Former Nanaimo lawyer facing criminal charges

A former Nanaimo lawyer disbarred by the Law Society of B.C. in 2007 is now facing criminal charges.

A former Nanaimo lawyer disbarred by the Law Society of B.C. in 2007 for allegedly over-billing the Department of Justice is now facing criminal charges.

Shane Dennison is facing criminal charges of fraud, breach of trust by public officer, falsification of documents and forgery. Offence dates listed are between September 2002 and June 2004.

His first court appearance is April 23 in Nanaimo provincial court.

In the spring of 2007, the Law Society of B.C. found Dennison and Donald King, another former Nanaimo lawyer, guilty of professional misconduct after a forensic accountant hired by the society found that the men over-billed the federal justice department by more than $277,000.

A second society hearing panel disbarred Dennison and King in November of that year.

Crown spokeswoman Samantha Hulme said in an e-mailed response that no charges were approved against King because the available evidence did not support it.

“As to the length of time before charges were laid, I can tell you that it was a complicated and obviously serious file which took the police a lengthy period of time to investigate and gather the necessary evidence to submit to Crown to support criminal charges,” she said.

The Law Society of B.C. hearing panel report issued in April 2007 states that Dennison worked for Nanaimo law firm Hunter Garrett Lobay until the firm ceased to operate as a partnership in 2002, continuing on as an association.

A new firm – Lobay Dennison Beaubier – emerged in 2003. A contract with the federal justice department to act as the agent in Nanaimo and Courtenay survived these changes.

The report states that the over-billing was discovered by a junior lawyer who was offered the opportunity in 2003 to do some Department of Justice work for the company. To get a handle on the workload, he reviewed the Courtenay lawyers’ time sheets and discovered evidence the sheets had been altered.

In 2004, following a confrontation with Dennison, the junior lawyer took his discovery to David Lobay, a senior partner in the law firm, who filed a complaint with the law society, reads the report.