A now former B.C. lawyer presently serving a 22-month prison term for criminal forgery and misrepresentations related to immigration applications has admitted to professional misconduct and resigned from the Law Society of BC, according to a consent agreement.
The society’s March 15 agreement shows Roger Balraj Singh Bhatti will never apply for reinstatement as a lawyer under any circumstance nor, without prior consent of the society’s discipline committee, engage in various legal work in any capacity.
Bhatti was sentenced to prison in May 2022, at age 63, after pleading guilty to multiple counts of forgery under the Criminal Code and misrepresentations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The agreement outlines how Bhatti knowingly forged medical notes and false police reports and death certificates for clients on 14 occasions, between February 2002 and January 2014.
Bhatti was called and admitted as a member of the society in 1984 and became a non-member in 2021 for non-payment of society fees. Between 2005 and 2014 the society noted Bhatti was known to have “a busy law practice representing clients seeking refugee status in Canada” as he “appeared frequently as counsel before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.”
Between 2014, when a warrant was issued for his practice, and 2020, when he was finally charged, Bhatti continued to practice law, according to the court ruling.
Provincial court judge Hon. Mark Jetté considered Bhatti’s offences serious enough to impose a prison term despite mitigating factors such as Bhatti’s depression and inferiority complex outlined in a psychological evaluation.