An advance copy of this letter has been sent to Kelly Lamrock, my MLA and Minister of the Departments of Justice and Social Development – two departments implicated in unlawfully affecting my economic survival as a legal activist and potential lawyer.
I have attempted, over several years, to use my legal training to assist the poor. Even after scaling down my services to comply with an injunction obtained by the Law Society of New Brunswick against my alleged unauthorized practice of law as a non-lawyer, that body still considered it in the public interest to have a judge jail me for contempt.
Yet, the Law Society has ironically also rejected my application to become a licensed lawyer, due to my activism, although it has had to concede my legal skills, honesty and ethics. Since the contempt order has further restricted my right to engage in legally oriented work as a non-lawyer, including even doing things non-lawyers are allowed to do, I am effectively banned from either a law practice or an alternative career in my field.
The contempt order also prohibits my access to the court to seek a remedy to this situation, such as challenging fundamental legal errors made at my trial, unless I have prior written consent from a judge. After about a year and a half of requesting such consent and being ignored, I was finally told about an out-of-court, behind-the-scenes memo from three judges (all of whom had been disqualified from presiding at my trial due to a history with me) that effectively amended the contempt order, without proper authority, to say that I could only seek prior written consent through a lawyer. Being unable to get a lawyer to take my case, I have been stuck with an order that, among other things, deprives me of both court access and a legal career.
Former Justice Minister TJ Burke and current Justice Minister Kelly Lamrock have refused to address the above issues affecting the administration of justice. Aggravating my dire economic circumstances, Mr. Lamrock, as Minister of Social Development, also has refused to fulfill his duty under legislation which clearly says that he “shall” grant income assistance to a person, such as I happen to be, who for the time being is unable to provide for himself and his dependents. Mr. Lamrock might wish to obey the law and avoid the appearance that he is letting my history with the Department of Justice and the Law Society affect his decision about the separate issue of my eligibility for income assistance.
Vaughn Barnett, J.D.