When we launched this website in June, 1998, we had enough experience with lawyers in Saskatchewan to realize they were a self-serving lot, some of whom gave lip-service to the idea of serving their clients, but none of whom was candid about motives. We have come to the point where Richard Klassen is now representing himself in a major civil claim. He has had to fight lawyers every step of the way to get there.
We have also been advised by many lawyers that our particular form of candor -- sometimes quite blunt, but always truthful -- would be shut down, or, ignored. We are proud to say that we have made an impact on Saskatchewan and almost everything we have done has been against the advice of lawyers.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan is now SELLING the transcripts of important Saskatchewan cases to its members at a cut rate. This fits perfectly with their idea that they own all turf relating to justice. The public's right to know is far more important than lawyer's curiosity! At the very least the text which is available to them should be available to everyone. Hey, they could even lower the price because they would sell more copies!
The Law Society also has an online service of Saskatchewan Court of Appeal cases for members only. Other provinces make appeal court decisions available to the public. Is the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal now in league with the Law Society to not only keep disclosure from citizens but to make the cost so prohibitive that the public is effectively denied access to appeal court transcripts?
Gillian Guess has clearly stated some of the conflicts regarding the judiciary and the B.C. Law Society. Ditto for Saskatchewan!
What follows is some correspondence that took place between inJusticebusters and the Law Society. Our final reply appears as an open letter at the bottom of this page. We are also alerting the Law Society to Roger Kergoat's conflict of interest in the recent court appearance representing Gordon Cole.
March 12, 1998 Tyler Tollefson, Skelton Law Firm, Rosetown, Sask.
Re: Unethical conduct
You represent two violent clients, Troy Sanderson and Trevor Marchand who were responsible for damaging Mr. Richard Klassen's car in an incident in late December which resulted in many charges against them.
They have admitted their responsibility for the damage and committed themselves more than twice to paying the money Mr. Klassen was out of pocket. Rosetown police have copies of some of these conversations.
Now they have backed out and refused to pay. They are now represented by you. In conversation with Mr. Klassen and witnessed by myself, they revealed that they were aware of confidential information about Mr. Klassen which could only have been revealed to them by an officer of the Court. Police officers have assured us that it was not them. We are pretty sure the Crown attorneys take their ethics seriously and do not engage in idle and malicious gossip so the only possible source is you.
You have advised them not to pay and have perhaps led them to believe they can get out of paying altogether. You are wrong in your advice and you are wrong to give such advice. You are certainly wrong to have discussed privileged information with your clients.
In Provincial Court in Rosetown Tuesday March 10, I attempted to serve you with a notice of intention to sue your clients. You refused service by raising your hands in the air as though I was attcking you with a weapon instead of offering you two pieces of paper. When I verbally asked you if you refusing service, twice you confirmed that you were. I chose to serve you because your clients are violent and Mr. Marchand, with his healing black eye in the Court room was displaying a hostile and aggressive demeanor.
I am an experienced process server and I was certainly aware that all I had to do was touch you and drop the papers on the floor and you would have been served. I also know that extreme measures such as this are reserved for situations of last resort and I have never had to do this. I think it is silly and theatrical and I would certainly not demean the civility of the courtroom setting by doing it there.
In fact, the notices of intention I tried to serve on you as the representative of Sanderson and Marchand were prepared as a matter of courtesy. We have certainly given them sufficient opportunities to pay what they owe Mr. Klassen and we are not required to provide any further notice before proceeding to Court.
Your clients will be in provincial Court again on March 23rd. They will be served at that time, unless you have some more obstructionist tricks up your sleeve. We will be subpoening Cst. Haley and perhaps others to appear to substantiate the claim against your clients. This will be costly for the taxpayers of Saskatchewan, and we won't hesitate to drive that point home as we argue for costs. What could have been a relatively inexpensive adventure if your clients had paid as they promised they would in early January is going to turn into a very costly one, and that cost will no doubt include a hefty bill from you.
copies to: Rosetown R.C.M.P. and Law Society of Saskatchewan
Dear Ms. Steele:
Re: Unethical conduct. Our File: 85-1
We enclose a letter which you apparently sent to Mr. Tollefson in which you describe attempting to serve him with "notice of intention to sue". We have been advised by Mr. Tollefson that he is not instructed by his clients in any civil matters and therefore felt it appropriate to advise you that he could not accept service. On its face, we do not see this as being improper conduct on his part, however, if you wish to make a written complaint, you are of course at liberty to do so and we will investigate.
We are, however, concerned that the tone of your letter seems to indicate that you are acting on behalf of clients in a legal action. We enclose Section 30 of The Legal Profession Act, 1990, for your information as well as a copy of the penalty section. Prior to investigating this matter any further, we would appreciate your comments on the nature of any services that you are providing in light of the enclosed Sections.
Yours truly, ALLAN T. SNELL, Q.C., General Counsel/Co-Director of Administrator
Enclosure, cc: Tyler Tollefson
inJusticebusters, April 4, 1998.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan Fax (306) 352-2989
Allan T. Snell
Dear Mr. Snell:
You guys certainly stick together. We have found lawyers to be an outrageous bunch of scumbags who rip people off and understand the word "ethics" to mean "cover your ass". We write in many tones.
What do you mean "acting on behalf of clients"? We try to help people find justice in the courts. We have prepared many many documents for court. We know right from wrong which is more than most lawyers do.
Are you telling us that we cannot be hired to serve notices of intention to sue on behalf of someone else? Are telling us that we can't put our heads together and sue somebody?
Investigate away. Take us to Court. We're very poor. Most of the people we help and advise and prepare documents for are also very poor.
We really hate lawyers. We are against lawyers. We are out to convince as many people as possible to stop pleading guilty and will offer advice about how to walk themselves through the process without lawyers. We practice justice.
Please take your warning and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. And while you're at it, go fuck yourselves.
We would appreciate your comments regarding any reprisals you may have in mind for us in light of those scary sections of the lawyer's act you enclosed.
Hope to see you in Court. We will act as our own legal counsel.
Sheila Steele and Richard Klassen
April 16, 1998 Re: Our file: 85-1
We have your fax of April 4, 1998. I am sorry that you hold lawyers in such low esteem, however, that is really not the issue. Whatever you think of them, lawyers are trained and schooled in the law and legal processes. You are not. The law is a very complex tool and unfortunately it is not you who will suffer a loss if you get it wrong. It is the people you advise. Furthermore, you have not liability insurance to compensate people for errors you make. You are not governed by any code of conduct or supervised in how to handle a client's money or property.
If you wish to crusade against lawyers or the justice system generally, by all means do so, but if you intend to do so by exposing clients to unnecessary risk contrary to The Legal Profession Act, 1990, it will be necessary for the Law Society to intervene.
ALLAN T. SNELL, Q.C.
General Counsel/Co-Director of Administrator
To the Law Society, and to everybody else:
inJusticebusters Sheila Steele and Richard Klassen state publically and unequivocally that we consider ourselves to be bound by the highest standards we know: justice and integrity. We do not offer to handle people's property or money. We do not claim to practice law. We do those things we know how to do. We involve ourselves mostly with people who have been charged in the Criminal Justice System or who have suffered damages at its hands. We help people get disclosure on their cases, saving them money which would otherwise line the pockets of lawyers. We offer a full web page of court advice. We encourage people to seek remedies when they have been wronged. We blow the whistle on dishonest or otherwise unfair lawyers, judges, police, and experts.
Some people have told us that we can't change things. They cling to the belief that they need a lawyer because lawyers have told them they need a lawyer. We say the law is really not that complex. The so-called complexities have largely been placed there by lawyers themselves who want to make sure there is enough work to go around. Most lawyers are not interested in justice. They are interested in self-aggrandizement and self-promotion. They accomplish these ends by taking money from us when we're in trouble. Many of them make promises they don't keep.
The Law Society of Saskatchewan could better spend its time cleaning up its own membership and not go intervening in our business, which is busting injustice. We think that as long as Saskatchewan Crown Prosecutors can break the law with impunity (proceed with cases when they know the clients are innocent, get the police to interview prosepective jurors, etc.) and Saskatchewan Criminal defense lawyers provide only lukewarm defenses for indigent clients, that everyone in this province is at risk.
We'd be interested to hear from anyone who has ever forced a lawyer in Saskatchewan to make a claim on that insurance. There's lots of bad lawyering and lost cases going on in this province and if anyone has got their money back, inJusticebusters would like to know! And by the way, wasted a lot of our time, making commitments to make arrangements with their insuarance companies and then not doing it and having the nerve to suggest we were harrassing them because we faxed them at work!
The community of Rosetown thank inJusticebusters for this, though: the last we heard these two utterly reprehensible and untrustworthy reckless jerks had gone to the U.S. to escape having to pay for Rick's windshield! Our U.S. friends are well warned to stay clear of them. Anyone with pictures? We'll post. And we'd just love to see Tollefson in court again. Maybe he will sue us!