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Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

|Written By Glenn Kauth

A Vancouver lawyer is waiting to learn what disciplinary action he’ll face after a Law Society of British Columbia panel found he committed professional misconduct for telling a social worker he “should shoot” her.

The incident dates back to Sept. 28, 2011, when sole practitioner Stanley Chang Woon Foo was at the courthouse in Quesnel, B.C. It was a busy day at the court with several preliminary and administrative family law matters on the docket. At one point, Foo approached social worker A.M. while she was with a colleague, C.B. According to the law society’s recent ruling,  he then asked A.M. if she was “the social worker.”

She confirmed she was, after which Foo told her he “should shoot” her because “she takes away too many kids,” the ruling states. They didn’t know each other prior to that.

A.M. eventually reported the incident to police, but they declined to pursue any charges. In an interview with law society staff, she said Foo told her: “I’m going to shoot you.”

Asked why she walked away in response, she said: “Well, I was kind of shocked. I’m not used to having to de-escalate lawyers.”

For his part, Foo said he and A.M. were making light conversation and that she laughed. While he didn’t remember exactly what he said, he argued he was joking and had no intent to threaten her. He also said he’s a “bombastic guy and he made a spontaneous statement to A.M. that was a joke and therefore not discourteous.” In Foo’s view, the panel noted, “making a joke, even in bad taste or poorly worded, is not behaviour that is a marked departure from the conduct that the law society expects of its members.”

The case, then, considered the question of when casual conversation becomes professional misconduct. As a result, the panel took pains to note the context as well as “how a reasonable person would understand the meaning of such words.

“We do not wish to inhibit common social interactions, nor do we want to discourage the practice of making jokes or light-hearted barbs or insults, which, in the proper context, can enhance camaraderie and diffuse tension in the day-to-day conditions that can arise in the practice of law,” the panel wrote.

Ultimately, however, it found against him.

The respondent does not seem to understand that, in the context of a waiting area outside of a courtroom on a busy day, when speaking to a person he believed he had no prior or current dealings with, it was inappropriate to identify her by name and occupation in such a crowded area and to say he ‘should shoot’ her and that she ‘takes away too many kids.’

Even if the respondent did not intend to intimidate or threaten A.M. with his comments, the panel finds that he was irresponsible and did not adequately consider the impact that his words (specifically, that he ‘should shoot’ her and that she ‘takes away too many kids’) would have in this emotionally charged situation where parents are in conflict with the ministry and where others outside the courtroom would overhear his comments. The panel finds that A.M.’s belief that the respondent’s comments were not a joke is reasonable in this context.

As a result, it found he had committed professional misconduct and will now set a hearing to determine the disciplinary action.

Foo could not immediately be reached for comment.

  • Social services a joke!

    Carrie alot
    Our social services and family workers are very verbally mean to the parents and are never disaplined or reprimanded for their misconduct! They are so quick to take kids out when families need to stay together! I support Foo and feel he is a great lawyer with the gutts to tell it like it is! Boo hoo for social services, they can dish it but not take it. Way to go Stanley Foo! You did the right thing!
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    David
    Anyone who supports social workers, or the programs that claim to help children, in any way ,is truly ignorant to how the profit system works and the facts of how more children are harmed by social services more then they are ever helped. They are heartless and shameless people who hold these jobs and children are not their interest, financial gain and bonuses are. I was raised in the "system" and can assure you children are nothing more than a means to grant funded programs. Social workers are very deceptive. They lie cheat and steal. Find an honest one and they won't have a job long.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Serenity
    I can't believe this! The childrens aid lawyer frequently calls me a drug addict and a whore teen mom outside the court room and nothing is done! If you punish one you MUST punish both! That's a rule used for CHILDREN let alone ADULTS who know how to act properly!
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    CanadaCourtWatch.ORG
    Thanks Brad Johnson for the tip on the BC Supreme Court trial!!! We'll be watching for the decision!!
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Marion W.
    GOOD FOR. STANLEY! Social workers love to play God. How many innocent children have been sacrificed at the expense of these lying, manipulating scum. I have seen first hand the havoc and misery these individuals have caused in removing children just because they could,often times returning the innocent child back into the arms of the abuser(s).I don't know how these horrid people sleep at night. Social workers are the true abusers children, and shame on them.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Brad Johnson
    There is no other entity that has so much power and abuses that power so greatly. CPS / MCFD / CAS takes calls from anonymous people, who lie (because there is generally zero repercussion for lying) and claim that the child got a bruise from the parent (as opposed to falling down playing soccer), and then the social workers lie (this happens all the time) and then the judges believe them and sever parental rights, just to be on the "safe side".

    Protect your children. Learn the truth about MCFD / CAS / CPS. Start by reading this, and then follow the trial that flows out of this (the trial starts September 30, 2013 in BC Supreme Court, courtroom 75).

    http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Children+ministry+sided+with+sexually+abusive+father+court+finds/8620246/story.html
  • Ian Wilson
    In 1981 during my second year of university at Western in Ontario I recall studying a book called 'Dreamspeaker', about a native kid going through the family court process in Vancouver and eventually being taken from his grandfather, who had tried to cure his fear of Sisuitl, a nasty sea monster that took various forms, including the snaky line of traffic headlights and tail lights at night on the freeway driving into the big city. The grandfather told the boy, 'all Sisuitl wants you to do is look him in the eye, and he will know you are not afraid and he'll disappear'. Or something similar to that. The one line in the book that stuck with me for more than 30 years however: 'That a country with such a kindly mother should kill its children so unkindly', as the kid is taken away out of court, under the portrait of the Queen. Sad to hear that apparently not much has changed, and that Sisuitl unfortunately got the upper hand on Mr. Foo on this occasion.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    CC
    Someone tell me how this professional misconduct. How CAS have this massive control over all medical records and now clearly putting down a bad Social Worker is misconduct or speaking the truth? So, CAS does have absolute abuse of power. Disgusting. CanadianLawyer, if you do not clearly cit how this is wrong when Canada is supposed to have free speech and supposed to be a true democracy, then you are being controlled by CAS and lying to the public.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Michelle G.
    [quote name="CC"]Someone tell me how this professional misconduct. How CAS have this massive control over all medical records and now clearly putting down a bad Social Worker is misconduct or speaking the truth? So, CAS does have absolute abuse of power. Disgusting. CanadianLawyer, if you do not clearly cit how this is wrong when Canada is supposed to have free speech and supposed to be a true democracy, then you are being controlled by CAS and lying to the public.[/quote]

    The lawyer and the social worker did not know each other. He approached her and he threatened to shoot her. This happened in a courthouse with a witness. You don't think there is anything wrong with that? Really? It may not have warranted a criminal charge of uttering a death threat, but it is definitely professional misconduct.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    CG Reilly
    Okay honey simmer down - seems to me you might want t check the reported sequence of events b/c you just beblew them right out the window. Oh - & by the way? Unless you yourself were there to witness first-hand what actually occurred, might be best NOT to show us all what mental capacity you seriously lack, than by opening up your mouth & showing us so gleefully, you do yourself no favour in this, trust me.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Michelle G.
    [quote name="Velvet Martin"]3. I find it difficult to reconcile why we are utilizing the time and expense of the court system to punish a lawyer for verbal word play when there are much more severe instances of injustice transpiring without judicial resolve...a simply apology could have sufficed in this case. I find misuse of the court outwardly cowardly and I take offense that common sense does not lead to better utilization of resources! No one should be above the law, including government employees... Administration of the law must be equal!

    Sincerely,

    Velvet Martin,
    Spokesperson for Protecting Canadian Children
    Founder of Samantha`s Law[/quote]


    It was the Law Society of British Columbia that determined the lawyer was unprofessional. The lawyers pay membership dues to belong to this society. It has nothing to do with courts or taxpayers.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    CG Reilly
    OMG Michelle G. - objective observation to your comments & position? You are a complete moron with head firmly stuck in cement-block. My opinion? You've never constructively analysed any of multitude of Reports, Inquiries, Disclosures et cetera that are available for Open Minds, because if you had, you would realize that any Law Society is subject to same socio-political pressures and influences prevalent and which currently affect entire Family Court system of fraud, manipulation, power, influence & outright deceits. Wake up & smell the depositions honey...
  • Velvet Martin
    Michelle G., had you read onwards, I did clarify that I mistook whom was responsible for provision of funding so you did not need to correct me twice.

    As for you referring to the lawyer's utterance as "violent", I feel that is certainly an opinion because I do not find it violent at all. Obvious to anyone with common sense, it was a poor statement likely fashioned out of frustration due to the unequal wielding of authority that social-workers have with blanket immunity.

    Furthermore, as a member of the public who has required the assistance of legal council, punishing those who are outspoken leaves even less availability of choice. I can tell you that I would likely trust a litigator like Foo who appears to be passionate/real over someone who cries "boo boo" over a slight.
  • Michelle G.
    Let me guess............you are one of those "good parents" who did nothing wrong to get your kids seized by CAS? People like you hate CAS and the people who work for them that you probably would have no problem if one of these "good parents" murdered a CAS worker.
  • CG Reilly
    Oh - here we go again... and let ME Guess, Michelle G. You are yet another Children's Aid worker (aka - TROLL/SCUM/MANIPULATOR) posing on yet one more public forum as 'Concerned Citizen', right? :-x
    Man, you people really will go beyond all common decency & to any lengths imaginable to cover your collective alimentary canals & keep the cash flow (Our Children) flowing into you greedy bottomless pockets. Get a grip already girlfriend, b/c most people actually DO have a brain & can see thru this sort of ridiculous tripe you people constantly pull - hence the heated Defence of this lawyer who probably didn't even make this inane comment in the first place BUT is known fr going after CAS for blatant legal & criminal violations, AND likely said nothing of this sort whatsoever. You must have been repeatedly dropped on your head when young... :o
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Michelle G.
    It was unprofessional conduct for this lawyer to threaten to shoot a CAS worker. There are some people aka "good parents" in the Anti-CAS movement that excuse this violent utterance.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    CanadaCourtWatch.ORG
    1 sided accountability is no accountability at all! The conduct of lawyers in Ontario that lazily 'represent' parents while looking after their collegial relationship with CAS lawyers, in total helps CASs mislead courts and obtain Crown Ward orders by Fraud! When parents find Case Law for CAS abuses, it's not uncommon for Ontario lawyers
    to refuse to present it to the court! This even includes refusing to use Case Law that shows that CAS doctors mislead the courts harming the Statutory Interests of children!!
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    CG Reilly
    I sincerely doubt the context of this 'alleged incident'. That being said, I do Not for 1 second doubt that Children's Aid Societies as a whole do Not Like It when their own vexatious, defammatory & highly offensive tactics (which defy all common decency, let alone any legal adherence) are re-applied in their own direction. It's almost like, they feel entitled to treat parents, children & families with utter contempt, have extreme disregard & contempt for the Rule of Law, the courts, the Canadian Charter f Rights & Freedoms, & even the Human Rights & Child Bill f Rights. What poor sports they are, truly & how pathetic to see this sickening double-standard of actions & behavior so blatantly displayed! We can do What Ever We Want to YOU - but don't you even DARE to try it on Us...
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Velvet Martin
    My concerns continue to remain in regards to Law Societies not doing enough to ensure that victims of Child Welfare attain legal representation. I do not know the lawyer (Mr. Stanley Foo) who was disciplined so I can only speculate that perhaps the negative remark stems from frustration with unequal balance of power. Lawyers hands, too, are tied because they are financially unable to assist victims who face monolithic government entities with unlimited power, time and funds. A large category of people are unjustly targeted by the Child Welfare System - due to circumstance, rather than deed - and are unable to gain access to professional legal representation. This is an situation that Law Societies must improve for judicial fairness to be achieved.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Velvet Martin
    a/ I wrote to the Law Society of British Columbia who clarified some issues and in response I've written more: Thank you for your prompt reply and clarification that this case was a Law Society hearing, not a Court hearing. While this means that tax payer's earnings were not utilized, however, it is my understanding then that lawyers must contribute money towards the Law Society to run operations.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Melody
    How is this any different than the things workers say and do to families in this country every single day? My dad asked a worker from Barrie once why he was trying to tear our family apart. The worker replied "this is what happens when you fuck with me"

    Big shock, he was not accused of professional misconduct.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Paula
    I can't believe this story. The MCFD lawyer here in Kamloops berated me outside the courtroom in front of the public and yet the Law Society has chosen not to do anything about that. He did not file Mediation papers in Court as he was instructed by the Mediator, and that goes unpunished. This is unbelievable. Really, we are spending our tax payers dollars' on this when Legal Aid lawyers are siding with the Ministry instead of representing their clients to the fullest extent that they can, and this goes unnoticed. This just enforces the unaccountability that MCFD has, but should not have. They can extort and threaten their clients, but there is no recourse for that. This is unbelievable!!!!
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Velvet Martin
    3. I find it difficult to reconcile why we are utilizing the time and expense of the court system to punish a lawyer for verbal word play when there are much more severe instances of injustice transpiring without judicial resolve... Take the case of my own child whose fatality inquiry took half a decade to even reach the court system. While obviously it is not acceptable to make flamboyant statements, certainly a simply apology could have sufficed in this case. I find misuse of the court outwardly cowardly and I take offense that common sense does not lead to better utilization of resources! No one should be above the law, including government employees... Administration of the law must be equal!

    Sincerely,

    Velvet Martin,
    Spokesperson for Protecting Canadian Children
    Founder of Samantha`s Law
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Velvet Martin
    2. What of government employees who make veiled threats towards those whom they are purportedly serving? The duality in administration of judicial accountability amongst the public sector and those working in the employ of government is drastically diverse. Were it a social-worker who wielded words towards another individual, a automated blanket of protection would maintain status of innocence deflecting any wrong-doing.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Velvet Martin
    1: The most troubling aspect of this article is the fact that resources are being allocated to frivolous and vexatious cases instead of those truly in need of judicial resolve. Although the lawyer used poor judgment in making a sarcastic, albeit tasteless remark, the intent was obviously harmless. Like most would admit, I have witnessed much more unacceptable verbal outbursts on school grounds amongst elementary-aged children and yet the courts are utilizing this man as a scapegoat to warn others that it is unwise to display human emotion towards difficult, passionate issues: Child Welfare.
  • RE: Lawyer in hot water for telling social worker he ‘should shoot’ her

    Janet Johnson
    Social workers do not deserve to be "shot" for taking away children who do not need to be taken away, but they certainly deserve to be held accountable. The trial which resumes in BC Supreme Court Vancouver registry on September 20, 2013 will have MCFD as a defendant, and there will be, apparently, a great deal of evidence regarding malfeasance in this extremely powerful but completely unaccountable Ministry.

    Too many children are indeed being taken from parents whose only crime is that they are not as wealthy or educated as the rest of us.
    ____________________________________

    All great truths begin as blasphemies.

    George Bernard Shaw, Annajanska

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