National Post (National Edition)


Gambling addict in `remission,' awaits trial

- ADRIAN HUMPHREYS National Post Twitter: AD_Humphreys


Sister André holds title as the oldest living European and second-oldest person in the world, according to Gerontolog­y Research Group's “World Supercente­narian Rankings List.” Sister André was born Lucile Randon on Feb. 11, 1904,

in Alès, in southern France.


She grew up in a nonreligio­us Protestant family and worked at a young age as a governess

in Marseille and a tutor in Paris, according to Le Parisien. She converted to Catholicis­m at 19, and at 25, she began working at a hospital. For 28 years she took care of elderly people and orphaned children. In 1944, she became a nun at

the age of 40. In 2009, she moved to a retirement home. When Sister André turned 115, Pope Francis sent her a personal letter and a blessed rosary, according to FAMVIN, a

religious news service.


In the weeks leading up to her 117th birthday, Sister André spent her days isolated in her room at the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home in Toulon. The nun was one of dozens at the home who tested positive for coronaviru­s. But on Tuesday, Sister André was declared recovered from the virus, a spokesman from her retirement home told Reuters. “We consider her to be cured.

She is very calm and she is looking forward to celebratin­g her 117th birthday on Thursday,” spokesman David Tavella

told Reuters.


After her diagnosis with COVID-19 in mid-January, Sister André was asymptomat­ic. Blind and in a wheelchair, the retired nun who lived through

the 1918 flu pandemic and both world wars told France's BFM TV that she wasn't scared when she tested positive because she is not afraid to die. “She showed no fear of the illness, in fact she was more

worried about the other residents.” Tavella told Var-Matin newspaper.


While in isolation, Sister André spent most of her time praying, she told Le Parisien, and longing for the days when she could have meals with friends and go on walks in the garden. Tavella

told the newspaper that the nun is very sociable and enjoys listening to music. As for her 117th birthday on Thursday, Tavella told Reuters that Sister

André is “very calm” and “looking forward to celebratin­g.”“She's been very lucky,”

Tavella said.

Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal is allowed to keep practising law while he awaits his criminal trial on allegation­s he defrauded more than $1 million to feed his frantic gambling addiction while in office.

The Law Society of Ontario postponed a disciplina­ry hearing against Grewal, agreeing to restrictio­ns and monitoring of his activities as a lawyer until after his criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust are dealt with by the court.

Both the criminal charges and the profession­al disciplina­ry proceeding­s relate to Grewal's activities while he was the member of parliament for Ontario's Brampton East riding as well as a practising lawyer.

Nader Hasan, a lawyer representi­ng Grewal, asked for the postponeme­nt at a conduct hearing by the Law Society Tribunal Wednesday. He told the tribunal his client was struggling with a gambling addiction when he was receiving large loans.

“The root of what gave rise to this constellat­ion of facts was a gambling problem. Mr. Grewal, since 2018, has been confrontin­g this issue head on and sought medical treatment for the gambling issue,” Hasan said.

“There has been an unbroken chain, since virtually the first quarter of 2019 through to now, that Mr. Grewal is doing very well and that to the extent there was a gambling issue that issue is in remission.”

He hasn't gambled at all since 2018, the tribunal was told.

Grewal was criminally charged by the RCMP in September 2020, with four counts of breach of trust and one count of fraud over $5,000.

Three breach of trust charges relate to the same loans under scrutiny by the Law Society of Ontario, as well as other loans that Grewal took from family and friends and subsequent­ly repaid, the tribunal was told. The fourth breach of trust charge and the fraud charge relate to alleged financial dealings in Grewal's constituen­cy office.

Hasan said the law society did not have to worry about a public backlash if it delayed addressing Grewal's responsibi­lities as a lawyer.

“None of the alleged victims here complained about Mr. Grewal. They were all made whole and none of them complained either to the police or to the law society,” Hasan said.

The law society ordered a disciplina­ry hearing into Grewal, alleging profession­al misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a lawyer.

The society alleges he used false pretences to obtain or borrow money from six people and a company from June 2016 to December 2017 in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 each.

Hasan said those weren't the only people Grewal was borrowing money from while franticall­y gambling.

“There were many, many lenders. Far more than seven,” he said. He disputed that any of them were related to Grewal's practice as a lawyer, however. While the law society has alleged one of the loans was from a corporatio­n that was a client of Grewal's, Hasan said the loan was really from a friend who owned the company.

Grewal was not at the tribunal hearing, which was held online due to COVID-19 restrictio­ns.

Tanus Rutherford, counsel for the law society, agreed to the adjournmen­t.

While waiting for the disciplina­ry hearing, Grewal retains his law licence and ability to work as a lawyer — but with a status of “practice restricted.” He agreed to extensive financial restrictio­ns, reporting and monitoring by the law society.

He entered into self-exclusion programs with gambling authoritie­s in Ontario and Quebec, promised to not borrow money directly or indirectly from any client except in accordance with law society regulation­s, and to abstain from gambling, both in person and online.

Hasan said Grewal's criminal case is scheduled for eight weeks of hearings in October and November in Ottawa. He suggested the law society hearing could likely proceed before the end of the year.

Grewal started work as a lawyer in 2014. He became a rookie Liberal MP for the Ontario riding of Brampton East in 2015 and continued working as a lawyer parttime.

He quit the Liberal caucus on Nov. 22, 2018, citing “personal and medical reasons.” He later admitted he was seeking treatment for a gambling addiction after racking up millions of dollars in debts playing high-stakes blackjack.

He remained in the House of Commons as an independen­t MP but did not seek re-election in 2019.

Since leaving politics he returned to his law practice full-time.

Tribunal chair Frederika Rotter orally granted the postponeme­nt at the hearing. Written reasons for the decision will be issued later.



 ?? ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES ?? The Law Society of Ontario has postponed a disciplina­ry hearing against former Liberal MP Raj Grewal until after his trial for allegedly defrauding over $1 million.
ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES The Law Society of Ontario has postponed a disciplina­ry hearing against former Liberal MP Raj Grewal until after his trial for allegedly defrauding over $1 million.

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