The former high-flying law student’s application was rejected last September after a hearing panel found he was not of good character by a 2-1 majority.
“Let me make it clear from the outset that this appeal is not about whether the conduct engaged [in] by Mr. Manila was disgraceful and unacceptable,” Manilla’s lawyer, Phil Downes told a five-bencher appeal panel this morning.
Manilla has acknowledged his behaviour was unacceptable, said Downes, but argued the hearing panel that denied him gave inadequate reasons for their findings.
Manila’s good character hearing came after complaints from fellow members of his Thornhill, Ont., condominium board about his conduct towards them. In late 2008, a dispute over a condo-fee increase on the five-person board, of which Manilla was president, escalated into a bitter feud that eventually left Manilla facing a number of criminal charges, including four counts of criminal harassment, intimidating a witness, and threatening death.
Authorities would later withdraw the charges after Manilla completed the requirements for diversion. He has also apologized, taken anger-management classes, and begun seeing a therapist.
Manilla took on the position at the condo board following a summer at the New York office of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. He would return there following his graduation in the top 10 per cent at Osgoode Hall Law School, having collected a prestigious international law prize from the school.
You can read more in an upcoming issue of Law Times.