Harris et al. v. R. – TCC: Taxpayers’ appeals dismissed for repeated attempts to thwart the discovery process

Bill Innes on Current Tax Cases

http://decision.tcc-cci.gc.ca/tcc-cci/decisions/en/item/70989/index.do New Window

Harris et al. v. The Queen (April 2, 2014 – 2014 TCC 110) was a motion to strike appeals of Mr. and Mrs. Harris based on their failure to attend or answer questions at two prior discoveries. At the first discovery (February 25, 2013), which was the subject of a court-ordered timetable, Mrs. Harris did not attend and Mr. Harris refused to answer any questions. At the second (November 29, 2013) both attended but in response to all the questions asked the had the same answer:

[13] Both parties attended, however, in response to all of the questions, they read from a pre-prepared statement, which was to the effect “an undertaking to gather the requested information subject to consulting counsel in respect to my Charter of Rights.”

At the hearing of this motion Mr. Harris was represented by counsel, Mrs. Harris was not. The judge was not however reassured that Mr. Harris’ counsel would continue in the proceedings or could represent both him and his wife:

[22] In fact, I gathered from some of her remarks that she may have been retained only for today’s motions and not for the entire matter, even as it relates to Mr. Harris alone.

[23] She did say, and the transcript would show, that she might represent one or both of them if there was not a conflict, or possibly another counsel might be conducting the matter.

[24] That leaves me very little comfort that this matter will not appear back in this Court at some point down the road, with the very same history presented for the third time.

[25] I believe that the reading of that response at the examination is an indication of the Appellants’ attempt, continued attempt, to thwart the processes of this Court and frustrate the processes to take up valuable time and resources when there are taxpayers that are self-represented and wish to move their matters along swiftly.

[26] Mr. Harris and Mrs. Harris have had ample time, when I look at the history of this file, to have hired counsel long before this morning.

[27] If they had issues, if they were not sure on matters, they had ample opportunity to get instructions from an accountant, a lawyer, someone, before today’s motions in front of me and to suggest future timelines for completion of steps.

[28] It appears that with their response at the examinations, they wanted time to look at these undertakings that they had given. There is no indication they have done so.

[29] Therefore, I am going to dismiss both the appeals and I am combining the matters and I am going to award $2,500 to the Respondent, payable forthwith, in both of these matters.