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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack-Hope, delivered a statement in the hybrid sitting of the House of Commons on March 23, 2021, calling on the Liberal government to present a plan for when COVID-19 restrictions can be safely eased. (Screenshot/ Mark Strahl)
Chilliwack Hope MP Strahl says federal budget doesn’t reflect needs of Canadians

MP says budget illustrates that Liberals don’t have a plan to recover from COVID-19 losses

The spooky scarecrow of the Valley Huskers takes on the logo of the Regina Thunder in a national social media contest produced by Football Canada.
Huskers logo needs your online vote in semi-final round of Football Canada contest

The scarecrow has 2 more foes to vanquish to be named the best amateur football logo in the country

Kosumi Street in the Sardis neighbourhood of Chilliwack was opened to traffic on April 14, 2021. (City of Chilliwack)
New connector road in Sardis opened to traffic

Kosumi Street was named to honour roots of Japanese-Canadian family that settled in Chilliwack

Rene Cortin/Wikimedia commons
Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society pilot program promotes garden growing

Twenty Chilliwack families are participating in the ‘Garden Box to the Table’ program

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Most Read