Bad Lawyers

Canadian Lawyer Can Resume Practicing after Injecting Friend with Heroin
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Summary: After injecting a friend with heroin who ended up overdosing and dying in her home, a lawyer in Hamilton, Canada is able to get her law license back.

Civil lawyer Sarah Jackson has been given the green light to practice law again after injecting a friend in 2013 with heroin. The friend ended up overdosing and dying in her home. The Canadian lawyer must pass a medical assessment and get final approval from the Law Society of Canada, which shouldn’t be an issue.


Jackson injected heroin into her friend Edward Cieslik in 2013. The two met in their early teens when they were going to school together in Oshawa. They went their separate ways after school and lost touch until reconnecting in January 2013. Both were reported to be actively using drugs at some point. Jackson had been using heroin regularly until she quit for over a year.

Cieslik had never tried “heroin before but was eager to try it,” according to court documents. She stated that he had asked multiple times over the course of a few weeks to get him heroin. She originally denied knowing how to get and eventually gave in and helped him get the drug. On the night of January 19 after helping him buy the drug, she set up his doses at her hom. She injected the first dose for him while Cieslik injected the second dose later. The decision details, “Sometime after midnight, he became drowsy. Ms. Jackson put on a movie and [Cieslik] went to sleep. She stayed with him for about half an hour and then did other things. The next morning, Ms. Jackson discovered that [Cieslik] had died. She called 911. She was charged with manslaughter on May 8, 2013. She was incarcerated from the date of her arrest until she was acquitted on May 30, 2014.”

Jackson also failed to report to the legal regulator other criminal charges such as drunk driving and cocaine possession in 2012. Her license has been inactive since January 2013.

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Jackson was acquitted of all criminal charges for the incident. She had her license suspended for eight months retroactive to May of last year, according to the Law Society Tribunal’s hearing division. As the ruling read, “Because of the nature of the events and Ms. Jackson’s admissions of drug use, it is appropriate to require a medical examination before she returns to active practice, to ensure that she is able to serve the public.”

Once she passes the medical assessment, Jackson must pay $1,000 in fees to the law society to resume her practice as a lawyer again. A reason for the medical assessment is noted in the decision. It reads, “The penalty takes into account that Ms. Jackson spent considerable time in jail and the undertaking she gave while the matter was proceeding through the criminal courts, she has been away from the practice of law for more than three years. Combined with that, the eight-month suspension provides significant general and specific deterrence.” When Jackson is able to prove that she can handle her responsibilities as a lawyer, the executive director of the law society will sign off on the decision.

Do you think Jackson should be allowed to practice law? Tell us in the comments below.

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