Times-Colonist (Victoria, BC) Wednesday February 24, 1993 Law body won't punish Christie but flays ties to 'lunatic fringe' The Canadian Press Toronto- The Law Society of Upper Canada says it won't discipline Doug Christie, a Victoria lawyer known for defending accused racists, neo-Nazis and Holocaust-deniers. But the law society leveled stinging criticism of Christie's conduct during the trial of accused war criminal Imre Finta and pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel. The 37 page decision released Tuesday didn't appear to satisfy anyone connected with the complaints, including Christie. "In all circumstances, I have concluded that Mr. Christie exercised exceedingly poor judgment, engaged in bad advocacy and was plainly wrong to assert actual bias," Harvey Strosberg, the chairman of discipline, wrote of Christie's conduct during the Zundel case. The 46 year old lawyer "has made common cause with a small, lunatic anti-Semitic fringe element of our society," Strosberg wrote. The law society began investigating Christie in 1990 after receiving several complaints from people alleging his conduct was unbecoming for a lawyer and that he badgered witnesses at Finite's trial. Christie, who is based in Victoria but permitted to practice in other provinces, represented both Zundel and Finta during lengthy trials in Toronto. He is also known across Canada for defending others accused of promoting hatred toward Jews, including former Alberta teacher Jim Keegstra and New Brunswick author Malcolm Ross. Last fall he defended Ku Klux Klansmen in Winnipeg and represented David Irving, a British author who says reports about the Holocaust have been greatly exaggerated, at immigration proceedings that saw him ordered to leave Canada. The law society focused on three incidents: Christie's allegations that the trial judge in the Zundel trial was biased against his client; his jury address at the Finta trial and a 1990 speech he made in support of Finta. Finta, a Toronto restaurateur, was acquitted in May 1990 on charges that he committed crimes against Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Second World War. The case is under appeal. Zundel was convicted of spreading false news about the Holocaust, though the Supreme Court of Canada quashed the decision, saying the law he was charged under was unconstitutional. Strosberg agreed Christie was wrong to suggest the trial judge was biased, but said "there is minimal evidence to support a conclusion that he honestly but mistakenly believed the trial judge was biased." He also agreed Christie "broke the rules" during his jury address at the Finta trial when he expressed a personal opinion and "invited" the jury to disregard the law. However, Strosberg said it "was not so excessive as to warrant the initiation of the discipline process." Strosberg saved his harshest criticism for Christie's 1990 speech. "We know who Mr. Christie is. In the depths of his imagery he has not lied. Suffering Mr. Christie's words and opinions is part of the price one pays for upholding and cherishing freedom of speech in a free and democratic society." In Victoria, Christie said the law society's decision exonerates him but calledthe written decision a "smear" job. He said the law society wrongly attributed words to him, and "then condemned me for saying them." "They make a decision that they're to going to charge me but they say some awful things about me that are incorrect." -30-
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