A Summary of “Criminal lawyers rally around colleague sentenced to two years” by Lacey Appleton

PRLG 722 Communication & Writing Assignment 2: A Summary of “Criminal lawyers rally around colleague sentenced to two years,” written by Peter Small May 14, 2014, online: http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201405193973/headline-news/drugs.
May 29, 2014
By L. Appleton
Lawyer Deryk Gravesande smuggled 58 grams of marijuana into Toronto’s now-defunct Don Jail on January 20, 2012 and was sentenced to two years in jail in May 2014 for drug trafficking. Gravesande was smuggling the drugs in for an inmate that was a former client. The drugs were found on the inmate’s person after the visit. Gravesande plead not guilty to the criminal charge. He was held to a higher standard of ethics because of his membership with the Law Society of Upper Canada. The judge agreed that it was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Gravesande smuggled the marijuana, however sided with the Crown because there was enough circumstantial evidence to convict.
Lawyers Marie Henein and Scott Hutchison offered to work pro bono on his appeal, and others are offering to pay for his disbursement fees. The defence counsel is relying on the fact that guards did not follow strip search procedures prior to the inmates meeting with Gravesande and on the judge’s error in applying the law of burden of proof laid on the Crown. As a practicing lawyer, Gravesande is expected to follow the rules of law, and his sentencing will further diminish the trust that guards and the public place on the law profession. Basically, lawyers that were not physically present when the incident occurred are blindly standing by their colleague even though he is muddying the image of the legal profession. While our court system (generally speaking) upholds the value of innocent until proven guilty, the judgement is essentially saying that it is a professional’s duty to command respect through his or her actions in their professions and lives. Gravesande is out on renewed bail and the lawyers offering to work on his appeal pro bono expect the appeal to be heard in the fall of 2014.

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2 Comments on "A Summary of “Criminal lawyers rally around colleague sentenced to two years” by Lacey Appleton"

  1. George Anthony McLaren | June 8, 2014 at 3:14 pm |

    While Gravesande, like any other Canadian citizen is certainly entitled to due process of an appeal, I find it simply amazing that his colleagues are tripping over themselves to offer their services pro bono, or to offer to pay for his disbursements out of pocket in this case. The term “pro bono” means ‘for good’. I am deeply concerned about whose good will triumph in the appeal hearing. It seems that the legal fraternity is more concerned about protecting the “good” name of the profession above the good of society and will go to extraordinary lengths at their own costs so to do where it involves one of their own. The facts supported that Mr. Gravesande committed the crime he was accused of, I imagine despite “good” legal representation. I can’t help but wonder how many innocent persons have been wrongfully convicted because they had no recourse to proper access to justice or because they could only afford substandard legal representation or no no legal representation at all. I am yet to see the legal fraternity chomping at the bit to ensure justice is meted out to the millions of Mr. Nobodies who have been wronged in this world. Yet, they have made Mr. Gravesande their poster boy for justice and have become bleeding hearts in defense of a properly convicted drug trafficker. The stark realization of the inequity between the ordinary man and the influential guy is a little too much for my liking.

  2. Iaroslavna Serenko | June 9, 2014 at 2:10 am |

    Any person can commit a crime. However, it is quite sad to realize that lawyers are not an exception. If it is proven that the lawyer is guilty, he or she should be prosecuted in the same way as any other citizen. The society expects legal professionals to have higher moral standards. Gravesande’s conduct casts a shadow on the reputation of a lawyer and raises a question if it is justified to grant privileges and exceptions for the people working in legal profession.

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