News British Columbia

Lawyer disbarred for links to gang 0

By Chris Campbell, 24 hours

Vernon lawyer William Jacob Mastop has been disbarred by the B.C. Law Society after his criminal conviction.
(SCREENGRAB)

Vernon lawyer William Jacob Mastop has been disbarred by the B.C. Law Society after his criminal conviction. (SCREENGRAB)

A Vernon lawyer convicted of helping the Greeks gang track down police informants has been disbarred by the B.C. Law Society.

 

William Jacob Mastop pleaded guilty in December 2012 in B.C. Supreme Court to participating in or contributing to the activity of the Greeks, a known criminal organization. Mastop went to high school with Greeks gang leader Peter Manolakos.

In November, Mastop had his one-year sentence more than doubled after a successful Crown appeal, as judges at the B.C. Court of Appeal decided he should serve the stiffer sentence of two years and six months because of the “egregious nature of his actions.”

Two people were mistakenly murdered as a result of the informant information, the court said.

“We think it is important to apply a sanction that will be effective in deterring other lawyers who will need to resist requests from clients for illegal assistance,” said a B.C. Law Society panel decision. “In order to maintain public confidence in the legal profession, there should be no possibility of doubt that the Law Society takes such conduct with the utmost seriousness, and the profession needs to know that as well.”

The society said that to disbar Mastop it relied on rule 4-40, which is “only used in exceptional circumstances. It forgoes the need for a citation and citation hearing, allowing the benchers to summarily suspend or disbar a lawyer who has been convicted of an offence that was proceeded with by way of indictment.”

In 2012, Neil MacKenzie of the B.C. Attorney General's criminal justice branch said Mastop’s conviction was highly unusual.

“I’m not aware of any other Canadian cases where a lawyer was convicted or pled guilty to participating in, or contributing to, the activities of a criminal organization,” MacKenzie said.

— with 24 hours files

 

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