The Law Society of British Columbia Tribunal has ruled that the proceedings against one of the society’s lawyers will be closed to the public, contrary to the lawyer’s wishes and despite the fact that the society’s hearings are normally open to the public and media.
Tribunal adjudicator Lindsay LeBlanc issued the ruling on May 13, a day after the tribunal held a pre-hearing meeting at which the Law Society of B.C. applied to have the May 16–18 hearing against Vancouver lawyer Carey Linde shielded from public view.
Linde is facing internal discipline for allegedly breaking a publication ban while representing a father in a case concerning an underaged transgendered teen. The father, referred to as “CD,” himself was jailed on contempt of court charges in 2021 for speaking to media about his opposition to his female-born child’s testosterone treatments to change to the opposite gender.
When The Epoch Times and others sought to witness the May 12 Zoom meeting, LeBlanc ruled that the meeting itself would be closed to the public and media.
Linde’s lawyer, Paul Jaffe, told The Epoch Times that he was surprised by LeBlanc’s pronouncement.
“It was a decision that was made without inviting any input from Carey, and also a decision that was made without any explanation of why she came to that conclusion, other than saying that she had read the material,” Jaffe said.
“You know that they’ve prejudged the matter when the issue which was to be addressed is whether the hearing itself will be open to the public. And the opening salvo is that we’re going to not even let the public look at the argument behind opening it to the public.”
Law Society spokesperson Jason Kuzminski said the society sought to keep Linde’s trial closed so as to protect the same details as those covered by the initial publication ban.
“The reason the Law Society sought for the Tribunal to order the hearing of the citations be closed to the public is to protect confidential information related to the protection order and publication ban that Linde is alleged to have breached,” Kuzminski said in an interview.
The May 13 ruling also noted that “all documents and materials filed up to and including the date of this Order and thereafter shall be permanently sealed, subject to a further order of the Law Society Tribunal.”
‘The Story Is Too Important’
Linde is a divorce lawyer who has been a society member for 50 years. He is facing two citations issued by the Law Society for allegedly sharing with a U.S. media outlet details about his client’s case that were under a publication ban without advising his interviewer of the ban. He is accused of professional misconduct pursuant to section 38(4) of the Legal Profession Act.
Linde, for his part, told The Epoch Times he had given an interview to the California-based blogger in question on the condition that she not publish his client’s name, but she broke her word, saying “I know I promised, but the story is too important” and the publication ban “doesn’t apply to me down here.”
“So the Law Society was of the view that I should not have given the interview in the first place because I should have somehow foreseen that it was possible somebody wouldn’t agree to their promises.”
Jaffe says he believes the publication bans should not have been made in the first place.
“The allegation is that Carey breached a couple of gag orders that were issued by the court which prohibited him from disclosing any information which may lead to the identity of the transgendered kids in these cases [and which] protected doctors, of all things, from being identified in connection with this whole transgender industry,” Jaffe said in an interview prior to the May 12 hearing.
“So it was a very, very wide-sweeping—and in my view, probably constitutionally impermissible—order made by the court, but it was never set aside.”
Jaffe said he gave the tribunal three reasons its proceedings should remain public.
“There are existing court orders which already fully protect the kids involved historically and whose personal details ought to remain under wraps, and that the Law Society hearing need not shut out the public because we’re all here in the context of those existing orders and publication bans,” he said.
“And in fact, the court files on these cases that Carey worked on are both sealed themselves. So there’s triple protection for what they say are the interests to be protected.”