This weekend, I blogged the story of Judith, who lost her camera while on holiday on Hawaii, and of the unnamed Canadian family that found it, but refuses to return it because doing so would upset their son, who has grown attached to it.
Shortly after that post, I got an email from someone who claimed his name was "Don Deveny," purportedly a Canadian Barrister of a sort called "Queen's Counsel." "Deveny" implied that the post was illegal and that I was liable for making it.
However, I don't believe that "Deveny" is a lawyer. For one thing, he can't spell "lawyer." For another, he doesn't know the difference between "libel" and "slander." He can't even spell "counsel."
I have contacted all of the law societies in Canada that license barristers to practice. None of them have any record of "Deveny," nor does the Canadian Law List. No one under that name is listed in any Canadian phone directory as a practicing attorney.
This is illegal. Falsely presenting oneself as a lawyer is a violation of provincial laws like Ontario's Law Society Act. As Lisa Hall, Acting Manager, Communications and Public Affairs for the Law Society of Upper Canada explained to me, "We could prosecute him on the basis of the Act. If he's trying to practice law, that's quite something. On conviction he'd be liable to a fine of not more than $10,000."
What's more, "Deveny" has even offered to represent other people that Boing Boing has written about, adding a new offence. Click the "More..." link below for a complete record of our correspondence, including the headers on his emails.
Click here for a text-file containing the full text of "Deveny"'s emails, with headers.
Click here for a Google's list of pages that contain the string "email@example.com," the email address used by "Deveny."
Click here for a profile for a user on the CanadaKA site who gives "firstname.lastname@example.org" as his email address, and who lists his name as "Dave Thomsen," his residence as Toronto, Canada, and his profession as "Network Manager." (screenshot) (Update: This page has been updated overnight; the realname is now shown as Cory. Refer to screenshot for original.)
Hello doctorow, I am sure that you must have have proof that this camera was stolen and that you just would not be accusing someone of something that you know nothing about ? I am a lawer and am interested infinding out your response please respond as I am interested in finding out what proof you have. Regards Don Deveny Queens council 2006-02-18 -- You're a lawer? Nice to meet you. I'm a ritter. Cory -- Hello Cory Doctorow, Great, as a fellow Canadian I am sure that you are familiar with Canadian Laws and I would remind you that liveing in Great Britain does not put you beyond Canadian jurisdiction. I would suggest that you keep that in mind in reguards to any further comments you may have in reguards to this story. Best regards, Don Deveny QC (QC = QUEENS COUNSEL) -- You got through law-school without learning how to spell "liveing" or whether "Laws" is capitalised, huh? Cory -- Hello Cory Doctorow, Do you really feel that my spelling ability has any thing to do with slander ? Best regards, -- You also managed to get through law-school without learning the difference between libel and slander? Also, you managed to miss the part of the libel statute that requires that a plaintiff be referenced in a way that is identifiable? Also, you managed to not register on the rolls of the UCLS? Cory -- Hello Cory Doctorow, As Queens Council in Canada I would be more that willing to represent anyone in Canada who is named on your site in a deflamorty way. please respond with any further enquiries to email@example.com please keep in mind that any further responses will be archived for future litigation. Don Deveny QC. Best regards, -- Hi, Dan -- where are you licensed to practice? If I wanted to follow up with one of the law societies in Canada, which one should I contact? Cory -- Hi, Dan! I've been in touch with the law societies from PEI BC Alberta Upper Canada Quebec Nova Scotia Yukon Nunavut Newfoundland As well as the Canadian Law List and none of them have any record of you being licensed to practice law. I'll be calling the four remaining law societies from Sask, Man, NB, and NWT in the next couple hours as their offices open. I've also got a call into the Canadian Bar Association. Is it likely any of them will have heard of you? Cory -- To follow up on this, I've spoken to all the remaining law societies and none of them have you on their rolls. I'd be interested in any comment you have about your license-status. Are you licensed to practice law in Canada? If so, in what province or territory? Thank you, Cory -- You must have so much time on your hands, Of course the easiest way for you to find out would be to publish the name of the person in question. Don -- Hi, Don -- is that your only statement on this? What province or territory are you licensed to practice law in? Cory -- Please be advised that all of our correspondences has been archived including the correspondence to my throwaway email account and in my opinion they are starting to display a pattern that would not be beneficial to your position in the event of future litigation. Don
Update: Brett sez, "On the lost camera blog, one of the commenters ('phantomca') has been questioning the story, with similar disregard for correct spelling, and when asked identified him or herself as 'a lawer in Toronto'."
Jeff points out that an eBay user called "phantomca" recently placed bids on the sort of memory cards that would have been used in Judith's stolen camera. It may be a coincidence, but if "phantomca" and "Dan Deveny" are one iin the same, then this might mean that the reason "Deveny" is so bent on intimidating people who report on this story into silence is that he's the thief. Looks like these are different from the memory cards used in camera after all.
Update 3: This may be a picture of "Deveny." It's from a message posted by a user of the Leoville site who uses the same userid as in the CanadaKA site above, and lists the same personal sites in his signature. (screenshot, screenshot with detail) (Thanks, Bob!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.