Tuesday, January 24, 2023
The Manitoba Law Society has reprimanded an attorney for media comments about a high profile case
Mr. Prober made derogatory and unfounded comments to the media about the complainants in the Peter Nygard case. He said their statements about their interactions with his client were "completely false", that they were being paid for "false evidence" and had 'jumped' on "the money train, the gravy train". These comments perpetuated long discredited rape myths about complainants in sexual assault cases. They were hurtful and indeed harmed the complainants in question as was stated in two statements read to the Panel (Exhibits 2 and 3)
The attorney admitted the misconduct and showed mitigation
Mr. Prober has successfully completed the Society's course Trauma Informed Lawyering since July 2020.
Mr. Prober provided some appropriate, apologetic, thoughtful, and insightful comments. Specifically, he said that his comments were "harsh, harmful and hurtful".
Mr. Prober has been a member in good standing for over 52 years. This is a key, mitigating consideration in our conclusion that Mr. Prober will not reoffend and that there is no risk to the public in his continuing to practise
In this case the professional misconduct brings the legal system into disrepute. This affects the public's confidence in and perception of the profession. The member had an obligation to be civil and courteous in his public statements defending his client. In recklessly attacking the credibility of a number of complainants without adequate supporting facts he breached that obligation.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel has unanimously determined that a reprimand, as jointly recommended, is appropriate.
CTV News reported on charges against Peter Nygard
Once known as canada’s Hugh Hefner, Nygard founded his namesake fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967. He was known for his lavish parties at his Bahamas estate and hosting the rich and famous.
In recent years, he became the subject of sexual assault allegations, including recruiting girls for sex, some as young as 14 years old.
Nygard was first taken into custody in Winnipeg in December 2020. In October 2021, he agreed to be extradited to the United States where he faces charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
In Toronto, the allegations of sexual assault and forcible confinement involve eight victims.
The attorney was called to the Bar in 1970 and has no prior discipline. (Mike Frisch)