British Columbia

2nd hearing for B.C. lawyer who assaulted girlfriend ends with same result

A West Vancouver lawyer who pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm against a former girlfriend and admitted to representing her in divorce proceedings while they were in a relationship will face discipline following a second decision on the same matter from the Law Society of B.C.

Allegations of professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming a lawyer upheld for Michael Murph Ranspot

Lawyer Michael Murph Ranspot has been suspended from practice for three months and ordered to pay more than $12,000 in costs. (Black Press Media)

A West Vancouver lawyer who pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm against a former girlfriend and admitted to representing her in divorce proceedings while they were in a relationship will face discipline following a second decision on the same matter from the Law Society of B.C.

Michael Murph Ranspot committed conduct unbecoming a lawyer related to the assault as well as professional misconduct for the conflict of interest, according to a decision from a law society hearing panel issued earlier this month.

That's the same conclusion that was reached two years ago when the law society considered the same set of facts.

Altogether, it's now been more than five years since Ranspot's ex-girlfriend filed her original complaint, and she will still have to wait for a decision on any disciplinary measures.

CBC is not naming the woman, who is referred to by the initials CC in law society proceedings. She said that while she's happy to see this outcome, she's also frustrated by the wait. 

"They took a heck of a long time," CC said. "I just hope that if anything like this ever happens again, the law society will man up and take some sort of responsibility and not make the person wait so long, because it's very stressful."

CC filed a complaint against Ranspot with the law society after he beat her up inside her home in December 2015, court documents show. 

Ranspot pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm in November 2016, and received a 16-month conditional discharge, meaning he served a term of probation before the conviction was removed from his criminal record.

The law society issued a citation against him in 2017. CC thought the matter was nearing a conclusion in 2019 when a hearing panel upheld the allegations of professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming a lawyer.

But then Ranspot argued his lawyer at the time hadn't informed him about the hearing, and in September the law society agreed to set aside the earlier decision and schedule a new hearing "on the principles of procedural fairness and natural justice."

This spring, a law society spokesperson described the length of the process so far as "unusual" and said the society has "expressed our regret" to CC for the wait.

A date has yet to be set for a hearing to determine what discipline Ranspot will face.

"I'm just going to sit back and wait," CC said. "I waited this long. And when it does happen, I am surely going to be there to see it."

This isn't Ranspot's first time facing professional discipline.

He was suspended from practice for 18 months beginning in 1997 after billing the Legal Services Society for legal aid that he hadn't provided, among other examples of misconduct. He was also fined in 2007 for professional misconduct

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is a journalist for CBC News in Vancouver with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

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