Former Pitt Meadows mayor John Becker at his former law office. (News files)

Former Pitt Meadows mayor John Becker at his former law office. (News files)

Former Pitt Meadows mayor suspended from practising law for 14 months

Statement from John Becker says anxiety and depression played role

Former Pitt Meadows mayor John Becker will not be practising law for 14 months, after a discipline hearing with the Law Society of B.C.

The tribunal also ordered Becker to pay costs. A decision with written reasons has not yet been released, said Jason Kuzminski, law society director of communications.

Becker was scheduled to face three hearings on three separate citations, including misappropriation of funds, in November. During the process the citations were joined, and the 14-month suspension was a joint proposal by both sides, to address all three citations, explained Kuzminski.

Becker released a statement on Sunday:

“For several years, I have been dogged by allegations of legal improprieties and media coverage, which have hurt my business and health, as well as people I hold dear. To relieve my family and colleagues from further distress – and to protect myself from further mental health impacts – I agreed to a resolution that has now been accepted by the Law Society’s hearing panel, which is a 14-month suspension to begin on March 1, 2021.

“I take full responsibility for the actions for which I have been cited and acknowledge that I failed to properly fulfill my legal obligations at my previous law firm. My actions fell short of the standards expected of lawyers in B.C. When one lawyer stumbles, it effects the entire profession, something I regret deeply. My actions are not indicative of how the vast majority of BC lawyers conduct themselves. I apologize to all my colleagues in the entire legal community.

“Above all, I would also like to apologize to those clients who were prejudiced by my actions. It was not my intention to hurt you, but that does not excuse the impact I had on you. Please accept my sincerest apology.”

Becker’s statement went on to say he has suffered sometimes severe anxiety and depression, for which he has received “medical supports.”

“As you know, mental health issues can contribute to errors in judgement, which I believe played a part in my mistakes and lack of oversight at my previous law firm. All of this was compounded by the stresses that come with a firm growing too quickly, and the fact that I took time away to serve in public office. Again, no excuses.”

One of the citations was for misappropriation of funds, during a period from 2012-2014. Listed in that citation was failure to deliver a bill before withdrawal of client funds, and using pre-signed trust cheques. There was also an allegation of misappropriation or improper billing, involving 205 separate charges. That citation was issued in September of 2018.

A second and third citation were issued in February of 2019. One involved letters which allegedly contained untruthful or misleading information about Becker & Company’s trademark agent status, from 2015 and 2016. It also said during an investigation of complaints, Becker failed to respond fully to the Law Society, or made false representations.

A third citation was for professional misconduct in 2017 and 2018. It involved 199 clients, and said Becker removed their corporate records from “G Legal” without their knowledge, instructions or consent, and failed to provide the clients with accurate information about the location of their records.

READ ALSO: Dingwall elected mayor in Pitt Meadows as turnout up 10 per cent

Becker was elected mayor of Pitt Meadows in 2014, after having served as a city councillor for nine years. He was beaten by current mayor Bill Dingwall in the 2018 election.

The first citation against him was issued Sept. 25, 2018, and the election was held just weeks later, on Oct.20 that year.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Pitt Meadows

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Surrey Board of Trade is calling on the provincial government to implement a temporary paid sick-leave program. (Unsplash.com photo by Kelly Sikkema)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for temporary paid sick-leave program

Reccomendations sent to provincial labour minister, news release notes

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex earns B.C. facility excellence award

Award is among four presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Surrey RCMP officers on scene of a vehicle fire, which is believed to be an arson, in the area of Currie Drive and Grosvenor Road Wednesday afternoon (May 5, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Whalley vehicle fire ‘believed to be an arson’: Surrey RCMP

Police say ‘at this point’ it doesn’t seem to be tied to ongoing violence in the Lower Mainland

Low tide offered plenty of space for people to relax on White Rock's beach Sunday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
City of White Rock asking outside visitors to stay away

South Surrey residents encouraged to visit, while others urged to stick close to home

Surrey Central SkyTrain Station. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Suspect accused of ‘abhorrent’ assaults at Surrey SkyTrain stations

Transit Police say assaults were on April 9, 14 and 17

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read