In my opinion, if you want to steal your sibling’s inheritance, lie, and commit fraud, hope to get judge Barbara Conway to hear your estate case. Not only did she allow lies and perjury without comment or reproach, she rewarded it.
In the case of Laski v Laski she accepted and relied on evidence that in law and common sense would not be believed.
The case revolved around allegations that Wendi Laski, the deceased’s daughter had used fraud and undue influence to get her father to change all his accounts into joint accounts with survivorship to her, thereby leaving nothing for her brother Wayne. This was all done while Harold Laski was under palliative care in the last three months of his life under unusual and suspicious circumstances.. Prior to that, all the money in question was in Harold’s name alone.
There was ample evidence of undue influence and suspicious dealings and transfers out of the ordinary course:large transfers ( the entire estate) of funds near the death of Harold Laski
All contacts with the banks and Mr. Yu were initiated by Wendi not Mr. Laski. There were serious suspicious transfers and dealings far outside of the normal course of business
Wendi had lied to Wayne on a consent recording, about what was happening with the accounts. she clearly led Wayne to believe that he would get what he was expecting from the will. This is clearly a lie as she had already arranged to keep all the money for herself. She further indicated that we should not touch the bank accounts. She said we didn’t know what deals needed to be paid and she hadn’t “taken a penny” this of course was a lie as she had cleared out most if not all of the bank accounts from the TD on the morning of her father’s funeral and deposited immediately in her own name at the BM0
and evidence about her conversations with Harold about his intentions in one examination she swore under oath that she had not discussed with her father prior to his death. She only became aware of the money was hers after he died and she went to the bank and to BMO. The very next day still under oath she denied that she had said it. When reminded she had said that she continued to deny saying it. She then went on to give a completely different answer indicating she had talked with her father before his death and knew that the money was to be hers.
There were few if any of the factors the Supreme Court of Canada would consider evidence of meeting the burden of rebutting the presumption of undue influence. The circumstances surrounding the signing of the documents both with the TD Bank and BMO was very unclear. There was no independent legal advice, despite evidence that Ms. Hamilton who had drafted the will had told Harold Laski in writing to seek legal advice before he made any further transfers
These two completely contradictory and opposite statements under oath with no correction or choice or explanation between the two by Wendi. Harold’s intentions, were the central issue of the case. There was no evidence that Harold had changed his mind save and except for the false evidence of one Norman Yu and BMO described below
Conway ignored all this and accepted the evidence of one Norman Yu, the financial consultant for the deceased, when he said that the deceased had expressed his intentions to disinherit his son.
The first problem was that the details of this crucial evidence were concealed by Mr. Yu, his employer, BMO Nesbitt Burns, and Wendi Laski for almost four (4) years after the death of Mr. Laski. It did not come out until they chose to divulge it only one month before the trial. Norman Yu and Wendi Laski refused to answer questions about how this evidence came about nor give any explanation for the four-year delay in bringing it forward in these unusual and suspicious circumstances . This and the meetings between Wendi, her lawyers, BMO and Norman Yu to discuss this evidence secretly, were ignored by the judge.
The real problem with this evidence was that it was not true. Norman Yu testified that Wendi was in the room with him when her father said he wanted to disinherit Wayne, because he was abusing him, and leave everything to Wendi.
Wendi and her lawyers, never raised this evidence during the four years of litigation. She never relayed confirmed or corroborated that meeting. Not once, in any form, did Wendi claim, that she had been in the room with Norman Yu when Harold Laski expressed his intentions or that she even knew what the reasoning for those intentions were.
Is it believable that Wendi would have had this crucial information before the litigation commenced and never revealed it?
Given those facts, it is not within the balance of probabilities that Mr. Yu’s evidence was true.
A further example of her bias and animus revolved around Wayne’s allegation that the money was in Harold’s account in his name alone at the time of his death, and was transferred after he died. There were phone calls and other evidence to support this. Wendi swore in an affidavit that the money was not transferred before but after Harold died.
“48 The Direction was accepted by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. on February 29, 2012. Although the securities were not deposited into BMO Joint Account # 4551381314 in advance of March 13, 2012. the Direction was irrevocable and therefore the instruction could not be changed once BMO Nesbitt Burns accepted the Direction.”
Despite this specific sworn evidence and the admitted highly out of the ordinary course of business handling of the transfer documents, and in essence saying that Wendi’s sworn statement was not credible, she disagreed.
Nonetheless Judge Conway ignored all this, including the lies and contradictory evidence of Wendi, on the record, which related directly to her father’s intentions. She refused to allow Wayne to call evidence or cross-examine Wendi and Norman Yu despite the clear issues of credibility. There was a serious and deliberate denial of procedural fairness.
Why would a senior judge ignore such evidence and come to such a perverse decision? In my opinion one possible answer is that Judge Conway was affected by influences outside the evidence. These could range from a dislike for Wayne to mood, predisposition or any number of reasons other than the evidence. If not, it was incompetence. One was aware of her animus from the beginning of the hearing. I have no direct evidence but personally am of the opinion based on some circumstances that her decision was made before she entered the courtroom and influenced by others outside the courtroom.
Her judgement should be based only on all the evidence. It clearly appears it was not close.
Further evidence of the judge’s animus was awarding of $80,000 in costs against Wayne. This when the key evidence was concealed for four years by Wendi, Norman Yu, his employer BMO Nesbitt Burns, and counsel. This was abusive and unwarranted in the circumstances.
The judgement was perverse and contrary to the law and weight of the evidence.
Courts and Judges can make mistakes. But this, in my opinion was not a mistake it was an intentional denial and perversion and corruption of justice.
The notice of appeal was filed a few days late. The court refused to extend the time for filing and the matter was never heard on its merits.
The emotional and financial damage caused by such a malicious judgement was horrific. It does not appear that she had the conscience to care. Based on her conduct here, in my opinion, this person should not be a judge or be in any position of authority.
When I become perfect, I will expect it of everyone else. Judges often have the very difficult task of trying to determine the truth and do justice. They cannot be faulted for honest mistakes. This does appear to be the case here.
One should be able to rely on these well-paid and privileged civil servants to honour their oath of office to do their best to follow the evidence, the law, and do justice. It is the cornerstone of our judicial system that people are to be given a fair hearing, before a fair judge acting honestly. This was not the case here. This was a hatchet job.
There is very little one can do when one is the victim of an intellectually dishonest, corrupt and unscrupulous judge. They are very careful and skilled in writing judgements in such a way that they are hard to attack in the Court of Appeal which gives undue deference to trial judges.
Sadly, this kind of experience is not completely rare in our legal system. While many justices are dedicated, well-qualified and fair, far too often one runs into lazy and incompetent judges who base their decisions on their own expedience, personal feelings, speculation, and mood, rather than the evidence. This is clearly what was done here. No one who becomes a judge would demonstrate a lack of knowledge on such of evidentiary rules and law on undue influence and costs. If a senior judge to suggests she did not know or at least was not willing to apply the laws of evidence, undue influence and costs as she demonstrated here, then she has no business being a judge.
What is most upsetting here is that she has disrespected and disgraced her oath and its requirements. She has brought the Administration of Justice into disrepute. It is an abuse of power and authority. It is akin to a police officer drawing his weapon and firing at an innocent person without justification. Yet unlike the police officer, judges are above the law when it comes to this kind of abuse of power in such circumstances
For me, this was devastating. For someone who entered law and fought all my life because of my deep commitment to justice. I could not believe that with all Wendi and her lawyers lies and inconsistent and suspicious evidence that evil could triumph so easily. I had a breakdown. I could no longer take people’s money to represent them in a system capable of such corruption. I lost my practice, I lost my home, I lost my family. All that is left is to complete my fight against injustice and dirty stains of perjury. In that pursuit, I feel duty bound to file a complaint with the Judicial Council which I am presently preparing
Beyond the personal injustice and damage, the result of the disgraceful actions of Conway was to bring the Administration of Justice into disrepute.
Wendi Laski with the help of her friend Norman Yu and BMO, got away with committing fraud. The victims were the Estate, Wayne, and The Government.
Wendi, her lawyers, Norman Yu, BMO and their lawyers got away with putting false and perjured evidence before the court.
Too many on the bench suffer from Judgeitis. It is an affliction characterized by feelings of self-importance, rudeness, lack of attention to the evidence, and a desire to do what is expeditious for them rather than do justice.
Justice perverted corrupted and denied.
All Above is the opinion and experience of the author as litigant and victim and to provide some comfort to other victims who are not alone and to hope this does not happen to others.