Friday, February 23, 2024

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The Quebec Bar Disciplinary Council made a Decision on Guilt for conduct during a client's interrogation

As part of this interrogation conducted by Mr. Riahi , Mr. M was asked questions relating to the contract entered into with the Company. Following objections he made, the respondent announced that his client would no longer answer certain questions.

Mr. Riahi asks the respondent if he is stopping him from asking questions on this subject. The latter responds, using a falsetto voice: “Poor you. You are prevented from making a full defense”, and that his client has already responded. Mr. Riahi asks him if he called her “poor you”  . The respondent retorts: “So, poor you. Poor you. You're prevented. » Nevertheless, after an exchange between lawyers, the interrogation continues. A little later, the respondent announced that the interrogation would continue before a judge. He then mentions to M e  Riahi: “And we'll see how smart you are then”. During the interrogation, the respondent often reacted to Mr. Riahi's questions with a little laugh. After other exchanges, Mr. Riahi asked that a conversation be held “off-record”. During this discussion, according to Mr. Riahi, the respondent uses the terms “Fucking stupid questions”. During the hearing, the respondent rather stated that he had said: “your questions are f...ing nonsense”. These exchanges as well as the tone and attitude that the respondent adopted during the interrogation constitute the basis of the complaint.

Falsetto

By addressing his colleague in this way, in the opinion of the Council, the respondent behaves in a way that is not that expected of a lawyer. By adopting a falsetto voice, he makes fun of his colleague. Then, by continuing with a much lower voice, he underlines this exaggerated attitude. Let us not forget that the respondent is present at an interrogation. He is in the presence of clients and a representative of the stenography firm as well as a young lawyer who comes to assist him. His conduct seriously tarnishes the image of the profession.

Finding

If the respondent then experienced frustration with the way in which Mr. Riahi  conducted the interrogation outside of court, he should avoid getting carried away by words that he would later regret. Moreover, the respondent recognizes that he should not have said “poor you” or the “F” word. As already mentioned, when we take into account all of the respondent's conduct previously exposed, in particular the tone used and the manner in which the words aimed at his colleague are pronounced, and this in the context of an interrogation outside court in the presence of clients, there is a loss of control on his part, and his behavior is then below acceptable behavior.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2024/02/the-quebec-bar-disciplinary-board-made-a-decision-on-guilt-for-conduct-during-a-clients-interrogation-as-part-of-this-inte.html

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