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

A Chilliwack driver’s vehicle was impounded for seven days after an excessive speeding violation. (RCMP photo)
RCMP catch Chilliwack driver doing 60 km/h over posted speed limit

The motorist was hit with a big ticket and a seven day vehicle impoundment

Glenwood Seniors Community is the second long term care home in Agassiz to have a COVID-19 outbreak. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz

The long term care home is the second of Agassiz’s three facilities to have an outbreak

UFV assistant kinesiology professor Dr. Iris Lesser exercises along Chilliwack's Vedder Rotary Trail with her daughter Kaia. (UFV photo)
UFV study finds women with reduced physical activity had more mental health struggles during COVID pandemic

The study suggested women suffered more than men as gyms, parks and playgrounds shut down

Sardis Falcons alumni Rick Klassen led the B.C. Lions to a Grey Cup championship in 1985.
Sardis secondary football field to be named after Rick Klassen

Klassen, a Sardis grad, led the B.C. Lions to a Grey Cup championship in 1985

Eva Pucci Couture in this file shot from May 29, 2019, when she came to Chilliwack asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son, Kristofer Shawn Couture. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Missing man’s mom still hopeful, 2 years after his car was found abandoned at Chilliwack trail

‘I wish someone would come forward with insight into your whereabouts,’ pleads mom of missing man

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Driver crashes vehicle twice in one day near Princeton

Abbotsford woman, 29, wasn’t injured in either incident

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read