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
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
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
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
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
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.”