A prominent New Brunswick lawyer will be allowed to continue practising even after he was found guilty of attempting to obstruct justice.
Judge Irwin Lampert delivered his ruling in Moncton on Thursday and Saint John-based Rod Gillis could face up to 10 years in prison.
Gillis is already appealing his conviction and the New Brunswick Law Society is now in the process of determining whether Gillis will be disciplined or suspended.
Marc Richard, the society’s executive director, said the matter is now being investigated.
Richard said Gillis could be reprimanded, fined $25,000 or he could be suspended or disbarred.
But he says that will all take time.
"I can't tell you about weeks or months, because a lot of things can happen. Members, like any individual, have rights," he said.
Richard said a complaints committee reviews the file and it may then refer the matter to a disciplinary committee for action.
At each step Gillis can ask the process be put on hold until his appeals are heard. Appeals can take months or years to make it through the justice system.
In the meantime, the law society says the rules of justice allow him to continue to practice law.
Gillis will be sentenced on April 4.
The obstruction case against Gillis dates back to 2009 when the lawyer was representing former Liberal MLA Frank Branch in a civil lawsuit against the North Shore Forest Products Marketing Board.
Gillis was also representing Branch in a criminal case.
During a break in the civil proceedings, Gillis approached Alain Landry, the manager of the marketing board, and offered a deal.
Gillis suggested Landry stop board witnesses from testifying against Branch in the criminal case.
He also wanted the board to pay $250,000 to Branch to settle the civil case.
Gillis also threatened if the criminal matter went forward it would be messy and two cabinet ministers would have to testify in the case.
Gillis denied Landry’s version of the events.
When handing down his judgment on Thursday, Lampert said he did not believe Gillis.
"I found Gillis’ testimony too often to be vague, indefinite, qualified and non-committal. He often did not appear to be forthright and responsive to questions. Gillis was often argumentative when being questioned by [Crown prosecutor Peter] Craig," Lampert's ruling said.
"As I said before, his testimony, at times, was neither reasonable nor consistent. He did not stand up well under cross-examination. I say with regret that when I consider the totality of Gillis’ testimony, I do not believe that he was, at all times, attempting to be truthful."