Victoria lawyer suspends practice for jury tampering

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CBC News


A Victoria lawyer who was convicted in a jury-tampering case has voluntarily agreed to stop practising law until an investigation by the Law Society of B.C. is complete.

Malcolm Zoraik, 47, made the offer just hours before he was scheduled to appear before a disciplinary hearing of the law society on Wednesday.

The hearing was called earlier this week after Zoraik was found guilty of writing a fake letter to the court registry in Victoria last May in an apparent attempt to have a ruling thrown out in a case he had lost.

In the letter, Zoraik claimed to be the husband of one of the jurors, and alleged his wife was offered a bribe by an official from the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

A provincial court judge found Zoraik guilty of fabricating evidence and obstructing justice, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for the fall.

Law society moved to restore public confidence

The law society convened a hearing on Wednesday because it wanted to move quickly to restore public confidence.

But the society's director of investigations, Stuart Cameron, said before it got underway, Zoraik agreed to suspend his licence until the law society completes its own investigation into his conduct.

"So, strictly speaking, it's not a suspension, but it has the same effect," Cameron said. "The public has the protection of knowing that he isn't entitled to practise."

Cameron said he's not sure when the society's investigation will be complete. A formal hearing will be held after the investigation, at which it could be decided that Zoraik will be permanently barred from practising law.

In the meantime, the society has appointed another lawyer to take on Zoraik's current cases, Cameron said.