(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

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read