Burlington Court Finds PSC Candidate Guilty

frank-alfano

Paralegal Standing Committee (PSC) Candidate, Francesco (Frank) Alfano, has been found guilty of driving while his licence was suspended.

Judgment was rendered Feb. 28, after a trial that began last June. Alfano was found guilty under section 53(1) of the Highway Traffic Act . The matter carries a penalty of a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $5,000; or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.

The Court will register a conviction. Sentencing submissions are scheduled for June.

Alfano told SCOPE in an email that he will appeal the decision.

Alfano was charged in May 2012. According to the decision, Alfano admitted having many outstanding fines when an OPP officer followed a vehicle from the Burlington Provincial Offences Court parking lot, to an address in Hamilton:

    … the Defendant was showing continued due diligence in taking care of many outstanding fines in many jurisdictions over the years. At one juncture the Defendant was paying outstanding fines to 7 jurisdictions which had now since been reduced to 3 jurisdictions, those being Newmarket, Burlington and Scarborough. The Defendant admitted to having a shameful record of owing money and had served a 30 day sentence for driving while suspended in March, 2005. He described himself as somewhat disorganized but effective in Court so much so that he has created many ‘enemies’ within the police force… He also admitted having had a large highway 407 invoice to pay and, at one point, drove with an expired validation tag. Despite this ‘spotty’ record, Mr. Alfano wished the Court to consider that he valued his reputation above all else; that he is a reformed driver and not the man he was some years ago.

According to Crown submissions, Alfano “had been effectively suspended for nine years and the only reason he continued to drive is that he was using an out-of-court process, an administrative process to gain time to pay his fines.”

Alfano had testified that he had relied on incorrect information provided over the phone by a clerk. Justice of the Peace Gerry Manno found that testimony was not sufficient.

The justice noted that “The onus was on the Defendant to show some form of mistake of fact or due diligence once the actus reus had been proven by the Crown. He did not take reasonable steps to avoid the suspension in our view. Also if he reasonably believed in a mistaken set of facts, his lack of evidence beyond his own assertion was not enough to convince the Court that the mistake of fact was the result of being ‘misled’ by the clerical staff of the courts on a balance of probabilities standard.”

Justice Manno found: “Another reasonable conclusion one might reach is that Mr. Alfano, being somewhat disorganized with the complexity of his affairs, may have inadvertently allowed his license to lapse.”

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9 comments

  1. honest paralegal · · Reply

    Hey Frank. You do crack me up buddy. Just checked out your website. Pretty impressive. Going to law school. Why don’t you tell the good folks that the law school in California is an online law school!!!!!!!!!. Guess you forgot budy

    1. steve smith · · Reply

      Good comment.

  2. M. J. Adrastos · · Reply

    Thank you Elizabeth, for this stark reminder that how one behaves “out-there” ought to carry weight with those in the paralegal profession overall, as bad behaviour reflects poorly on all those who walk that clear ethical line on all fronts; those that don’t toss up excuses of “I’m disorganized” as an excuse to knowingly avoid responsibilities to society.

        We need to consider the ramifications of "sweeping this under the rug"-- as Mr. Alfano seeks to do with his unrepentant rejoinder to your publication; making out  as though it's "just a minor traffic ticket".  If only! 
    

    Had this only been a “fail to stop” charge, and it was on the record that Franky lost on a single and more minor charge of that nature, then things would be different.

    But in this case, the charges hinged on Mr. Alfano’s long-term thumbing of his-nose-at-the-law in not paying his long-term outstanding fines, and knowingly driving with a suspended license, and then using the defense “if I’m driving, I must not be aware of the suspension because I value my reputation”—even though this isn’t the first time his license has been suspended. When one reads the entire case… ww.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/2014/2014oncj99/2014oncj99.html, .. one can dissect what was really going on. Franky’s defense that the copper who pulled him over was out for revenge for losing in a trial or two, sounds a lot like juvenile blame-shifting to me. Defense representatives know ‘how to play the game”, let’s never forget that.

    As is evident by Mr. Alfano’s mockingly defensive retort to your posting– he considers his actions inconsequential and not related to the profession on the whole. But are they really, as innocuous as Franky wants us to believe?

    One needs to see that he cunningly employed a level of gall, when, knowing this Part III offence- – based on years of skirting the law– was in the wings,–he still “innocently” tosses his hat in the ring to try and represent all paralegals who hold ethics as the core value of their practice.

    Paralegals are supposed to be about upholding the law and to be ethical on every front. While they are to be advocates using every legal means to defend a client, if a paralegal, especially those who’ve practiced long term — seeks and uses small cracks in the law to slither through themselves in efforts to avoid upholding the law, this reflects badly on the profession itself– and hurts all paralegals.

    When just one paralegal misbehaves, and especially if it’s one who has been so long in the business,—- it can affect the overall impact of how the public sees paralegals in general, and more importantly, whether or not they can be trusted– across the board, no matter what.

    If Elizabeth has picked this information on Alfano up, –being the legal researcher and writer/publisher that she is—- would it not also be possible for others to do the same? you know, –considering there are large printed media outlets who like dropping in “juicy tidbits” from time-to-time on paralegals– and it makes us all cringe when we come up smelling like a compost heap due to a bad-apple in the bunch.

    It is my hope that the LSUC picks up on this and follows it up with a stringent plan-of-action to send a message, loud and clear, that habitual skirting of the law will not be tolerated when practicing law; and to think that Franky alleges that he’s going after his L1 as well? Oyee vey!

    Let’s stop this train-wreck before further damage to the paralegal profession ensues.

    BTW: Mr. Alfano: –your Rob-Ford-like defensive tactics, in making light of what I suspect is simply a symptom of a larger issue with your ethics overall— alleging that since you don’t use prostitutes- (that we have legal proof of, you mean)— then that means you’re not such a bad guy after all, well, “that dog won’t hunt” anymore. It doesn’t take Einstein to see that you are trusting that folks will overlook things because you’ve been in the business so long–and they won’t see the bigger picture here, because “it’s just a traffic ticket”. However, as with Rob, your unremorseful, self-defensive rejoinder to this revelation about your years’ long antics– is to offer us a – “hey no one is perfect” excuse– and guess what, it is wearing thin not only with the thinking population that will determine Rob’s fate, but also with those who will determine yours as well.

    1. My apologies if I came off as flippant. I’ve maintained that I’m not guilty of the offence. I was upset when I posted, you may note that the time I posted versus the time the article was posted. My defence wasn’t the officer was upset, it was his motivation for the stop. There are many other issues but after being admonished for speaking about it at all, I will respect the process and post when the case is over. For now, my while I disagree that it’s newsworthy, I respect the opinion of some who might disagree and apologies for the complexion of my response.

    2. Steve smith · · Reply

      Another great point!

    3. steve smith · · Reply

      Frank seems to have an ability to bend the truth to his favour. He knows how to play the system to his advantage and will take his time to waste the courts time and tax payers money. He will appeal and not show up. He will also not meet with his parole officer and than blame the system. Reading his comments about a comparison to Rob Ford now sends chills up my back. It is sad to see that he hasn’t been more formally punished. But as he stated he really isn’t news worthy and I totally agree. By the way did anyone hear who his trail went in Hamilton March 18, 2016 and his breach of probation charges?

  3. Thinh Nguyen · · Reply

    Based on the sensational headlines in LinkedIn and one deleted post, I thought Frank was doing crack or something, lol.

    Thanks Elizabeth for bringing clarity to this story. Perhaps you can do the same about the commotions about the March 1st event that seems to be swept under the rug.

  4. trafficticketparalegal · · Reply

    Well, I didn’t smoke crack (on or off video), found with prostitutes, have TPS Helicopters following me, say inappropriate things on tv. I suppose I should have aimed higher. I am happy that I’m important enough to write about. My name is spelled correctly. I don’t find it interesting to me. It’s even about me and to be honest, I read EVERYTHING about me. Even the bad stuff. Well, anyway, there you have it, I’m apparently important enough in our small world to talk about my traffic ticket. I’ll take my small amount of fame wherever I can get it but I am still hopeful that one day I’ll make the cover of the Rolling Stone.

  5. Well, I’m sorry I didn’t smoke crack, get caught with prostitutes, have Toronto Police helicopters following me, or say inappropriate things on tv. I am happy though to be important enough to be written about. My name is spelled correctly and I suppose in our small world of paralegal, there are a few who be gossipy enough to find this remotely interesting. There are a couple inaccuracies but to clear them up would mean I’m joining. I’m not. Glad I can be the source of some gossip and something to talk about. I’ll however find something better to talk about that may help someone, educate, or be of some value. For now I’m mostly bugged that it’s not the cover of The Rolling Stone.

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