Man says he didn’t notice the extent of thigh injury until he got off the plane
A passenger who says he was hurt by a runaway trolley onboard an Ottawa-bound Air Canada flight Thursday wants the airline to rethink the way it handles customer complaints about injuries, comparing the current process to reporting lost baggage.
“As the plane landed, it was usual noise in the overhead bins and there was a bigger noise and within a split second this thing flew by me, smashed me in the thigh,” said Hearn, who was returning home after a work trip.
Air Canada confirmed that five passengers were hit by the trolley, including a woman who was treated for a foot injury.
At the time, Hearn said there were other passengers who needed medical attention and he didn’t want to interfere so he got off the plane and went home. That’s when he realized his injury was worse than he had initially thought.
Directed to online form
Hearn said he called Air Canada Thursday night but was told to call back in the morning. In the meantime, he filled out an online form. The next day, Hearn said his wife called Air Canada back and was directed to the same form — which promised a response within five to 10 days.
“I got hurt, not a big deal, but I’d like to talk to someone and there’s just no way to do so,” Hearn said.
Matt Hearn says a runaway trolley hit him in the thigh during an Air Canada flight. (supplied)
Hearn said the injury to his right thigh makes it difficult to get around and he was forced to take the day off work on Friday to seek medical advice.
CBC sent an email to Air Canada media relations on Sunday morning to inquire about Hearn’s situation.
Less than an hour later, Hearn received an email response from the airline.
“We were sorry to hear about the difficulties you experienced on board AC 124 on September 21 st and do hope you are feeling better now,” the email said.
“Our records show that all other affected passengers received a letter of apology and compensation, however, as you did not make us aware until now, we are pleased to offer same.”
‘Figure out a better way’
Hearn said he received a promotional code for 20 per cent off the base fare on his next booking. But after the recent experience, he said he’s not interested in flying with Air Canada again.
“I just want Air Canada to figure out a better way to treat their customers, I suppose,” Hearn said.
“I would think just an email saying sorry it happened even if the people aren’t hurt. There was nothing. I find that just bizarre,” he added.
Air Canada media relations was not available to comment on the case on Sunday but said it would look into the matter.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing, according to Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.
Crown attorneys’ courtroom conduct highlights lack of transparency in disciplinary process.
The government’s secretive discipline system for Crown attorneys is again being called into question following recent criticism from the Court of Appeal of two Crown attorneys’ courtroom conduct.
In one case, Brampton Crown attorney David D’Iorio introduced hearsay evidence and improperly cross-examined the accused, which ultimately led to Ontario’s top court ordering a new trial.
In the other matter, Toronto Crown attorney Sunita Malik was found to have made as many as five errors in her closing address to the jury at a murder trial. But the appeal court declined to order a new trial, finding the judge’s instructions to the jury on Malik’s mistakes were sufficient.
“It would attract attention and scrutiny from the Law Society, if it was done by a defense lawyer,” said Criminal Lawyers’ Association president Anthony Moustacalis of Malik.
D’Iorio’s conduct would also potentially attract attention from the regulatory body “because you’re supposed to know what the law is and conduct yourself in a competent fashion,” Moustacalis said.
The Law Society cannot ever confirm or deny that it is investigating a lawyer. Both D’Iorio and Malik declined to comment through a spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The CLA has complained for years about what the organization sees as a lack of investigation by the Law Society into Crown attorneys’ conduct and a lack of public discipline hearings for them — the kind of hearing any other lawyer in Ontario must face when slapped with discipline charges.
Defense lawyers have noted that some of their colleagues have been disciplined in public for fairly minor conduct, including being rude and discourteous to other lawyers and in court.
Moustacalis said the Law Society has previously told the CLA that a main consideration is the fact that the Crown attorneys’ employer — the Ministry of the Attorney General — already has an internal discipline process.
But as noted by a previous Star investigation in 2014, the Ministry’s process is secretive, and the government was unable to say at the time how many complaints have been lodged against the province’s nearly 1,000 prosecutors and how many had been recently disciplined for misconduct.
In contrast, lawyers who have gone through a public discipline hearing is then the subject of a public ruling by the Law Society Tribunal, allowing anyone to see what penalty, if any, the lawyer was given.
The Law Society has disciplined prosecutors in the past, although it was unable to provide the number of cases this week. Moustacalis said those cases are generally instances where a prosecutor has already been found guilty of criminal conduct.
“We are aware of the recent court decisions that you referred to,” said Law Society spokeswoman Susan Tonkin. “When there are allegations and evidence of a breach, the Law Society investigates and, if the evidence warrants, takes disciplinary action, which is public.”
A Ministry of the Attorney General spokesman said that aside from falling under the jurisdiction of the Law Society, Crown attorneys are also subject to internal Crown policies and practices.
“I can tell you that the Ministry takes judicial rulings very seriously and is careful to monitor the quality of its prosecutions and conduct of Crown counsel,” said spokesman Philip Klassen. “To that end, Crown counsel are held to the highest standard and are expected to conduct themselves professionally and fairly at all times.”
He said concerns about a Crown attorney’s conduct are referred to their supervisor, and that remedial and disciplinary action is considered where appropriate.
“The mere fact that (prosecutors) are lawyers means they are responsible to the Law Society and the Law Society has full powers over prosecutors in the same way as any other lawyer, and so I really don’t get the idea that this is somehow something special,” said Osgoode Hall Law School professor Allan Hutchinson.
“To use a phrase that lawyers often like to say, ‘Justice has to not only be done, but seen to be done.’ And the idea that people are being disciplined and sanctioned in private is a silly idea when it’s being done to lawyers.”
D’Iorio’s conduct at the trial of Bickramjit Dhaliwal — who was convicted for possession of guns and drugs and public mischief — “deprived the appellant of a fair trial,” a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeal found in August, ordering a new trial, which could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars.
During a recess before D’Iorio resumed his cross-examination of the final defense witness, he placed a long-distance call to the husband of the accused’s niece, Parminder, who was not set to testify. He made the call on the courtroom phone with the speaker on.
Although the jury and the defense witness were not present, lawyers, the accused and observers were in the courtroom. D’Iorio then used information gathered from the call to assist him in his cross-examination of the witness, Bakshish, sister to the accused.
Chief Justice George Strathy, on behalf of the panel, wrote that if the Crown wanted to obtain information from Parminder to help with his cross-examination, he should have made the call outside the courtroom and then disclosed it to the defence.
“This not only introduced hearsay to the jury, possibly serving to undermine Bakshish’s testimony, it put the Crown’s own credibility at issue,” Strathy wrote.
“It is impossible to say what the effect of this conduct was on the jury’s assessment of Bakshish’s credibility. What can be said is that it fell short of the standard expected of the Crown.”
In another case decided in August by the Court of Appeal, Malik, the Toronto Crown attorney, was found to have displayed conduct that was “disturbing” in her closing address at the murder trial of Jimmy John.
John was ultimately convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, and the trial judge dismissed the defence’s application for a mistrial.
His appeal lawyer, James Lockyer, had argued in his factum at the Court of Appeal that Malik had committed similar errors in her closing address at another trial, but this was not mentioned in the Court of Appeal’s ruling in the John case.
“In my opinion, the trial Crown fell below the expected standard of propriety and fairness conduct in this case. I find two aspects of her conduct disturbing,” wrote Court of Appeal Justice Robert Sharpe for the panel in the John case.
“The first is the number of transgressions. This is not a case where the Crown slipped and stepped over the line on one occasion. The trial judge found it necessary to give corrective instructions on five different points. My second concern is that the Crown’s improper conduct targeted fundamental procedural rights of the appellant.”
Criminal defense lawyer John Struthers said transparency is key if the government were to take remedial or disciplinary action against a Crown attorney, given that they are public officers.
“The scales of justice are a balance and the open and public disciplining of lawyers should also be balanced,” he said.
“When they are not, the defence feels the chill. Defend ‘too hard,’ (and) you’ll be hauled up in public, but prosecute ‘too hard’ and not to worry.”
The Court of Appeal found Sunita Malik made several errors in her closing address to the jury:
She “strongly suggested” that John, who had testified on his own behalf, had tailored his evidence after hearing the Crown’s case against him. (Malik later denied in court that this was her intention.) The court said this violated a well-established principle that prohibits allegations that an accused has tailored their evidence after receiving evidence from the Crown, which is their constitutional right.
She misstated evidence in relation to one of the Crown’s witnesses.
She misstated the evidence in relation to another witness and invited the jury to speculate on his actions at the murder scene.
The court found Malik attempted “to diminish or minimize the concept of reasonable doubt and the onus of proof on the Crown,” when she stated to the jury:
“It is a standard of proof which applies to each and every person charged with a criminal offence in Canada, and as I am certain that you all know, using the same standard, hundreds, if not thousands of people are convicted of criminal cases every year, so it is clearly not an insurmountable burden.”
The court concluded she “belittled” the standard of reasonable doubt.
During her address, Malik asked court staff to lower the lighting in the courtroom in an attempt to explain why one Crown witness may have wrongly described the shooter’s hat. The high court found this was “clearly an inappropriate attempt” to lead evidence, saying there was nothing to suggest that the lower lighting in the courtroom was similar to the lighting at the crime scene.
TORONTO — Anyone cheated by a lawyer in Ontario will now be eligible for up to $500,000 in compensation, more than triple the previous limit, the body that regulates the profession has decided.
In recommending the higher cap, a committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada tasked with the issue noted the last increase was in 2008, at which the time the limit was set at $150,000.
“In light of the over eight years that have elapsed since the last increase and acknowledging the mandate of the law society to govern in the public interest, the committee determined that an increase in the per claimant limit is appropriate at this time, notwithstanding the infrequency with which claims exceeding the limit are likely to arise,” the committee concluded.
Between Feb. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2016, the fund doled out almost $7.5 million to 260 claimants, law society figures show.
The highest payout during that period — almost $1.4 million — went to 35 clients of Javad Heydary, a Toronto lawyer who took money from trust accounts before he fled to Iran in late 2013 and likely died there.
Another 10 clients of Richard Chojnacki, a lawyer from Mississisauga, Ont., received $1.08 million. His licence was revoked in October 2010 and he was jailed in 2012 after pleading guilty to fraud for embezzling money from clients.
The society established the fund in 1953 to compensate clients who lose money due to their lawyer’s dishonesty. Errors and omissions insurance, which covers negligent conduct, does not cover dishonest conduct, such as theft.
“The legal profession is considered unique in protecting clients from dishonesty in this fashion,” its report states.
Claims in other provinces vary widely. For example, Nova Scotia has no limit while Quebec’s is set at $100,000. A survey of “client protection funds” in the United States also showed wide variance in programs, ranging from limits of $50,000 to $400,000.
To cover the higher cap approved this week, the society’s 35,000 practising lawyers will have to pay another $18 a year, bringing their levy to $290.
People ripped off by paralegals can get as much as $10,000 — an unchanged amount. The fund paid 37 clients of paralegals $85,640 from February 2014 to the end of last month.
Man, 40, charged with Assault on Parking Enforcement Officer in the area of Forest Laneway and Doris Avenue.
Toronto Police issued a news release today surrounding this alleged incident that took place within Toronto Police Services 32 division on the morning of September 8, 2016 near Yonge St. and Sheppard Ave in North York. According to police, the assault of the parking enforcement office, followed an argument.
Case #: 2016-1592107
The Toronto Police Service has arrested and charged a man for an Assault.
It is alleged that:
– on Thursday, September 8, 2016, at 12 a.m. a Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement Officer was conducting his duties in the Forest Laneway and Doris Avenue area
– he was in the process of writing a ticket for a parked van, blocking a disabled ramp and partially blocking the fire route
– the van owner got into a verbal altercation and assaulted the Parking Enforcement Officer
Jeffrey Wingrowich, 40, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with:
He is scheduled to appear in court at 1000 Finch Avenue West on Thursday, October 20, 2016, courtroom 306.
A prominent black lawyer who says he felt humiliated when a security guard denied him entry to the law society’s headquarters has made a racial profiling complaint to the human rights tribunal.
Among other things, Selwyn Pieters is asking the tribunal to order the Law Society of Upper Canada to implement training focused on anti-black racism for security guards, lawyers and others. He also wants $75,000 in damages.
In his unproven complaint, the Toronto lawyer says he and a black student were visiting the headquarters in July when a security guard demanded to see his law society identity card, while white people both before and after the incident were buzzed in without scrutiny.
When his ID card turned out to be expired, the guard refused to allow them entry, despite protocol that calls for a database check that would have confirmed his lawyer status, Mr. Pieters said in an interview Friday.
“The attitude was I could not be a lawyer. What the guard did to me was quite shocking. I’m very upset about it,” Mr. Pieters said. “It’s based on the fact that I’m black and I believe based on the fact that I have dreadlocks.”
Surveillance video of what took place, he said, would help support his case.
Mr. Pieters argues in his complaint that the treatment he received “fosters and perpetrates the social and professional exclusion” of black lawyers.
“The security guard relied on stereotypes about race, colour, creed and ethnicity to single out me and my student out for greater scrutiny or different treatment,” he states. “In effect, I was racially profiled. As well, my student was racially profiled.”
Mr. Pieters said he discussed the issue with the society’s top executive, Robert Lapper, but received no joy.
Mr. Lapper, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday, has insisted in a letter to the Toronto lawyer that the guard followed proper protocols and no racial profiling took place. The response, Mr. Pieters maintains, amounts to hiding racism.
Adding insult to injury, he said, is that the society displays photographs of him on its Facebook page from various functions where he is one of the few black people in attendance.
Mr. Pieters, who is known for his anti-racism activism, won a similar case three years ago when Ontario’s top court upheld a tribunal finding of racial discrimination after he and two other blacks with him were asked for ID in the lawyers’ lounge of a courthouse in Brampton, Ont. Non-blacks present were not asked for the document.
“It’s almost like an exact repeat,” Mr. Pieters said.
The tribunal application also calls on the law society to hire an outside consultant to review its security protocol and policies.