A lawyer from 100 Mile House says the decision to suspend him for professional misconduct for improperly withdrawing a client’s funds is “wrong.”
Douglas E. Dent is appealing a 45-day suspension recently handed down by the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC).
The suspension, which Dent is seeking to be deferred, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 10.
During a hearing in October 2013, LSBC states Dent admitted to using $2,000 he was holding in trust to recover legal fees and disbursements from his client, while the money was supposed to be forwarded to his client’s spouse in equalization payments under the terms of a separation agreement.
“The panel found that Dent put his own interests ahead of his client’s by withdrawing the funds from the trust account without consent in order to be compensated for his work,” the panel report states.
Dent says he believes he received oral consent from his client to use the money.
The society states Dent also requested an additional $2,000 from his client to settle what was owed to the spouse in equalization payments.
Dent is also required to pay costs in the amount of $4,720.
The panel’s decision reads, “We must have due regard for the public interest and the need to ensure the public’s confidence in the integrity of the profession generally.”
Dent says he’s “fairly certain” the suspension will be deferred.
“We’re still open for business.”