Crisis In The Family Courts

Canadian court whore in trouble

Posted in domestic law by abatteredmother on March 8, 2010


Parental Alienation Theory (PAS)
56-cent stamp needed to stop grief: Lawyer

By ROB LAMBERTI, Toronto Sun

Last Updated: March 7, 2010 8:11pm

Toronto lawyer George Callahan calls it the 56¢ Lawsuit.

But it’s one that could cost dearly, as he’s finding while organizing at least eight people towards a class-action suit.

For the price of mailing that letter, he contends, the College of Psychologists of Ontario could have prevented much of the alleged damage caused by a man who is charged with passing himself off as a clinical psychologist in family law court in Durham Region.

The testimony of Greg Carter, who provided assessments and opinions in child- custody hearings, was used by judges to decide where children live.

Carter was listed as a registered psychological associate and has a limited ability to practise in the areas of clinical psychology, counselling psychology and school psychology.

As an associate, Carter can’t make an independent psychological diagnosis.

He was contracted with the Durham CAS between 2003 and 2009.

Carter, 63, is charged with three counts of fraud, two counts of obstructing justice and two counts of perjury.

“All for 56¢,” Callahan alleges.

“If the legal profession isn’t warned, and the judges aren’t warned, they don’t engage in the inquiries, then how else can we protect the public?

“Lawyers are not well trained in the art of qualifying an expert or challenging the qualifications,” he says.

Callahan says the focus of the class-action suit isn’t limited to just Carter. He’s also including two family lawyers and possibly the Durham Children’s Aid Society and the college.

Callahan says he’s so far interviewed eight people and in two cases there’s a common theme.

“The commonality is that there appears to be knowledge on the part of at least two lawyers for the lack of criteria that Carter had,” he says. “There appears to be almost what I would call negligence in putting him on the stand.

“In all likelihood, I’m assessing the damage caused to at least two of the plaintiffs by their counsel,” Callahan says. “So I’m looking at whether or not the college had a duty to warn.”

He cites the case where a man — Dave — lost custody of his granddaughter in a case where a family court judge deemed Carter’s evidence as “the tipping factor.”

The college states on its website that Carter’s practice “in psychology is not to include the autonomous performance of the controlled act of communicating to a person a diagnosis identifying as the cause of a person’s symptoms, a neuropsychological disorder or a psychologically based psychotic, neurotic or personality disorder. You may perform this controlled act only under supervision of a member of the College authorized to communicate a psychological diagnosis.”

In misconduct complaints filed to the college, two complainants, including a psychologist, allege Carter made “misrepresentations about his credentials, authoring a report based on inadequate information, authoring a report that fell below the standard of care of a reasonably prudent psychological associate, and/or contravening one or more of the Standards of Professional Conduct.”

A date has yet to be set for a hearing with the college’s disciplinary hearing.

According to the college website, Carter received a masters from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1978.

There are allegations Carter received a PhD from the discredited and defunct Pacific Western University, described by authorities in California, Hawaii and Oregon as a diploma mill.

Every case Carter was involved in is being reviewed by authorities.

Dave, whose last name is being withheld, says the province should launch an inquiry into the Children’s Aid organizations, and the legal administration that works with it.

“Even when it started coming out here a couple of years ago … in 10 years, not one (lawyer) investigated and did their due diligence,” Dave alleges. “It was the victims who started to expose him.”

Dave lost custody of his granddaughter in November 2008, and was forced to pay $40,000 in court costs.

On his own, Dave dug into Carter’s background for about 11 months before going to police.

“This guy, he was the ‘go-to’ guy in court because most psychiatrists and psychologists don’t want to go to court,” he contends. “It’s time consuming, it’s stressful. Carter, he was out there, always available.”

Dave says a judge described Carter as a doctor 32 times in his decision to take away his custody of the girl and grant it to her biological father, and twice ruled the “tipping point” in his decision was Carter’s testimony.

“Children are a commodity,” says Dave says, who is critical of the system that has been created to protect children. “They are something that are being traded in the whole Family Court system, they are money. They are a source of generating income for the lawyers, for the courts, for Children’s Aid.

“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it for myself,” Dave says.

Durham Det. Paul Vibert is continuing his criminal investigation into Carter. Two messages were left for college registrar Catherine Yarrow, but the call was not returned. Two messages to Carter’s home and office were also not returned.

n n n

Retired clinical psychologist Marty McKay says she wrote a letter to the college “at least two years ago” raising concerns about Carter.

The former member of the college’s disciplinary and complaints committees says she was concerned about what she heard.

She says she believes there are “quite a few” psychological associates in the field posing or passing themselves off as doctors.

“They may not be actively pretending but they don’t, if someone draws that conclusion, they don’t correct it,” McKay says.

“The whole situation in Durham is a big mess, an absolute mess,” she says.

“Sometimes, I’m really happy that I’ve left the profession because it’s not a good time,” McKay says.

She says people requiring psychologists “need to be educated, ask the right questions, ask to see a copy of the licence.

“Lawyers should ask that, too,” she says. “It’s up to the lawyers in court to challenge a person.”

“And the college, I don’t think cares,” McKay says. “I made many representations to the minister of health … about reforming the college and so I ran afoul of the college.”

n n n

Callahan is also surprised about the lack of scrutiny

paid to Carter’s creden-


“My issue with (the college) appears, look, if you’ve got a member out there … that is rendering advice that can affect children and parents and be very difficult to overturn or to otherwise deal with, for crying out loud make sure that the people who are looking after these particular concerns are qualified and have the background or least the training to do so before you put them in a courtroom, give them the label of expert, and the ability to effect the lives of other people,” Callahan says.

Callahan says he believes it’ll take at least a generation to determine the possible damage done to families.

The advice could have “run from the recommendation the child be adopted, to a no-contact adoption, to switching custody, … the list can go on, and on.

“It is truly a situation that is terribly tragic,” he says.



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