Court

Former Penticton lawyer fined, suspended for misconduct

Penticton lawyer previously found of professional misconduct in 2005 as well.

A former Penticton lawyer was suspended and ordered to pay financial costs for misconduct while he was a practising lawyer.

The Law Society issued a press release on Tuesday that Charles Albas is suspended for four months and must pay $5,706.10 in fines.

Albas, who removed himself from practice prior to the decision, was found to have committed professional misconduct in relation to eight allegations. Those include borrowing money from clients on two occasions, providing legal services to clients when he had a direct or indirect financial interest in the subject matter of the legal services on two occasions, failing to disclose material facts to the court, failing to correct the record with respect to material facts he later discovered, misleading opposing counsel and failing to notify the Law Society of three judgement debts.

The Law Society stated Albas’ professional misconduct “is very serious.”

“In particular, he knowingly acted for two clients in securing loans in which he had an exclusive personal interest,” read the written reasons for disciplinary action.

Albas’ clients whom he borrowed money from were also friends and neighbours of his. The loan occurred in 2005 and involved purchase of property in Langley and ended in a court sale in 2012.

Read more: decisions of the hearing panel

The Law Society said Albas had practised law for nearly 40 years and was capable of recognizing the conflict of interest in this matter.

“Instead, he chose to exercise what he described as bad judgement to benefit personally at the expense of his client,” read the Law Society findings.

The clients lost significant funds and the report reveals they both are still owed $224,000 and $120,000 respectively. The panel noted that there is “virtually no chance these victims of the professional misconduct will ever be made whole.”

Albas told the panel he understood the depth of his wrongdoing and no longer has any confidence in his personal judgement, so he took himself out of practice as a lawyer. He said at the outset of the hearing that he is a broken man suffering from 10 years of chronic depression, has no means to pay anything and had to move communities because of shame. Albas also said he is “truly remorseful and feels a lot of shame and self-loathing.”

In the written reasons for disciplinary action, the Law Society stated that Albas did not take any issue with the hearing panel’s decision on the facts and determination.

“When pressed by the panel, the respondent took the position that a two-month suspension was appropriate and that there should be no order as to costs because of his personal bankruptcy and the impecunious state of his finances.”

Albas had previously been found of misconduct in 2015 and fined for preparing a will for a client and naming himself and his wife as beneficiaries. The will was executed in 2009.

Read more: Lawyer fined for professional misconduct

The Law Society of British Columbia upholds and protects the public interest in the administration of justice by ensuring the independence, integrity and competence of lawyers, establishing education and professional development standards for lawyers, regulating the practice of law and preserving and protecting the rights and freedoms of all persons.

Just Posted

21 years: Grand Chief Stewart Philip to continue leading B.C. Indian Chiefs union

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip acclaimed as president of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

“Princeton won’t be the same without him, that’s what they say.”

A celebration of life held in the town square, possibly with a… Continue reading

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

B.C. health minister announces urgent care center for Central Okanagan residents

The Kelowna-based health centre will support about 63,000 patient visits per year

EDITORIAL: Past actions haunt candidates

Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer dogged by incidents from earlier years

How to get that Spark Joy feeling

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

VIDEO: Police interview with Sagmoen made public

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

B.C. Premier John Horgan worried about ‘rise of racism’

Asked to comment on Justin Trudeau’s ‘blackface’ incidents

Falkland senior still missing

RCMP are worried about Bjorn Collnes after his van was recovered in Westwold

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombusman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of bus crash that killed two students

Most Read