A Superior Court judge has found Windsor lawyer Wendi Maroon guilty of perjury for signing and filing a false affidavit in a divorce case.
Justice Johanne Morrissette found Maroon guilty Tuesday on two charges stemming from a falsely-sworn affidavit filed in November 1999 and a subsequent attempt to cover up the crime. She said the defence Maroon gave at her trial could not be believed.
"The Crown has proven the accused guilty on both counts," stated Morrissette. "It's a sad day for the legal profession to see a lawyer, who wanted to do good, become caught up in a web of coverup and fail to adhere to the fundamental code of conduct."
Morrissette told the court her decision was largely based upon "compelling evidence" contained in telephone records which convinced her that Maroon's version of events was not credible.
The defence suggested the lawyer's client, faced with a deadline to have divorce documents seeking greater access to her children signed before a lawyer, had driven from Kingston, Ont. to Windsor Nov. 17, 1999, arriving at 1:30 p.m. to sign the affidavit in Maroon's office.
But phone records showed that the client, Sharon Bonnici, placed a long-distance call from Kingston to her ex-husband in Windsor at about 7 p.m. that same evening. Morrissette said she believed it would have been "impossible" for Bonnici to make such a return trip - a six-to-seven-hour drive each way - and be back in time to place the long-distance call.
Morrissette said she believed the Crown's contention that the document was simply signed without a legal witness and returned through the mail to Maroon's office.
When the lawyer representing Bonnici's ex-husband challenged the validity of the affidavit, Maroon had a second affidavit drawn up in which her client swore she had been in Windsor on the day in question.
But, after a falling-out between Maroon and her client, Bonnici claimed the lawyer coerced her into going along with the falsehoods.
She agreed because she was afraid she would lose access to her children. Bonnici said.
Morrissette said, despite some questionable testimony by Crown witnesses, she had no reasonable doubts about Maroon's guilt. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 9.
Maroon's defence lawyer, Andrew Bradie, declined comment until after the sentencing.
Maroon stood quietly, looking straight ahead, as the verdict was announced. After adjournment she hugged her lawyer and left the courtroom.