A Toronto paralegal whose failed parking ticket repair scheme promised guaranteed results committed professional misconduct, a Law Society of Ontario tribunal ruled on Wednesday.
Michael Low was given a 19-month licence suspension, ordered to pay $30,000 in costs to the Law Society and to repay thousands of dollars more to consumers whose money he took but provided no services.
According to tribunal documents, 31 consumers whose cases were investigated are owed between $15 and $2,000 by Low.
“I apologize for that,” Low told Global News, which has reported extensively on complaints about Low’s conduct in 2015 and 2016.
The Law Society received 57 complaints and investigated 38 of them against Low and his company, Parking Ticket Guys.
WATCH: Toronto paralegal promises parking ticket fix, but doesn’t (Aug. 3, 2016)
Investigators who examined Low’s business, which at one time operated from a trailer outside a Finch Avenue courthouse in Toronto, found Low offered legal services that were not a licensed professional corporation and did not have the regulator’s permission to do business.
Low did not maintain a trust account, which is required under rules.
Customers told Global News Low’s failure to defend them resulted in their inability to renew their vehicle licence stickers. Some customers said they got demand letters from the City of Toronto for unpaid fines. In at least one other case, someone’s vehicle was towed because of unpaid fines.
“I’m disappointed, it lets us all down,” said tribunal member Paul Dray, who is also a licensed paralegal in Ontario.
“Hopefully you will get some mentoring,” he said.
Earlier in the hearing, Low alleged his legal rights were being infringed and it was unfair that the case against him was proceeding.
He also complained to tribunal chair Frederika Rotter that a Global News reporter shouldn’t be allowed to tweet about the hearing, a practice permitted in Ontario courts.
At one point, after Low objected and began reading the reporter’s tweets aloud to the tribunal, asserting Rotter was “cowtowing” to the media, Rotter rose to her feet and ordered Low to stop talking.
“There is freedom of the press in this country,” she said, adding the tribunal would not stand in the way of reporting.
Low, who has been suspended since October 2016, is now deemed to have served out his suspension and can return to work as a paralegal without any restrictions.
He said he will not be defending parking ticket cases in future.
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