Halifax lawyer suspended from practicing law following sexual assault conviction

Desiree Finhert - Metro Halifax
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Lyle Howe leaves Halifax Supreme Court on May 14.                 

METRO HALIFAX

Lyle Howe has been suspended from practising law and may face further civil charges for conduct unbecoming a lawyer.

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society held a closed-door meeting Monday afternoon to discuss Howe’s recent sexual assault conviction.

A Supreme Court jury found Howe – a Halifax defence lawyer – guilty of sexual assault, but not guilty of administering a stupefying drug on Saturday. The charges stem from a March 2011 incident.

Based on evidence from the trial the Society’s Complaints Investigation Committee (CIC) has launched its own investigation into whether Howe will be charged under the Legal Profession Act.

“It’s a very serious matter, but it happens in a lawyer’s personally life as opposed to his or her professional life,” said executive director Darrel Pink. “Obviously the outcome of the criminal order will be relevant to this (decision).”

Howe told Metro News when reached by phone earlier Monday that he would not answer any questions at this time as he has too much to going on.

Defence lawyer Mike Taylor said his client is planning to appeal the decision. The paperwork for an appeal needs to be filed within 25 working days of the court decision.

The CIC has also appointed John Rafferty as the receiver who will take over Howe’s law practices and his case load, approximating 200 files.

“He’ll be taking over the practice, and working with the clients and the associate lawyer to deal with court matter that are urgent, and ultimately the transition of those clients to other lawyers,” said Pink.

The CIC determines whether a lawyer has breached any of our standards of conduct. It describes itself as having “emergency powers to deal with serious problems in the interest of protecting the public, such as temporary suspensions or restriction of the lawyer’s practice.”

According to the Howe Law website, he opened his firm in August 2011.

Organizations: Complaints Investigation Committee, Supreme Court, Metro News

Geographic location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

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