Lyle Howe suggests race playing a part in discipline process
Halifax lawyer facing seven compliants of misconduct and incompetence
Halifax defence lawyer Lyle Howe says the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society disciplinary process he is facing is biased, and suggested Tuesday at the hearing into allegations against him that the bias is in part because he is black.
Howe is facing seven complaints of professional misconduct and professional incompetence. He has pleaded not guilty. If found guilty, he could be disbarred.
Howe spent Tuesday cross-examining two witnesses at his disciplinary hearing.
One, Dartmouth Crown prosecutor Michelle James, was one of the people to file a formal complaint against Howe. She accused him of trying to extort a Crown witness just before a trial was to begin.
James also complained about Howe missing court dates for pre-trial conferences and trials. Howe asked James if any other lawyers missed such dates. When she said yes, Howe asked her if she'd filed formal complaints against any of them. She said no.
Howe listed about eight other defence lawyers from the Halifax area that he said have missed court dates or been double-booked. Howe said the difference between those lawyers and himself is that he is black.
Howe also resumed his questioning of Victoria Rees, the director of professional responsibility for the barristers' society. Rees conducted the investigation against Howe.
He's accused her of being biased and he told the hearing he had asked her to step aside.
Rees was the first witness to testify at the hearing. She has been on the stand for more than two days, although her testimony has been broken up to accommodate a Christmas break and the schedule of another witness. Howe said he should finish questioning her on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday's hearing was much quieter than Monday's session, which was briefly disrupted by outbursts from Howe supporters who packed the public gallery. On Tuesday a security guard was in the hearing room and there are fewer spectators.