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Ford’s lawyer sets out appeal arguments

Alan Lenczner, with the law firm Lenczner Slaght, is photographed at the firm's Toronto offices on June 11 2012.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The judge who ruled that Rob Ford should be turfed from office over a conflict-of-interest case made several errors, the Toronto Mayor's lawyer says in a submission.

Alan Lenczner said Mr. Justice Charles Hackland of the Ontario Superior Court made four errors in law when he ruled last month that Mr. Ford violated conflict-of-interest rules when he spoke and voted in favour of letting himself off the hook for repaying $3,150 in improper donations to his football charity.

"It is respectfully submitted that [Judge Hackland], from the outset, adopted the wrong approach," says a factum filed in divisional court Wednesday.

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"Rather than applying the ordinary meaning to plain language, and seeking to uphold the democratic decision of the voters who elected the Mayor, by construing the [Municipal Conflict of Interest Act] 'strictly' and by searching for 'a reasonable interpretation which will avoid a penalty,' [Judge Hackland] did the opposite of what the law demands."

Judge Hackland's mistakes, according to Mr. Lenczner, include ruling that city council was within its rights to order Mr. Ford to pay back the $3,150 and finding that Mr. Ford did not make an honest error in judgment when he voted and spoke on the issue at city council last February.

Earlier this month, Mr. Ford won a stay of Judge Hackland's order until a three-judge panel rules on his appeal. The appeal hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 7, with a decision expected weeks later.

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