Law Times

September 21, 2015

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Victim of lawyer who faked documents facing extortion charge BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times I n a twist to the matter of a dis- barred lawyer who wrote fake court rulings, both he and his victim have upcoming court dates after police charged his former client with extortion. York Regional Police have con- firmed Rob Danninger, 47, is fac- ing one count of extortion and will make a first appearance in New- market, Ont., on Oct. 1. Const. Andy Pattenden says Danninger is due to appear that day in the Ontar- io Court of Justice on the allegation he demanded a $25,000 sum. From 2012-13, Danninger, own- er of Daro Flooring Constructions Inc., was the client of Brian Nich- olson, a Mississauga, Ont., lawyer disbarred by the Law Society Tri- bunal earlier this year over findings that he had created numerous court orders, endorsements, e-mails, and notices favourable to his case against another company. The tribunal found Nicholson had faked elabo- rate endorsements, sometimes with addenda, signed under the names of actual judges in Ontario. In one such fabrication, Nicholson imper- sonated a judge and wrote an order for the payment of a $3-million fine in favour of Danninger for breaches of an injunction the court had never actually ordered. "It was prolonged; the mislead- ing was extravagant," said Law Soci- ety of Upper Canada counsel Leslie Maunder during the proceedings. Nicholson admitted to the fab- rication in an agreed statement of facts and told Law Times he was going through a personal crisis at the time following a divorce and his father's death. He also said he was acting out of fear of disappointing his client. "Some of the evidence that wasn't included in the agreed statement of facts was that the client was overbearing and threatening at times," said Nicholson. Following his admission to his client, Nicholson made a $25,000 payment to Danninger, an amount described as restitution to the tribunal. Besides the law society proceed- ings, police also charged Nicholson with fraud, obstruct justice, and ut- tering false documents. Nicholson and his new wife, Vanessa Gartner, say they're confi- dent at least a portion of the charges against him will be dropped at a court appearance on Sept. 24 and that he otherwise stands by his ad- mission of guilt in terms of falsify- ing documents. "All of this has caused a lot of stress for us," says Gartner, who alleges Danninger threatened Nicholson's livelihood unless they made the $25,000 payment. She says they complied out of fear for Nicholson's career. None of the allegations has been proven in court. For his part, Dan- ninger calls the allegations "ridicu- lous" and says he won't comment further on the case until after his court date and the results of Nichol- son's trial at which he'll be a Crown witness. "I will say it's the most ri- diculous thing I've ever dealt with in my life," says Danninger. LT legal expertise? Looking for Find exactly what you need at It's fast, It's free, s fa , s f and it's available to you 24 hours a day. ay. s available y availabl y Starting a business, making a will or buying a house? Declaring bankruptcy, dealing with a personal injury, insurance claim or job loss? If you're in the midst of one of life's big events, help is as close as your smartphone, tablet or computer. Simply go to to find the right lawyer for your particular legal need. is Canada's most comprehensive online directory of lawyers and law firms. And it's easy to use! You can search by city, legal specialty, or name for listings and contact information. Find the legal expertise you need at Untitled-2 1 2015-09-10 7:42 AM Drug courts grappling with cuts Services at risk as funding spread across the country BY NEIL ETIENNE Law Times O ntario's drug treatment courts are facing a financial crunch with federal funding changes meaning significant cuts to their budgets. For the financial year starting in April 2015, the federal government downloaded administration of the funding to the provinces, allowing places without drug treatment courts, such as Prince Edward Island and the territories, to start them up. Overall annual funding of approximately $3.6 million for each of the past 10 years remains the same across Canada in 2015. But with more services popping up nationally, each of the existing drug treatment courts now gets a smaller portion of the money. The Department of Justice didn't respond to questions from Law Times about the changes by press time. Robin Cuff, manager of Toronto's drug treatment court, says that for 10 years, her operation has been receiv- ing $750,000 annually from the federal government to run its services. In April of this year, when the government downloaded administration of the funds to the province, the Toronto court's annual funding fell to $600,000. While community partnerships and the use of volunteers pro- vide additional support, Cuff worries the funding cut will hamper the court's effectiveness. The situation is similar in Ottawa, where drug treat- ment court manager Ruth Mayhew says the traditional annual funding of $550,000 has fallen by $150,000 to $400,000. For Cuff, the changes will have a significant MARIN'S RECORD Ontario ombudsman did his job well P6 FOCUS ON Competition Law P8 'For people with substance abuse issues, there's nothing else that compares in the justice system,' says Kristin Bailey. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Government, page 5 PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 29 September 21, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L AW TIMES ENFORCING JUDGMENTS Court accepts alternative to sheriff's sale P4

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