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Disgraced lawyer's conviction stands

Jun 27 2012

A former Victoria lawyer convicted of public mischief, obstruction of justice and fabrication of evidence has lost his appeal.

Malcolm Zoraik failed to convince the B.C. Court of Appeal that a conviction in Victoria provincial court had errors. In a decision released Tuesday, the higher court supported Judge Adrian Brooks's 2010 decision to convict Zoraik.

"The case against Mr. Zoraik was firmly grounded in compelling evidence which, when accepted by the judge, formed an solid evidentiary basis for the convictions entered on the three counts," said Justice Mary Saunders, with Justice Catherine Ryan and Justice Harvey Groberman agreeing.

In April 2009, Zoraik acted for a client who was suing for injuries suffered in a childhood car accident. A jury, after deliberating for 20 minutes, came back with a decision that the driver was not at fault.

Zoraik immediately asked the judge to decline to enter a judgment because of the short time the jury spent deliberating. The matter was adjourned to May 2009.

A few days before the hearing, a letter purporting to be from a juror's husband was left on a counter at the Victoria courthouse.

It suggested the juror had been offered money for her vote in the case.

After an investigation, Zoraik was charged with creating and depositing the letter, which broke the law.

Evidence included a fingerprint found on the envelope and courthouse security camera footage.

Zoraik appealed the conviction, saying in part that the provincial court judge should not have admitted into evidence the fingerprint or the video footage.

Zoraik was given an 18-month sentence consisting of six months' house arrest and the remainder under a strict curfew.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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