In a decision released February 8, 2021 (previously discussed here), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice accepted the Town of Caledon’s motion to find Darzi Holdings Ltd., Rafat General Contractor Inc. and Layth Rafat Salim aka Carlo Salim in contempt for breaching an order requiring compliance with municipal by-laws. Following the contempt order, the parties proceeded to argue the appropriate sentence for the defendants’ years of non-compliance.
In the course of their contempt, the defendants operated a profitable construction business and earned millions of dollars of profit. Despite this, the defendants suggested that a $100,000 fine was a sufficient fine. The Town of Caledon argued that a $1 million fine was more appropriate in light of the length of the defendants’ contempt, the degree of their defiance and the profit incurred during their contempt. The court agreed that the Town’s proposed fine was more appropriate because: 1. Over the 2020 fiscal year, while in contempt, the defendants made a gross profit of about $6 million; 2. The defendants “exaggerated the scope” of their attempts to purge their contempt; and 3. They defiantly disobeyed the court order by showing “that they will [comply with the by-law] when they are ready and not a minute before.”
This is a precedent-setting decision, not only in the manner it addresses a party that defiantly ignores the law for a number of years, but in the $1 million fine ordered, which is among the highest fines ordered by Ontario courts in a contempt case.
Cassels represented the Town of Caledon.
A copy of the decision can be found here.