Cornwall lawyer Gatien announces retirement after licence suspended

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A 75-year-old Cornish barrister has announced his resignation after being suspended from practice.

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Maurice Gatien, who ran his law firm of Gatien & Huza in downtown Cornwall, described it as a complicated situation and that he is “naturally concerned about the position of the Law Society of Ontario – which resulted in part from my aim to establish the identity of zu protect the people who wanted to contribute to the Eastern Ontario Health Alliance fundraiser. As evidenced by what later happened with the illegal hacking of the posts to various protests across the country, this was a valid concern, and not just in theory.

“I’m grateful for all the well wishes I’ve received to take on this role, which have caused me some expenses, including this last one with the LSO. Most of the people whose identities I wanted to protect were women, many working as first responders and nurses. Many people were humble; Many have been bullied at work and in their personal lives. . . If I’m shamed for protecting the identities of vulnerable people, it’s a shame I can accept. It would have been easy to tell these individuals they were on their own and turn their backs on them. I have chosen to be their shield.”

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The Bar accused Gatien of engaging in professional misconduct and the panel found that he had failed to cooperate with an investigation by the Bar by failing to provide the information and documents requested, including the necessary books and records, to submit. It ruled that his admission to the bar will be suspended until he gives a satisfactory answer to these requests, which were made on January 13, April 21, May 5 and May 20. Should he provide those answers, the suspension would end a month later.

He was also asked to pay $1,500 in costs by September 29, 2023.

in his last Retirement Announcement Gatien said all deeds and wills and related documents will be in the care of Jonathan Huza, Barrister & Solicitor at 40 Second St.W.

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As a lawyer, Gatien focused on commercial and business law and real estate law as well as wills and estates. Gatien’s career has spanned working and living in Montreal, Toronto and Atlanta; His last assignment before returning to Cornwall in 2002 was in New York City and over the years he has represented clients around the world.

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He acknowledged this week that it was disappointing to see his long career come to an end in this way, saying in his statement: “I realize there will be people who will draw negative conclusions from the LSO’s decision. However, to address your concerns, I will retire from legal practice. This will eliminate future questions about anything pertaining to my future behavior.

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“It’s not an easy decision, but I’m 75 years old and maybe it’s the right time.”

In his statement, Gatien claimed to know the identity of the person who filed a complaint with the company, someone he believed had hated him online, and published his home address online. He claimed that his home was broken into twice, his vehicle was stolen and his life threatened. In February he claimed someone had beaten him unconscious at that Cornish office.

All of these accusations surfaced after Gatien formed the Alliance and became a focal point for those who opposed the messages she promoted. He represented Gary Jans, Jason Christoff and Sandra Maurais, three of seven people charged under the Ontario Reopening Act for a May 1, 2020 public rally in Cornwall. He told the provincial criminal court in August that he intended to file a constitutional motion in Toronto’s Ontario Superior Court to have the charges dropped.

Gatien said he was sensitive to the fact that “the whole issue of COVID and the vaccination mandates have sparked a lot of debate and sometimes ignited opinions. That’s a shame. I wish people only the best, whatever their opinions may be. . . It was a challenge to understand the facts, which were not always easy to obtain.”

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