Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday 3 October 2000

Police probe lawyers' dispute

Shoving, scratching ensued over copying of papers, court hears

Jake Rupert
The Ottawa Citizen

A bizarre incident involving opposing lawyers in a child support case is under investigation by the Ottawa-Carleton police and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The incident began last Friday when lawyer Wade Smith of the firm Bell and Baker went to get some documents photocopied at the Metcalfe Street office of Julius Dawn of the firm Grant and Dawn. At the office, he ended up in a room with Grant and Dawn law student Ky Luu.

What happened next is the subject of police and law society investigations. But according to documents entered in court, somehow Mr. Smith and Mr. Luu entered into an argument about who was going to photocopy documents. A physical confrontation ensued. The argument moved to Mr. Dawn's office, and the fight continued there.

Eventually, Mr. Smith left the building, photocopied the papers and returned them. By this point, police had been called, and all three alleged in police statements they were assaulted. Mr. Smith and Mr. Dawn have also laid complaints with the law society against each other.

Yesterday, the case took on another twist at what was supposed to be the start of the child support matter. That case involves Ian Young, who has applied to have his child support payments to his ex-lover reduced. Proceedings were brought to a halt, however, when a motion was introduced asking Mr. Smith ordered off the case.

At 3 p.m., more lawyers entered the fray to represent Mr. Smith and Mr. Dawn. Tom Hunter of Burke-Robertson represented Mr. Dawn of Grant and Dawn who acts for Mr. Young. Gord Kirk of Bell and Baker represented Mr. Smith, who acts for the ex-lover.

"This morning I was shocked by this exchange, now I'm adding saddened," Mr. Hunter said, as he opened his argument to have Mr. Smith kicked off the case. He went on to say Mr. Luu reports three separate assaults: hitting in the face, scratching his hands, and shoving. "It was like he was a bull in a china shop." Mr. Hunter said. "Mr. Smith's conduct more than places a shadow upon the integrity of the administration of justice."

When he was done, Mr. Kirk rose to defend Mr. Smith, and the ex-lover's right to have the lawyer of her choice. He was not there, he said, to argue the aspects of last Friday's incident.

"The facts of last Friday afternoon are best described as embarrassing," Mr. Kirk said. "Somebody is lying. If Mr. Smith was provided with those documents, we wouldn't be here." Judge Sedgwick dismissed the motion to have Mr. Smith taken off the case. "In my view, this does not reflect well on the legal profession," he said. The case proceeds Oct. 16.

Copyright 2000 Ottawa Citizen