Hamilton lawyer disbarred after sexual assault convictions

The Law Society of Upper Canada has disbarred a Hamilton, Ont. lawyer convicted of sexual offences against two boys, including a client in his young offender criminal law practice.

Last May, Tom Raymond Martin, now 46, was sentenced to six years and four months in jail after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a 14-year-old client and the repeated sexual assault of another boy over a lengthy period of time.

In a July 26 decision, a discipline panel decided disbarment was its only option.

“The offences committed by Mr. Martin are serious. They involve conduct of the worst sort towards vulnerable young persons and must be subject to a severe penalty,” wrote panel chair Paul Schabas. “Public confidence in the profession requires that his licence be revoked immediately.”

Martin, a 1992 call, had no disciplinary history when he was arrested in May 2007 after one client complained about his behaviour. According to an agreed statement of facts at Martin’s sentencing, the boy retained the lawyer to defend charges of arson and break and enter.

While on bail, he met Martin at his office to review disclosure. The pair smoked together, before the lawyer drove him home. On the way, Martin pulled over near a wooded area and asked the boy to masturbate in return for more cigarettes.

A police investigation resulted in further charges relating to other clients, but those were dropped as part of a plea deal. Martin got six months for the sexual exploitation charge, as well as a further five years and 10 months for the more serious sexual assaults on another boy, which included anal and oral sex continuing over a number of years.

At his sentencing, Martin apologized for his actions: “I do not ask or expect forgiveness and sincerely hope that the punishment I receive today will help all of you heal in time,” he told the court.

Ontario Superior Court Justice James Ramsay said he was unimpressed by the apology, but gave Martin credit for waiving his right to bail and pleading guilty.

When the law society moved ahead with its disciplinary proceedings following the conviction, Martin wrote from his Kingston, Ont. penitentiary cell to say he was not interested in opposing its application and that he would “consent to whatever penalty you are seeking.”

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