Lesson Four: How the Law Society Smears Its Opponents [updated]

Support Harry on Wednesday October 16th and Thursday October 17th! [note date and location changes below]

The Law Society accuses Harry of working for free for a client in exchange for his evidence as a character witness regarding Harry’s handling of his case. But this witness is not just any character witness like the 30 or so who have already lined up in queue to testify. This witness is dangerous!  This witness can draw the curtains on the Morality Play that the Law Society’s guardians of ethical purity have staged for Harry, now in its fifth year.

Margot Blight has already telegraphed Harry’s LSUC prosecutors to get rid of or marginalize the witness.  Why?  This witness is special.  This witness is a disabled teacher fighting discrimination against him by a school board represented in a human rights complaint until a month and a half ago by—Gasp!—Margot Blight.  Yes, that Margot Blight… Yes, the chair of the Law Society’s panel judging Harry’s moral character!

It is a triangle in which everyone plays two roles.  The client, Michael Giftopoulos, has volunteered to be a witness for Harry and also continues to be the victim of Blight’s firm’s client (Blight, in August, bowed out of personal carriage of the board’s case passing the file to someone else in her firm to create an illusion of disinterest.)  Harry is being judged by Blight but also faces down Blight’s firm as Mike’s representative.  And Blight is chair of Harry’s LSUC panel but also part of the firm representing the Board discriminating against Mike.

Fate has thus woven a web made up of strands of conflict of interest and bias that would trap a less resourceful soul than Ms. Blight.  But Blight is not about to go quiet into that good night.  After all, Big Law brought her in from Bay Street to do a job.  She has promises to keep…

The weapon of choice for the Law Society’s moral police in this battle is, of course, the Smear.  Smear Kopyto. Smear his client. Smear them both with the charge of conspiracy.  Smear!  Smear! And Smear! Without evidence (Who needs it?  See Lesson Three).

Read on, dear reader, and, for a live snapshot of the action, come to the Sheraton Hotel (123 Queen St West; 16th in Essex Ballroom; 17th in Civic Ballroom) at 9:30 a.m.  That is when the Blight Panel will hear Harry’s motion to have Ms. Blight recuse herself.

[note date and location changes above]

Ironically, Blight will be determining her own impartiality. Sounds like the fix is in? See for yourself.  This spectacle needs an audience to witness its endless contortions. Harry needs your presence to act as a check on the Law Society’s efforts to block his right to call his witness to give evidence.

Be there.

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The following is a revealing extraction from Lesson Four of the Official Training Manual used by Law Society Officials to train their legal staff how to conduct themselves in their boxing matches in the Osgoode Hall arena in downtown Toronto. Lesson Four teaches you how to smear your opponent’s reputation. It is a compulsory course but has proven very popular with new recruits who seek rapid advancement in their class.

The matches take place on selected weekdays starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Hotel (123 Queen St West; 16th in Essex Ballroom; 17th in Civic Ballroom).  Times of events are posted on the Law Society website. The matches usually last a full day unless there is a knockout. As this is a blood sport and strong language may be used, it is best not to bring your children.  The event is free—no tickets are needed.

The extraction reads as follows:

Lesson Four—How to Smear Your Opponent’s Reputation

 

  • NO EVIDENCE NEEDED

This lesson is very effective in achieving a flash knockdown. Although it merits attention on its own, it is especially effective in combination with the rules learned in Lesson One—“Focus on the Trivial,” or the rule learned in Lesson Two—“Ignore Reality”.  The chief advantage of Lesson Four’s rule is that you don’t need evidence to wallop your opponent. This is important because you will often find yourself without a shred of evidence to attack your opponent’s poor character. New trainees have been known to throw in the towel in such cases. What a pity!  They clearly haven’t learned Lesson Four well.

Experienced pugilistic practitioners have been known to earn kudos from the judging Panel without any evidence at all!  Even if you are caught making a totally baseless smear of someone’s reputation, you will often gain the sympathy of the judges anyway. They will secretly admire your dogged efforts to plant a destroying punch—look for a wink!

  • CHOOSE A POINT OF VULNERABILITY

Remember that you must choose a point of vulnerability on your boxing opponent’s body. This will make your whack really hit home.  Beginners often start their smear efforts with a routine hit below the belt.  Don’t be lazy. The boxing rules provide a list of dirty hits and prohibited manoeuvres like head-butting or striking with metal hidden in your gloves (a sure winner).  The list of illegal practices will get you thinking. But be imaginative.  The list is no substitute for your own ingenuity.  You will soon find that there are a thousand ways to smear your opponent’s reputation.

  • HIT OFTEN AND HARD

Once you’ve got your opponent in a clinch or on the ropes with a good smear, hit often and hit hard.  Turn your back to the panel of judges sitting ringside. This should block their view, as you illegally pound the kidney area and other favourite bruising spots. Even if the judges catch a glimpse, you have given them an excuse to ignore your breach of the rules as they can always plead that they did not see anything. (Plausible deniability.)  Study the points of somatic vulnerability marked with spots on a large diagram of a human body hanging on the wall in the gym’s changeroom in Osgoode Hall. There are often large crowds of new trainees standing around making notes.  Practice hitting these spots on your sparring partner.

Keep in mind that the most effective hits land on your opponent’s reputation for honesty, courage, empathy and candidness. You must strike those areas over and over. If the referee intervenes, apologize profusely but as soon as he turns away, keep striking anyway.  A determined smear campaign can lead you to the ultimate goal—the total professional destruction of your opponent with or without evidence.

  • ACCUSE YOUR OPPONENT OF WHAT YOU’RE DOING

Try something different. An effective smear manoeuvre involves falsely accusing your opponent of underhanded and illegal jabs and hits.  The victim becomes the assailant—the assailant becomes the victim—get it? This also requires much practice but is effective in disarming your opponent who will instantly become defensive and lose his initiative. The idea is to make it look like your opponent broke the rules when you actually broke them.  Knock him off balance by making false accusations. Add some drama to this play. Clutch a vulnerable part of your own body as if you were struck there and immediately go down on your knees as if you have been badly hurt by an illegal punch. A tear or two has been known to help give effect to this ruse.  Definitely unleash an agonizing scream of surprise and pain—this is essential to get the judges’ attention and sympathy. Also, turn to the referee with a hurt and helpless look on your face while pointing your accusing finger at your opponent. Such a display can get your opponent penalized by the referee without any evidence at all. You don’t have to say a word. Visuals for this staging are all that are needed.

  • NEVER ADMIT THAT YOU ARE FAKING

Never admit that you are faking, as some raw trainees boastfully do.  If you persist in your smear, repeating it over and over, the judges’ panel may well conclude that they overlooked the evidence to support it even if it was never there.  A weak panel unsure of itself will instinctively follow a strong proponent and favour his/her version of events.  The panel has been selected from the Society’s pool of ambitious upwardly-mobile entrants into the boxing industry. Some of them started their careers as frontline proponents like you. They will have a predisposition to empathize with your plight. They’ve been there themselves. (Never repeat this to anyone—the judges are not as “independent” as you might think.)

  • IF ONE WORKS, WELL, TRY MORE

Finally, if one false smear against your opponent’s reputation still leaves it unblemished, throw as much mud as possible—some of it will eventually stick. A multiplicity of smears mutually reinforce each other.  They make it difficult for your opponent to orient himself or, if struck, raise himself back up from the canvas. In the highly unlikely event that your smear campaign has not landed you the trophy, at least you have raised a stinking suspicion around your opponent’s character that will hang over his/her head throughout the balance of the match. Amateur fighters sometimes feel guilty about implementing a Lesson Four smear campaign. Don’t. Give your conscience a rest.  Remember—you are doing God’s work.  Everything is justified.

Like Attacking an Elephant for Hiding its Trunk

The smear tactic was applied on June 19, 2013 by Society brawler Susan Heakes. She attacked Harry Kopyto—believe it or not—for trying to hide the decision disbarring him in 1989 by failing to reproduce it in his application. This was not an easy task she had chosen. It’s like attacking an elephant for hiding its trunk. After all, Harry’s disbarment was the reason why he was summoned to defend his title in the first place.  But Harry, trying to minimize photocopying costs, failed to file the majority decision in his application to maintain his status as a grandparented paralegal fighter.  He mentioned it in his application so it was never suppressed.  He figured that the Law Society investigator would reproduce it in any event, which was the case.

Forget all that.  In an amazing flurry of aggressive straights, left hooks, jabs and body blows, Heakes laid into Kopyto for allegedly suppressing the decision.  She strutted around the ring as if she had struck a knockout blow.  Poor Harry. That will teach him for trying to save photocopying costs.

Heakes continued to jab Kopyto with this bizarre accusation. Harry weaved and bobbed.  He gained ground. Orating from the middle of the ring, he declared how ridiculous Heakes’ suggestion of a cover-up was.  “At no time did I attempt to hide that the LSUC had disbarred me,” he declared, stating the obvious. Take that, Susan Heakes!  Chief Judge Margot Blight, at this point, toned things down. She asserted that Harry’s omission of the disbarment decision only rendered his application “incomplete”. The fact that Harry’s disbarment was the reason that he was being summoned to the match, the fact that it was inevitable that the Law Society Investigation Report would reprint it, the fact that it was accurately summarized in the dissenting opinion Harry did file and the fact that Harry quoted from the majority decision and made reference to it was ignored by both Heakes and Blight. (Lesson Two—Ignore Reality.)

A slight aside.  As far as “incompleteness” goes, the Investigation Report filed by the Law Society failed to unearth a single item positive to Harry’s character other than ones that he had spoon-fed the investigator (who admitted that he was uninterested in any evidence to bring Harry’s character in a favourable light) in his original application.  There was nothing there to document the cases that justified Heakes’ reluctant admission made in an earlier bout that Harry had an “illustrious” career.  Is there a double standard here (Lesson Three)?

Harry’s quick recovery from Heakes’ wild array of now-acknowledged weak hits neutralized the smear campaign.  Even though she swaggered around the ring as if she had flung Kopyto through the ropes, everyone could see that Heakes didn’t even nick his chin.  Reality infringed delusion.  Heakes scurried mousily back to her corner, her sweaty brow wiped by her chief second, Anne Katherine Dionne, who attempted, only partially successfully, to bring Heakes down to a deeper level of reality.

A Round of Applause for Heakes

The bell rang. The new round started again with another smear against Kopyto’s reputation. No one has ever accused Harry of being demure.  When he addresses a point of principle, he occasionally modulates his voice for emphasis. But there is nothing fearful or threatening in his voice, although there is passion for justice. Heakes, however, wants to paint Harry as an uncontrollable and emotionally berserk palooka. So, as Kopyto delivered a powerful counterpunch to another false accusation from her, she demanded that he “stop shouting at me”.  It doesn’t matter that Harry was not shouting.  It doesn’t matter that he has a naturally expressive voice.  It doesn’t matter that he has spoken similarly in his evidence without a ripple of protest.  It doesn’t matter that he was speaking with more emphasis than volume. What matters is that the incrimination is there, the insinuation is there, the stink is there, the innuendo is there. It is part of Heakes’ efforts to smear Harry as a thrashing aggressor consumed by uncontrolled emotions that lead him to artlessly throw punches in a wild tirade. The accusation is a concoction—but the smear is there.  No one else heard “shouting”. The Panel did not bring Harry to heal. But Lesson Four has been learned well by Heakes who raised the bar of Lesson Four to include hearing what you want to hear if that’s what is needed to make a smear.  Lesson Four has been implemented by Heakes with exquisite timing.  A round of applause to a connoisseur of contrived aural fiction.

Tamlin Attacks Kopyto’s “Shtick”

Smear campaigns were used in combination with applying double standards on several occasions on June 19 during Heakes’s cross-examination of Harry.  He was accused of “making speeches” by both Chief Judge Blight and Heakes in his response to hits received from Heakes.  He was also asked to curtail his “shtick” by judge Tamlin, a junior appointed from paralegal ranks who is still punching below her weight and now frequently confuses her role as a judge with a barely restrained inclination to be a prosecutor. All Harry was doing was giving context to his answers—no more than a minute or two at the most. The accusation of speech-making was false but it left the implication that Harry was wasting time.

The Law Society abhorrs context. Context shows movement and conflict.  It shows the limits of rules.  It teaches you to consider consequences. It allows us to consider cause and effect.  In the ring, you never play the same game twice.  Nothing is eternal—except the Law Society’s pretences.  Harry punctures the Society’s efforts to freeze the frame and ignore the social impact of their price-fixing monopoly.

Harry shines the light of reality onto the cloistered and static smears made against him in the darkened arena. His defence of his unauthorized practice is justified by context—granting access to affordable legal representation in worthwhile cases. Context reminds us how the Law Society destroyed one of the finest Legal Aid plans in the world.  Context brings into focus that Law Society Benchers campaigned to eliminate competition from affordable paralegals “infringing” on lawyers’ scope of practice. The Society dislikes hearing the truth (Harry’s “speeches”).  Heakes hates Harry’s deft footwork. Blight wants him immobile, an inert target in centre ring.  Clinch him and punch him on the inside.

Is There a Double Standard?

Why didn’t the judges stop Heakes’ witnesses from endlessly ruminating during their “shticks”? One witness (Gauthier) was allowed a near-hysterical extended outburst of irrelevances.  Another (Zibarros) gave two versions of the same events at length despite Harry’s objections, “correcting” his own evidence in a second bout after screwing up his performance in the first. Moreover, Zibarros liberally took the opportunity to hurl insults at Harry.  Not a peep from the judges’ bench as Heakes rules the ring.

Harry’s style in the ring, when allowed to fully reply to cross-examination, is a choreography of movement. He deflects her jabs with a defensive stance that wraps her own words around her, causing Heakes to stumble and fall.  No wonder they want Harry reduced to one word answers; little pitty-pat kisses that pack no punch.

And then there is Blight’s admonition to Harry: “Stop arguing with my rulings,” when he asks to be allowed to address a point.  The rules of the game allow a contender to make submissions on an issue. Blight calls it arguing and refuses to listen to Harry when he objects to being silenced. Heakes is allowed on the other hand to make submissions from centre ring endlessly without interruption.  Is this cheap play what the phrase “double-standard” was invented to describe?

The phony effort to picture Harry as shouting, argumentative, speechifying and time-wasting is a good example of conjoining the rule to apply a double standard and to ignore reality with the rule on how to smear.  Remember, these examples of smear tactics describe the ring behaviour of the top experts in the field, who specialize in dirty fighting and have an enthusiastic home audience cheering for the team.  Isn’t it an illuminating education and a singular pleasure to watch such professionals at the top of the game bring it all home?

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