(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

Brodie Stuart and her mom, Mikel Stuart, gather for the celebration at Parkview Elementary on June 18, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Eagle Valley News)
Three Shuswap parents honoured for combined 34 years of volunteering

Parkview Elementary parent advisory council members surprised by appreciative flash mob

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Centennial Field in Blind Bay will be the site of Market by the Bay on Thursday nights starting June 24, 2021. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District photo)
Forty vendors expected for new Market by the Bay in the South Shuswap

Market starting June 24 to be situated at Centennial Field in Blind Bay

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to collect donations ahead of Kristy Handel’s 33-kilometre run for Chelaine McInroy (pictured) to cover costs for a new prosthetic leg after her June 12, 2021, surgery. (GoFundMe)
Salmon Arm woman runs to raise funds for friend’s new prosthetic leg

33-kilometre Run for Chelaine to help athlete cover medical costs from latest surgery

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read