A longtime criminal lawyer has been charged with uttering a threat and resisting police following an incident at a North Vancouver park.
Neil Lonsdale Cobb is accused of four offences, including uttering or conveying a threat to Babak Aghazeinali to cause death or bodily harm during the incident at Harbourside Park on June 3, according to an indictment filed Aug. 5.
He was also charged with resisting or wilfully obstructing RCMP Const. Santino Ditoro in the execution of his duties, causing a disturbance by shouting and consuming liquor in a public place.
Cobb denied the allegations on Thursday and said he would be “fiercely” defending himself in court.
He claimed the RCMP had conducted an “incomplete” investigation into the matter and that the “full story” would come out at trial.
Cobb, who has been practising law in B.C. since 1985, said there were two individuals filming the incident on their cell phones and screaming at the police about the inappropriateness of the police behaviour.
“To my understanding, and again we haven’t seen the (Crown) disclosure yet, the police allowed both individuals to go on their way without so much as getting their names and addresses,” said Cobb, who added that he and his wife were in the park for a picnic at the time.
“So when I talk about an incomplete investigation, these charges were laid with the police intentionally not gathering this evidence, which of course would be the best evidence of what happened.”
Cobb said he and Elizabeth Lewis, his law partner and wife, have made “incredible” efforts to get the videotapes, without success.
“The police have allowed them, I think, to disappear,” he said.
Lewis said her husband was “unlawfully and unconstitutionally” arrested and has suffered personal injuries as a result. “And there will be civil suits commenced in short order against the RCMP officers involved,” she added.
North Vancouver RCMP Sgt. Doug Trousdell would only confirm that there was an investigation and referred any other questions to RCMP’s E Division for comment.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said in an email that investigative findings in the case were provided to Crown counsel for assessment and they laid charges.
“As the matter is now before the courts, any comment we provide would be reserved for the courtroom,” Vermeulen said.
David Jordan, a communications officer with the Law Society of B.C., which regulates lawyers in the province, said in an email that as their complaint process is confidential, he could not disclose whether or not they are aware of the information.
He said that when a lawyer is charged with a criminal offence, the Law Society’s rules require that the lawyer report those charges to them.
“We have the jurisdiction to investigate a lawyer’s conduct that is the subject of a criminal charge even if it is conduct in their private life. When we become aware of a lawyer being charged with a criminal offence, we open a file and conduct an investigation. We have disciplined lawyers for criminal conduct.”
In the meantime, Cobb can continue to practise law.
His lawyer is expected to appear on Cobb’s behalf in North Vancouver Provincial Court on Sept. 28 to set a date for trial.
On his website, Cobb says he has been recognized for his “exceptional” contributions by way of lecturer at Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. conferences and as a lecturer at Continuing Legal Education conferences. The website also says he has been a guest and guest host on CKNW’s legal affairs call-in program, Judgment Calls.