LSUC disbars Canadian convicted in Bermuda

A Canadian lawyer convicted of fraud in Bermuda has been disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

In 2005, a jury found Robert Martyn guilty of conspiring to fraudulently obtain Bermudian status, a form of citizenship in the British overseas territory.

Doctored birth and marriage certificates falsely tracing the family’s roots to a man from the north Atlantic island were used to back up an application for the status by Martyn’s father.

Martyn, who had been working in Bermuda on work permits since 1996, was eventually granted the status on the strength of the claim in 2001, although authorities later revoked it after discovering the fraud.

At trial, Martyn’s defence team blamed the lawyer’s father for the fraud, and Martyn has always maintained his innocence, appealing the conviction unsuccessfully all the way to the U.K.’s Privy Council, the court of final appeal for British overseas territories.

At the law society, counsel for Martyn highlighted the fact that the offence was not committed in his capacity as a lawyer and that he had been convicted by a jury rather than a judge. An earlier decision of the panel blocked Martyn from re-litigating his conviction. But Martyn, who now lives in the Bahamas, never appeared in person, and no character evidence was called on his behalf.  

“This panel is of the view that revocation of licence is the only order that we can make. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, no evidence was called by the Lawyer before us in regard to this hearing,” wrote panel chairman Gerald Swaye. ”We are only left with the evidence that was before the trial court in Bermuda as to any mitigating circumstance and we are of the view that it was not sufficient for us to consider suspension of the licence or permission to surrender licence. It was solely the Lawyer’s decision as to whether any evidence would be called on his behalf. . . . He chose not to. As a result, we have no alternative, but to revoke his licence.”

Martyn was also ordered to pay $10,000 in costs to the law society.

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