Skip to main content

A lobby sign identifies the Toronto offices of Hollinger International Inc. in 2004. Two Toronto lawyers have been cleared of wrongdoing in a years-long corporate case concerning the sale of Hollinger newspaper assets to CanWest Global Communications Corp. and Osprey Media Holdings Inc.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Two Toronto lawyers have been cleared of any wrongdoing in a corporate case that dragged on for years after they were accused of conflict of interest.

A Law Society of Upper Canada panel has ruled that there was no evidence Beth DeMerchant and Darren Sukonick acted improperly in their roles related to non-compete clauses, a small part of massive deals to sell Hollinger newspaper assets to CanWest Global Communications Corp. and Osprey Media Holdings Inc. more than a decade ago.

The two lawyers had been fighting allegations that they violated the legal profession's conflict-of-interest rules while acting for Conrad Black and his executives, as well as Hollinger International Inc. and subsidiaries.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. DeMerchant, who has retired from Torys LLP, and Mr. Sukonick, who is now a partner at the law firm, were exonerated of accusations of professional misconduct by the disciplinary panel.

"The panel's careful, closely reasoned decision has important implications for corporate legal practice and for the Law Society's standards of investigation and prosecution," Philip Campbell, counsel for Ms. DeMerchant, said in a statement Thursday night.

The allegations, launched by the Law Society in 2006, focused on non-compete payments to Mr. Black and some of his top executives.

"It has been a terrible waste, not only of the limited money and resources that the Law Society has to protect the public, but especially of Mr. Sukonick's time and efforts," Ian Smith, counsel for Mr. Sukonick, said in a statement.

Torys managing partner Les Viner added that the law firm deeply regrets the personal toll suffered by Ms. DeMerchant and Mr. Sukonick, but the two lawyers deserve the vindication after they displayed courage and determination.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter