(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

First Nation condemns ‘inadequate’ punishment of B.C. lawyer who took on ’60s scoop cases

Stephen Bronstein was suspended for one month and fined $4,000

A First Nation in B.C.’s Cariboo region is condemning the B.C. Law Society’s handling of a Vancouver lawyer’s mishandling of residential school survivor cases.

Stephen Bronstein was suspended for one month and fined $4,000 after admitting to mishandling the cases of residential school survivors. He was also barred from acting as counsel for any ’60s Scoop claimants in the future.

The ’60s Scoop was a large-scale program that allowed child welfare organizations to remove Indigenous children from their families and place them in the foster care system and allow them to be adopted by white families.

The Tŝilhqot’in Nation on Wednesday condemned the law society for not adequately punishing Bronstein, noting that many of his clients were from the First Nation.

“The failure to appropriately condemn this misconduct, is yet another injustice and stain on the handling of the victims and survivors of residential schools,” said Chief Joe Alphonse in a statement. “Bronstein failed to protect his clients and created a situation of further victimization and trauma for survivors.”

According to the law society, Bronstein did not investigate the background of a contractor he had hired before allowing him to work with, and have unsupervised access to, residential school survivor clients who were applying for compensation under the Independent Assessment Process, an out-of-court settlement process.

The law society also found that Bronstein failed to investigate or address complaints that his contractor was demanding that clients hand over a portion of the settlement money they received.

Bronstein also admitted to providing “inadequate service” to 17 clients by not document important communications properly, by not replying to some communications and failing to inform clients and advance their claims in a “timely” manner.

“He admitted to misconduct in his handling of declarations signed by the clients, by directing staff to remove the declarations clients signed on their original Independent Assessment Process application forms and attaching the declarations to revised forms which clients approved over the telephone without seeing them,” the law society stated.

The Tŝilhqot’in pointed to a dissenting opinion written by the law society’s hearing panel which described the disciplinary action as “grossly inadequate.”

In her dissenting opinion, Karen L. Snowshoe wrote that she did “not find that the proposed disciplinary actions fall within the range of fair and reasonable disciplinary actions, in all the circumstances.”

Alphonse said that the outcome of the law society’s hearing “makes a mockery of justice” for residential school and Sixties Scoop survivors.

“This case needed further investigation into the serious claims being made about (contractor) Ivan Johnny’s intimidation and extortion of clients,” he said. “It took a lot of courage for witnesses to come forward, and this is what they have to show for it – nothing. Bronstein basically got off with no repercussion.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenous

Just Posted

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

A Pacific Salmon Foundation grant of $3,000 is going towards the tree plantations. (Cindy Verbeek photo/Houston Today)
550 trees planted in Houston through A Rocha

Houston Christian School students and volunteers help with the tree planting

Currently the Houston station has 16 paramedics, two ambulances and one community paramedic vehicle. (File photo)
Retirement of longtime paramedics worries Houston community

“No loss of service,” assures BC Emergency Health Services

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read