Nova Scotia’s top court says a Halifax defence lawyer who was disbarred can be reinstated before paying a $150,000 penalty levied by the professional law society.
In a written decision released Thursday, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal says the terms and conditions for the repayment will have to be worked out between Lyle Howe and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society if he applies for reinstatement.
Howe was disbarred in October, 2017 after a disciplinary panel of the society found him guilty of professional misconduct and professional incompetence.
In his appeal heard by the court in April, Howe argued the panel’s decision violated his equality rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because he was singled out for scrutiny and faced harsher penalties than other lawyers.
He also submitted that the only reason for the difference in treatment was that he is black, an argument dismissed in the court’s unanimous decision. It did not find his Charter rights had been breached or that the society’s investigation was motivated by racial prejudice.
Writing on behalf of the five-member appeal panel, Justice J.A. Farrar said while there was significant scrutiny of Howe, it wasn’t without reason.