Via the Toronto Star:
A Toronto criminal lawyer’s Twitter account has sparked outrage online after several offensive tweets were posted in the wake of the Boston bombing.
The tweets were sent last week from Twitter account @Dasilvalaw, which has since been deleted, though several retweets can still be found online.
“I pray for the suspects. May they slay the police army of satan. Death to all police!” reads one posting sent from @Dasilvalaw. Other tweets from that account contained vitriolic responses to offended Twitter users, including “am praying that u get violently raped. May cancer be upon u.!!!”
The lawyer, David Da Silva, 34, said in an emailed response sent Monday to the Star that he is “not the author of any such tweets.”
Asked in a follow-up email if his account had been hacked, the defence lawyer said he is “having this matter investigated at this time.”
Lawyer Nadia Liva, who sent an email to the Star saying she is acting as his counsel, said he is “very concerned” and “we are currently investigating the tweets, which were not authored by Mr. Da Silva.”
I don’t know Da Silva, either personally or professionally, but his website bio is generic:
David obtained his B.A. (Hons.) at York University and his LL.B at Osgoode Hall Law School. David was accepted into the elite Criminal Intensive Program at Osgoode and obtained one of only 7 national placements as a law student for the judges at 1000 Finch Ave Courthouse and is a member of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. He went on to article for senior counsel Bruce Olmsted, Q.C. where he was able to gain valuable exposure and work experience on many high profile cases including many organized crime and task force Projects.
David’s is a passionate believer in civil rights and had a lifelong dream to practice criminal defense law. David brings the human touch to his client relations while maintaining an aggressive and zealous attitude when defending his clients. His approach is one of defending every client vigorously. David will guide you through the criminal process at all stages of court proceedings, including after the conclusion of proceedings in assisting you with matters such as retrieving property seized by the police, getting fingerprints and photographs destroyed after an acquittal or withdrawal of charges.
The Da Silva Law website does not provide any information on year of call or date of graduation, which tells me that he is either a recent call or has less than five years of experience. Note the typical flawging buzz words: “passionate”, “life long dream” “human touch” and “aggressive and zealous attitude”.
The following are a couple of RTs (retweets) that are still accessible on Twitter, despite the fact that the @DaSilvaLaw account has since been deleted (by the account owner or Twitter):
In my opinion, Mr. Da Silva is caught in a catch-22.
If he sent the tweets, then the Law Society of Upper Canada will not hesitate to pursue the complaint filed by the Toronto Police Association. Even frivolous complaints are pursued with vigilance by our profession’s governing body, as my own personal experience attests.
The tweets are clearly offensive and malicious, as pointed out by Toronto criminal defence lawyer Sean Robichaud (Twitter: @seanrobichaud):
On Monday, another Toronto lawyer, Sean Robichaud, tweeted his disgust at the “utterly vile” content sent from the Twitter account. Da Silva was a tenant renting space in Robichaud’s offices but was asked to leave for “unrelated reasons,” and before the tweets were sent. Robichaud added he doesn’t know if Da Silva sent the tweets.
If somehow Mr. Da Silva had no knowledge that a Twitter account was opened under his firm name, or that he let someone else handle his Twitter account, then he is still likely subject to professional discipline, unless his Twitter account was somehow hacked. Ghostweeting and ghostblawging always conjure up the Turkewitz– Bennett Law Marketing Axiom:
Outsource Your Marketing, Outsource Your Ethics and Reputation.
Perhaps Da Silva’s office manager, Christopher Nabeta, can shed further light on this issue.
What troubles me is the manner of reporting by various media outlets concerning Mr. Da Silva’s prior and pending criminal charges:
Last fall, a judge acquitted Da Silva of charges that he beat, sexually assaulted and threatened to kill a woman whom he denied knowing well. She testified he was controlling, jealous and verbally and physically abusive. The judge found her testimony contradictory and implied she had fabricated the accusations.
After his acquittal, Da Silva suggested police targeted him because he is a defence lawyer unafraid to litigate racial profiling cases.
He is currently facing more charges laid last June, including criminal harassment, threatening death and assault. He is alleged to have sent a threatening text message to a woman. He also allegedly smashed her face against a door frame. He is scheduled to appear in court May 15.
Similar fact evidence of prior bad acts? Come on Toronto Star, you can do better than this.
Instead of prurient details and innuendo, why not just do some investigative reporting and dig up some other tweets from the same Twitter account? How about this one:
While calling all police officers “sociopaths” is hyperbolic, it appears not to have drawn the ire of either the Toronto Police Association or the Law Society of Upper Canada.
As my colleague, Andreas Papadopoulos, who also called out the highly offensive tweet on Twitter recently replied: