Investigation into alleged lawyer misconduct overturned by N.W.T. judge

The lawyer who investigated the complaint ruled it came down to a
The lawyer who investigated the complaint ruled it came down to a

The results of an investigation into the conduct of a Yellowknife lawyer have been thrown out by a Northwest Territories Supreme Court justice.

In October 2021, Adam McKinnon filed a complaint against the executive director of the N.W.T. Law Society at the time, Glenn Tait. McKinnon alleged that Tait acted in a manner that was inappropriate and "unbecoming" of a lawyer when he made what McKinnon described as false statements to police.

McKinnon claimed Tait told police he had sent him "threatening" emails, and agreed to have an officer call McKinnon and warn him about sending any more.

Tait claims he described the emails as "almost" threatening and told police he didn't want McKinnon called.

Lawyer Andrew Fox, who also serves as the territory's Information and Privacy Commissioner, investigated McKinnon's complaint.

In February 2022, Fox dismissed McKinnon's complaint saying it was the result of a "miscommunication or misunderstanding."

But on Wednesday, Justice V.O. Ouellette ruled Fox's investigation was not conducted fairly and was "incomplete." Ouellette said a report from the RCMP officer who took Tait's statement regarding the emails was purposefully ignored by Fox.

In that report, Const. Alexandre LaFleur wrote that he had spoken to Tait who told him McKinnon had sent emails that contained threats. He also wrote that Tait had agreed to have McKinnon warned by the police.

"It is clear Mr. Fox did not have all the facts. That was his own doing. He was aware of it but it appears he chose to ignore it," Ouellette said in his decision.

Ouellette did not order a new investigation into McKinnon's complaint as Tait has retired as a lawyer and is no longer an active member of the Law Society. A new investigation would only take place if Tait decides to practise law in the future.

McKinnon admits to sending "hundreds" of emails to the Law Society. In one he called Tait and other members of the Society "f--king weasels" and "corrupt."

Tait told police the emails started after a previous complaint McKinnon had filed about a different lawyer had been dismissed.

Though he ruled in his favour, in his decision Ouellette admonished McKinnon for his behaviour.

"Many of your barrage of emails were insulting and derogatory," the justice said.