Professional troubles are mounting for a London lawyer who tried to sue a judge after losing a case marked by “incomprehensible legal gibberish” and after being found by a court to have made racist and misogynist comments to opponents and others.
The Law Society of Ontario’s tribunal suspended Oussama Hamza indefinitely Wednesday for allegedly refusing to comply with society requests for documents related to investigations of his activities.
He faces even more serious allegations about those activities, according to a notice filed last month at the tribunal, including making racist and sexist remarks on social media and court documents and “hostile, inflammatory, inaccurate and discriminatory written statements in court documents and in related correspondence, and on his firm’s website.”
Meanwhile, Hamza’s recent defence of a woman who was found by a court to have used a fake name to try to sue the CBC also is causing consternation in legal circles.
Hamza could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Calls to his office phone prompted a voice message directing people to his website, before saying goodbye and hanging up.
The website was not operating Wednesday. On the home page was a notice asking people to sign a “petition against” to enter the website. The notice did not say what the petition was opposing and the link to the rest of the website did not work.
Hamza began earning public notoriety in fall 2020, when lawyer Vincent Rocheleau posted LinkedIn messages encouraging women to take part in a University of Ottawa project about their experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to court rulings, Hamza replied on LinkedIn with messages about women’s contributions to academia, including that “women didn’t write their histories because they didn’t care to do so” and “women just don’t care about history or philosophy” because “women don’t generally consider being a philosopher or historian ‘sexy.’ ”
Hamza defended himself with comments about his critics, including that Rocheleau and another person “had been colonizing and genociding the country,” and that white women had been “raising murderers of Indians and blacks they now pretend to support against ‘villains’ like” him, according to court documents.
Rocheleau filed a complaint with the Law Society of Ontario that Hamza’s comments were racist and sexist.
Another Hamza post led to another complaint to the law society. The post showed a photo of law student Ismail Aderonmu, his wife and children, with speech and thought bubbles making derogatory comments about each, according to a court decision.
Aderonmu’s complaint alleged posting such content is “conduct unbecoming of a lawyer.”
The law society launched an investigation, but Hamza allegedly refused to co-operate, instead going to court seeking at least $215,000 in damages.
Hamza also sought several orders, including that:
- He not be required to refer to any judge in the future as Your Honour or Justice.
- He “shall no longer pay taxes to a European colonizer, but to a ‘red Indian’ representative in government.”
- He no longer pay fees to the law society, “which shall be declared racist.”
- Aderonmu not be admitted to the bar.
In April 2021, Superior Court Justice Thomas Heeney threw out the matter on a technicality, but made it clear the entire case was without merit.
The legal notice and factum filed by Hamza “amount to over 1,000 pages of rambling, pseudo-intellectual attacks on the (law society) and the other respondents, expressions of his opinion on their character and integrity, racist and misogynist attacks on the respondents and the judiciary, arguments that amount to little more than incomprehensible legal gibberish,” Heeney wrote.
Hamza’s demands about taxes and judges ”can fairly be described as nonsense,” Heeney added. “They are untenable at law and have no chance of success.”
Heeney later ordered Hamza to pay costs of $33,000 to the law society and $12,742.86 to Aderonmu.
Hamza then sued, in French, the same people plus Heeney. Superior Court Justice Robin Tremblay threw out that action as “frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court” in a decision published Jan. 17, 2022.
Hamza also took his case to the Ontario Court of Appeal. It upheld Heeney’s decision, dismissed the appeal, and found Hamza’s legal arguments “continue to make racist and misogynistic statements and include personal attacks on the respondents, . . . the motion judge and the respondents’ legal counsel. We are satisfied that the appeal is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the process of the court.”
The law society began investigating Hamza at some point, and a tribunal hearing notice in March alleged Hamza has contravened Law Society Act professional conduct rules since Dec. 1, 2021, by failing to co-operate in a probe of his activities by refusing to fully respond to law society emails and letters.
After a hearing Tuesday, the tribunal ruled Hamza’s licence would be suspended the next day until he responded to the correspondence. After that, he would remain suspended for another month.
No hearing date has been set for the investigation of his activities. But the notice for the hearing outlines seven allegations about ongoing activities that began in 2020.
The allegations include that Hamza:
- Made “discriminatory, racist, sexist or offensive comments on social media, on his firm’s website, in court documents and in related correspondence, which were directed at members of the public, the law society, complainants to the law society, members of the judiciary, other licensees and the Canadian justice system.”
- Attempted to obstruct a law society investigation by threatening to take legal action and “breached his duty to act with integrity, in particular his duty to practise law and discharge all of his responsibilities to his clients, courts, the public and other members of the profession, by making hostile, inflammatory, inaccurate and discriminatory written statements in court documents and in related correspondence, and on his firm’s website.”
Despite the earlier troubles, Hamza continued to practise law until this week, and that brought him to a bizarre case involving the CBC over a March 2021 investigative piece by reporter Jennifer Chevalier into suspicions a mental health charity was run by a woman with a secret identity.
A person named Kamala Tiwari sued CBC for $20 million in damages. The broadcaster brought a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming Tiwari is a fake name and the actual plaintiff was Althea Reyes.
Reyes, who has been declared a vexatious litigant under Sec. 140 of Ontario’s Courts of Justice Act, cannot start a legal action without a court’s permission. A vexatious litigant is someone deemed to have brought forward multiple, frivolous claims to the courts.
At a March 17 Zoom hearing, according to the court decision, Superior Court Justice Heather Williams asked Hamza if his client was on the screen. Hamza did not answer, saying the judge should ask the other parties in court because they claimed to know who his client was. The judge then asked a woman on the screen if she was the plaintiff. Hamza interrupted and again told the judge to ask the other parties, although the woman then indicated she was Kamala Tiwari.
Williams dismissed the suit in a decision published in May, saying it was likely Reyes started the legal action under the name Tiwari.
“Finally, I must add that Mr. Hamza’s participation in this matter was of concern to me, given his status as an officer of the court,” Williams added.