapter Three is entitled “How to Apply a Double-Standard”. A recent session (June 19, 2013) of a match between paralegal candidate, Harry Kopyto, and the Society’s champion prosecutor, Susan Heakes, held June 19, 2013, illustrates how these one-sided rules keep Harry on the defensive in the game.
Law Society Hearings Not a Confessional
Heakes had accused Harry of hiding hostile and uninformed criticism of his handling of a case at the last match. Heakes was wrong. She should have been ruled out on a technicality. But the referee did nothing. Unfair or what? The match should have been given to Harry. Harry had proven the charge was false.
But, for a minute, put all of that aside and ask yourself: “Why should Harry be required to build a case against himself?” Just as Heakes had climbed into the boxing ring to pummel Harry—not to praise him— so Harry too laced on his boxing gloves to defend himself—not to punch himself senseless. This was after all, an adversarial bout, not a confessional. Ask yourself as well the following question: Why should Harry be required to reveal every cheap shot ever taken against him when the prosecutors have totally ignored producing positive evidence other than what Harry told them about his character? No one forced them to admit, for example, that their chief investigator had been denounced by a court for outrageous, voyeuristic conduct in his earlier incarnation as a cop. Subsequent to this behaviour, he had been accepted as having sufficiently good character to be granted the status of paralegal by The Society. Shouldn’t the same standard apply to both sides?
Harry made efforts in the qualifying rounds to obtain a ruling that the match be conducted in an investigative rather than accusatorial mode. Whether Harry meets the test of good character should be an inquiry, not an inquisition. Yet the Panel Chair, Margot Blight, her fellow Panel members, ruled against Harry and awarded severe costs against him for even raising the issue. Margot Blight associates with many of the sparring prosecutorial trainees working out in the elite Osgoode Hall gym where Heakes refines her pugilistic skills. Blight knows which side her bread is buttered on.
Since the start of the match, in 2009, there have been endless conflicts involving the denial of Harry’s natural justice rights. This has resulted in bitterness, false accusations, threats, costs awards totalling close to $40,000 against Harry and personal, unsubstantiated attacks made against Harry by prosecutor Susan Heakes and tolerated by the carefully chosen panel of judges. It might as well be trial by innuendo. The Kopyto v. Heakes series is now regarded as one of the most adversarial contests in the Osgoode Hall arena this decade, if not ever: 100 days of fisticuffs.
Blight Covers Up a Mountain of LSUC Dirt
The Panel has not once penalized Heakes for her overly-aggressive, one-sided fighting stance. Every possible suspicion or allegation that could be drawn was cast against Harry by Heakes—that he fights dirty; that he represents himself as belonging to a weight class higher than allowed; that he strikes below the belt.
Why should Harry be required to punch himself out flat on the canvas when Heakes’ fighting style was to deny access to a mountain of dirty laundry on the Law Society? A 27-page investigation report with a 6-volume addendum running to hundreds of pages condemned Harry’s character. Investigator Greenaway, who has a long record of dirty fighting against him, breached his obligation to be neutral. He recommended that Harry should be compelled to defend his status in the ring. His flagrantly biased report said nary a word about what Heakes once admitted was an “illustrious” career.
Heakes did not seem to have to exert herself too strongly to apply Lesson Three of the Official Manual. Instead, the judges may have taken a peak or two at it themselves. Throughout the action in the ring between Heakes and Kopyto, the Panel has made endless one-sided rulings, almost always favouring the prosecution, thereby blocking Harry from responding to Heakes’ deft jabs and straights. These rulings have almost always been made by Panel Chair, Margot Blight, alone. Her two side-judges usually sat silent or ignored despite Harry’s protests. Recently, Paralegal Michelle Tamlin occasionally comes up from behind to take a swipe at Harry. Her contempt for him is undisguised. Heakes throws every illegal cut and jab without being called out by a Panel that has given her a free card.
Panel Denies Kopyto Basic Rights
Below is a list of only some of the treatment by the Panel or its Chair that shows bias and the application of a double-standard that has taken place to date:
- Determining the relevance of Harry’s evidence before the case is closed, a big no-no for a fair judge;
- Shamelessly contradicting Harry’s evidence, a major breach of the Rules by Margot Blight, reflecting her training as a prosecutor rather than a judge;
- Denying access to embarrassing Law Society disclosure material;
- Denying motions and legal arguments made by Harry without adequately giving reasons for the decision;
- Making decisions for all three panel members on key issues without even pretending to consult them;
- Limiting Harry’s right to finish his cross-examination of Law Society witnesses—another major breach of natural justice;
- Allowing hostile Law Society witnesses to make irrelevant and lengthy outbursts despite his objections that ate up Harry’s limited time to cross-examine them;
- Continuously interrupting Harry during his personal evidence to the point of flagrant harassment;
- Denying Harry the right to give testimony on relevant issues;
- Refusing to rule on the merits of Harry’s challenge to the institutional independence of the Panel who were appointed by the kissing cousins of the Law Society officials who hire Harry’s prosecuting opponents in the ring;
- Refusing to rule on the constitutionality of the Access to Justice Act sections which gave the panel legal authority over paralegals;
- Making insensitive remarks about Harry’s background as a child of the Holocaust while treating all the Law Society’s witnesses with utmost favour;
- Setting unreasonably short deadlines for Harry to comply with administrative directives despite his protests;
- Awarding close to $40,000 in costs against Harry for bringing motions which sought to ensure fairness in the process;
- Making rulings without asking Harry for submissions and when he tries to make submissions, accusing him of arguing with her;
- Trying to control Harry’s method of presenting his evidence;
- Refusing without reason to allow an agent to make submissions on Harry’s behalf;
- Allowing Heakes to continuously interject hostile comments during Harry’s testimony without restraining her.
Heakes and Blight Flex Their Well-Oiled Muscles
Procedural rules and technical decisions can be critical in a hotly contested match. They can result in major strategic errors or benefits to one of the fighters. The Panel’s rulings throughout have favoured the prosecution. Heakes has not had to throw many jabs, crosses or straights to curry favourable rulings.
The application of a double-standard seems to come easily both to Harry’s foes and those who judge him. Harry is the new kid in the arena. Heakes and Blight have well-oiled muscles which they flex in the gym in a brazen show of mutual admiration. Margot Blight has clearly memorized portions of the Official Training Manual and picked up a tip or two when she herself was prosecuting challengers like Harry in other contests. With a lengthy record of one-sided decisions and rulings that reflects a double-standard, is it a great mystery what the final outcome of the match is likely to be?
Everyone knows the odds. Harry is still standing his ground. The count has started. But don’t count Harry out. He still may have a few surprise moves in store before the scorecards are finally hoisted at the end of the lengthy series and the watchman turns off the arena’s lights for the last time.