Calgary

Surinder Randhawa sentenced to 10 months probation for forged document

A Calgary lawyer who has previously been disciplined by the Law Society of Alberta has been sentenced to 10 months probation on a charge of producing a forged document.

Ordered to take ethics training

Surinder Randhawa has been sentenced to 10 months probation for producing a forged document. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

Surinder Randhawa has been sentenced to 10 months probation and 50 hours of community service after being convicted of falsifying documents in a mortgage application.

He has also been ordered to take 10 hours of ethics training.

Randhawa submitted false documents to TD Canada Trust in a mortgage application for a Marlborough home that went through his office between December 2006 and February 2007.

The court heard the mortgagee whom Randhawa represented never intended to live in the home, never made a down payment, and had no interest in the property.

It was ruled he was willfully blind or reckless with respect to how the mortgage was obtained, and for the use of those documents.

Crown prosecutor Shelley Smith argued for a 12-month probation period, including 80 hours of community service.

She said being paid to do legal aid would not qualify as community service, and that it should be served on a volunteer basis.

Defense lawyer Dennis McDermott said probation is unrealistic, and asked for an absolute discharge.

He said Randhawa is already deterred because he has been serving a suspension from the Law Society of Alberta. "One day suspended sentence is already devastating, let alone 12 months," said McDermott in court.

The defence plans to appeal.

Randhawa was reprimanded by the law society after a hearing last fall for being involved in a fist fight with another lawyer.

He also entered the rival lawyer's office on other occasions, at times wielding an axe or carrying a rock.

According to the hearing report, Randhawa acknowledged guilt and that he "failed to provide informed, independent and competent advice." He admitted to be deserving of sanction.

The law society suspended him from practising law in Alberta for 14 months and ordered him to pay for the costs of the hearings, estimated at $80,000.

It is ultimately up to the Law Society of Alberta to decide whether Randhawa is allowed to return to practicing law.

Randhawa has practised law in Alberta since 1989, but has been disciplined multiple times over the last two decades.