Lawyer linked to illegal smuggling of killer Dellen Millard's jailhouse letters
Deepak Paradkar denies any involvement or knowledge of how letters were sent back and forth
A flashy Toronto-area defence lawyer who formerly represented convicted killer Dellen Millard is linked to the smuggling of clandestine letters Millard sent from jail to his girlfriend in an effort to sway witnesses at the Tim Bosma murder trial, according to court documents.
That lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, denies any involvement or knowledge of how letters between Millard, 32, and his then-girlfriend Christina Noudga were passed back and forth — even though he is directly named several times in the documents, and his name is written on envelopes in which the letters were found.
"I had no involvement in that," the lawyer told CBC News. He has not been charged with any crime, and several documents filed as part of the case state there is "no evidence" linking him to the alleged offence.
Millard and Noudga were under a mandatory no-contact order, put in place after Millard was arrested in May 2013 and charged in Bosma's murder. Breaching a court order can place a person in contempt of court.
The letters were a key exhibit in the Bosma and Laura Babcock murder trials — but what the jury didn't know was how they got in and out of prison. Information about their smuggling could not be made public because of a sweeping publication ban that was in effect until a verdict was reached in the Babcock case.
On Saturday, both Millard and his friend, Mark Smich, were found guilty of first-degree murder in Babcock's 2012 death.
In some of the letters Millard instructed Noudga on how she might influence witnesses — asking her to convince people to change their testimony, and stringing her along with romantic promises of a life together. The Crown used them in both trials as a way to illustrate deliberate planning on Millard's part.
Paradkar first appeared in court as counsel for Millard back in 2013, after his arrest in the Bosma case.
Bosma, 32, lived in the Ancaster area of Hamilton, and vanished on May 6, 2013, after taking Millard and his friend Mark Smich on a test drive in a pickup truck that he was trying to sell. Bosma was shot and his body burned in an animal incinerator. Millard and Smich were both found guilty of first-degree murder in the summer of 2016.
Court documents point to Paradkar
After Millard's arrest, Paradkar did several lengthy interviews with media outlets, and warned against a "rush to judgment" in the Bosma case.
But in 2015, he stepped aside as lead lawyer without explanation, leaving another member of the defence team, lawyer Ravin Pillay, to head Millard's legal team at the 2016 trial into Bosma's death.
Paradkar never publicly disclosed why he walked away from the case.
"Mr. Paradkar agreed to withdraw, as he appeared to be the only counsel who could be implicated in the transporting of the Millard/Noudga letters out of the jail," reads a document signed by Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Code, from pretrial motions in the Babcock trial.
According to pretrial documents on the issue from the Bosma case filed by Smich's lawyers, the letters "could only have been transported from the jail by a lawyer."
They were trying to have the evidence about how the letters got out of the prison included at the Bosma trial.
"Police were advised by the security manager at the jail where Millard is housed that visits at the jail are not face to face, but rather through glass, such that nothing could be exchanged," reads the motion from Smich's lawyers.
Police were told by the prison's security manager that the only way letters could get out, if they weren't mailed, was through a lawyer, according to the motion.
Letter written with lawyer in room
In closed sessions during the Bosma trial, then-Crown attorney Tony Leitch (who is now a judge) said that Noudga understood Paradkar would bring letters from Millard to his mother, Madeleine Burns, and Burns would pass them along to Noudga. Court documents filed by Smich's lawyers assert the same.
Though both parties described the same scenario, neither would commit to it as a direct accusation against Paradkar.
"The Crown is not asserting that Mr. Paradkar did this," Leitch said, adding that Noudga made around "100 contacts" with Paradkar.
Portions of the letters were redacted and never read by the jury at the Bosma trial. One of Smich's lawyers, Jennifer Trehearne, read out one redacted portion in court during a closed session, in which Millard wrote about his friend, Andrew Michalski, who would later testify.
"My lawyer wishes there was some elusive secret agent who could get to Andrew," Trehearne said Millard wrote.
In another letter quoted by Smich's lawyers, Millard references writing with his lawyer present.
"In one of your letters you asked why I did not contact you first. I tried to," he wrote to Noudga. "I wrote you a letter before I was allowed pencil and paper. I wrote it in a meeting with my lawyer."
No charges, no law society proceedings
Though he is named in court documents, Paradkar has not faced any sanctions. Hamilton police said in an emailed statement that the matter wasn't investigated. Det. Sgt. Matt Kavanagh, who was the lead investigator on the Bosma case, did not return calls or emails for this story seeking clarity on why that was the case.
But court documents indicate there was at least a cursory investigation. Smich's lawyers cited Kavanagh's own notes from the case, which said that he attempted to interview Millard's mother, but she refused to talk.
Kavanagh was told by Pillay that he and Paradkar wouldn't speak about the letters either, citing "solicitor-client privilege."
However, a ruling from the Bosma case concluded none of the letters were covered by solicitor-client privilege.
"Even though I disagree with Mr. Pillay, I understand the importance of privilege between a lawyer and client. There is nothing I can do or would do to circumvent their right," Kavanagh wrote in his notes. "Therefore, there is no further investigation to be done on the breach of the [no contact] order.
"We can prove the letters that were found in Noudga's possession were written by Dellen Millard. However, there is no evidence as to how Noudga came into possession of these letters. Therefore, this investigation is concluded at this time pending further investigation."
The Law Society of Upper Canada also refused to comment on the matter.
"Unfortunately, all investigations are confidential unless or until a matter results in regulatory proceedings, at which time information would be made public," said spokesperson Alastair Harris-Cartwright, in an email.
The law society has procedures in place for when it is investigating cases covered by publication bans.
Paradkar said he has never faced any repercussions or sanctions from the law society.
4 jailhouse visitors
In a closed court session during the Bosma trial, the Crown said Millard had four visitors while he was in jail: Paradkar and an articling student of his, Pillay, and Christopher Tarach, another lawyer who saw him several times.
Neither Pillay nor Tarach responded to requests for comment for this story. Court documents filed by Millard's lawyers say there is "no evidence that Mr. Pillay was at any time involved in the movement of the letters out of or into the jail."
When asked in a text message to explain why he walked away from the Bosma trial, Paradkar simply responded, "retainer." Court documents do show that during the pretrial motions for the Bosma trial, there were issues with Millard's retainer for counsel, and he had arranged to "liquidate an asset" to pay his legal team.
After a reporter sent him direct quotes from court documents linking him to the letters, Paradkar stopped responding to messages.
In the documents filed opposing Smich's attempts to have information about how the letters moved back and forth included at the Bosma trial, Millard's lawyers said "there is no evidence from any source that Mr. Millard's lawyers knowingly or unknowingly participated in the movement of the letters between Mr. Millard and Ms. Noudga in or out of the jail."
Among other reasons, they sought to have the evidence excluded because it would "unduly arouse the jury's emotions," the document reads. Court documents show that a Crown handwriting expert believed Millard wrote Paradkar's name on the envelopes that were found in Noudga's possession.
Through the years, Paradkar has not shied away from the spotlight in legal cases.
While many lawyers give brief statements to reporters (if any at all) Paradkar is known for giving long interviews on the courthouse steps, answering any and all questions.
Until recently, his Instagram username was "@cocaine_lawyer." That account has since been deleted.
A Toronto Sun story detailed some of the posts from his account, like a shot of his yellow Lamborghini with the comment: "Cocaine pays lol!!!" as well as photos of police-seized drugs and guns with the caption, "100 kilos of K 4 kilos of cocaine, 5 guns, Uzi, glock — NOT GUILTY!"
While the allegations about the letters have swirled behind closed doors, Paradkar has remained busy. Recently, he represented Karim Baratov, the 22-year-old Hamiltonian was extradited to the U.S. where he pleaded guilty in connection to a massive hack of Yahoo emails.