Law Times

September 1, 2014

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Should AG be able to seize alleged drunken sailor's boat? By yamri Taddese Law Times f the Ministry of the Attor- ney General gets its way in a unique civil forfeiture case, an alleged drunken sailor could see his boat taken away by the government. It would be an unusual read- ing of the Civil Remedies Act, legislation that o en targets property obtained through the proceeds or used as an instrument of crime. But in Ontario (Attorney General) v. Kittiwake Sailboat (Registration #50E83594), "it is not alleged that the boat was acquired with the proceeds of crime, or that it is used [as] a criminal enter- prise," according to Superior Court Ju stice David Corbett's en- dorsement in the matter last month. e attorney general is still seek- ing to seize Valetin Chygyrynskyy's sailboat on the basis that he oper- ated the boat while under the infl u- ence of drugs or alcohol. Chygy- rynskyy, an unrepresented litigant, denies he was the person operating the sailboat while impaired. In a recent ruling, Corbett said he'd feel uncomfortable to make fi ndings in the case without hear- ing opposite views from counsel. He asked to have an amicus curiae assist the court as "Mr. Chygyryn- skyy, who cannot aff ord counsel, who has no legal training, and who does not speak English, cannot help the court with the legal issues." "Assuming without deciding that the facts are as alleged by the [a ttorney general of ] Ontario, there is a signifi cant legal question as to whether the Civil Remedies Act can and does extend to forfeiture of property in these circumstances," he wrote. " ese are important is- sues that could have signifi cant im- plications for a great many people." e Crown is proceeding with the case despite the judge's concern that the matter may not be appropri- ate for what he called a decision of fi rst impression given that Chygy- rynskyy is representing himself and his sailboat isn't a high-powered one. " e potential impact of this case on forfeiture practices generally, and thus on the general public, is a matter of concern, however. e [attorney general of ] Ontario is [in] no sense neutral on these questions," the judge THE MOST COMPLETE DIRECTORY OF ONTARIO LAWYERS, LAW FIRMS, JUDGES AND COURTS More detail and a wider scope of legal contact information for Ontario than any other source: ȕ0WFS27,000 lawyers listed ȕ0WFS9,000 law firms and corporate offices listed ȕ'BYBOEUFMFQIPOFOVNCFSTFNBJMBEESFTTFTPGȮDFMPDBUJPOTBOEQPTUBMDPEFT Visit or call 1.800.387.5164 for a 30-day no-risk evaluation 1FSGFDUCPVOEȕ1VCMJTIFE%FDFNCFSFBDIZFBSPOTVCTDSJQUJPOȕ0OFUJNFQVSDIBTF- .VMUJQMFDPQZEJTDPVOUTBWBJMBCMF1SJDFTTVCKFDUUPDIBOHFXJUIPVUOPUJDFUPBQQMJDBCMFUBYFTBOETIJQQJOHIBOEMJOH O N TA R I O L AW Y E R' S P H O N E B O O K Untitled-3 1 14-05-20 3:25 PM Actions against Cho proliferate Buyers seeking litigation, LSUC options to recover money By yamri Taddese Law Times roperty buyers who are out $15 million in deposit money are eyeing the Law Society of Upper Can- ada's compensation fund as the civil lawsuits pro- liferate amid lawyer Meerai Cho's arrest on fraud charges last week. Cho is facing 75 charges related to fraud over $5,000, pos- session of property obtained by fraud, and breach of trust. She says she transferred the purchasers' deposit funds, which she was holding in trust, to her client, who was the developer of a North York building. She claims she transferred the money to Joseph Lee through an honest mistake due to her inexperi- ence. Police released Cho on a promise to appear in court on Oct. 2 shortly a er her arrest on Tuesday. Meanwhile, purchasers who are out thousands of dol- lars are looking at ways to get their money back. Although police had heard from about 25 complainants as of last week, they believe there are as many as 141 victims. Lawyer Mark Ross is representing fi ve purchasers who paid $700,000 in deposit fees for fi ve commercial units in the Centrium development on Yonge Street, a mixed use project that included residential, retail, and hotel components. Ross got a court order for the payment of the money but notes "the bank says there are $1,700 le in that [trust] account." Cho has declared bankruptcy, which creates a hurdle for proceedings directly against her. But Ross says he's looking at other avenues to recover his clients' money. "I can tell you one of those things is the law society com- pensation fund," he says, noting each of his fi ve clients had bought a unit. e law society's compensation fund has a cap of $150,000, an amount that could cover many pur- chasers' deposits. With Cho declaring bankruptcy, "any judgment we have against [her] is probably extremely limited," says Ross. "I don't know if she has the [$15 million] to repay all of DUELLING VISIONS CDLPA, LAO weigh in on duty counsel hires P7 FOCUS ON Class Actions P8 'The purpose of the trust account is to hold the money in trust,' said Toronto police Det.-Const. Chris Devereux in announcing criminal charges against lawyer Meerai Cho last week. Photo: Glenn Kauth See Forfeiture, page 2 See Police, page 2 PM #40762529 ! ! Accounting and Practice Management ntitled-7 1 14-08-26 4:01 PM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 27 September 1, 2014 ! Civil Litigation A U T O M A T E D Litigation Docs Made Easy NEW "TICKLER" INCLUDED ntitled-7 1 14-08-26 3:59 PM l Aw TIMes l Aw TIMes P A new case is considering whether the province can seize a man's sailboat for operating it while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I CLINIC REFORM New report details merger plans P4 Photo: Holbox/Shutterstock

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