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Posts tagged ‘Pirbhai v. Singh’

“A marriage licence surely must be the easiest of all licences to obtain” Even More Quips from Justice Quinn: Thomas v. Thomas


Even More Quips from Justice Quinn: Thomas v. Thomas

A while ago I highlighted the decisions by Mr. Justice Quinn in the cases of Bruni v. Bruni and Pirbhai v. Singh, where the esteemed Ontario Court Judge provided some quotable quotes and funny quips in the context of resolving the disputes before him.

In that same vein, I thought I would highlight an earlier decision by Justice Quinn that shows he was in fine comedic form even a decade ago.

In Thomas v. Thomas, 2003 CanLII 64346 (ON SC) the judgment begins as follows:

The parties in this matrimonial litigation, both with a military background, came to learn that marriage “is a field of battle and not a bed of roses.”
(Ever one for attention to detail, in his footnote the Judge correctly credits this “bed of roses” quote to Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Virginibus Puerisque (1881))

About the parties’ communication skills, the Judge observes:

One week after the wedding, the husband announced that there would be no children of the marriage. And, he told the wife to “not think about accidentally getting pregnant.” She was greatly upset by this and grieved for awhile.

The footnote reads:

It is both sad and remarkable that, prior to the wedding, these highly intelligent people did not discuss if they would have children or what roles each would perform in the marriage or whether the wife would be expected to pursue a career and work outside the home. A marriage licence surely must be the easiest of all licences to obtain.

In the course of chronicling the breakdown of the marriage, he writes:

In July 1990, the husband was transferred to Hamilton, Ontario. Although the wife had taken some time to settle into her life in Germany, she grew to like it and did not want to leave. Nevertheless, there was no choice in the matter and the parties returned to Ontario. Thereafter, the marital temperature never got above freezing. Sexual relations ended.

The footnote to this passage reads:

Like many families, watching rented videotaped movies was part of their lifestyle. However, they each would rent their own movies and watch them separately. Apart from eating, sleeping and breathing they had nothing in common.

On August 5, 2001, while returning from a week-end trip that he and his wife had taken to Kingston (it was a police convention of sorts), the husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Much time and evidence was devoted to this week-end. Apart from wondering why, in the light of the sorry state of the marriage, the husband would extend an invitation to the wife to accompany him and she would accept, all that needs to be said about the trip is that it was extremely unpleasant and acrimonious. I accept the testimony of the wife that, on the way home in their motor vehicle, the husband chronicled all of her shortcomings. She was shocked, hurt and confused.

Again, the footnote says this:

It is quite amazing that the marriage lasted 14 years. One would have thought that, “The weakest kind of fruit drops earliest to the ground.” (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, scene i, line 115.)

For the full text of the decision, see:

Thomas v. Thomas, 2003 CanLII 64346 (ON SC)

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh

15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released the 2010 decision of Justice Quinn in the case of Kalinuddin Pirbhai v. Gurnek Singh on May 7th, 2010.

This is another decision filled with wry quips and comments by Justice Quinn. The background and outcome of the Singh decision can be found in earlier blog Quinn’s Quips Continue: More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn

Keeping with the 15 Best Quips format we decided to highlight some of Justice Quinn’s more colourful and pointed comments. Justice Quinn’s judicious use of humor and wry quips continue to provide fodder for bloggers and legal commentators.

Here we go:

1. A friend of a friend is not necessarily your friend.

2. In 1999, the plaintiff was in the market for a used, high-end motor vehicle. A friend of his said that he had a friend who could supply such a vehicle. Ten years, and 31 days of trial, later, that transaction is finally completed. The plaintiff ended up with an expensive bargain.

3. The trial was most notable for revealing the defendant, Gurnek Singh (“Singh”), to be unblinkingly dishonest. He shows no aptitude for the truth; he is without a conscience; he is incorrigible.

4. Singh, on the other hand, is a devious man and an unbelievable witness who will do or say anything to advance his position. He was maddeningly unwilling to respond to the simplest of questions and often had to be asked the same question over and over (no doubt using the time gained to visit his pantry of untruthful answers).

5. Indeed, by the end of the trial, if Singh were to have testified that the world was round, I immediately would have sought membership in the Flat Earth Society.

6. Throughout the trial, I patiently waited for a Phoenix-like moment that might serve to rehabilitate his credibility: it never came. All in all, he was an exasperating witness who told untruths too numerous to catalogue and insulting in their breadth.

7. I feel somewhat responsible for this as I must have done or said something during the trial that caused Singh to believe that I was dim-witted.

8. There is no suggestion that Singh was the victim of a rogue employee or that there was a faxing poltergeist bumping about Brampton Auto.

9. Singh deposited the cheque to his personal bank account and thought that his splendid skullduggery had succeeded.

10. the plaintiff took the Lexus for a drive. He noted that the vehicle swayed, swerved, wobbled and emitted unusual noises. He also observed that it seemed to have a number of body parts that did not match [with the endnote] .. Something of an automotive Frankenstein.

11. Singh abandoned the Toyota story, said “Yes,” this document related to the Lexus, and offered an explanation that fell somewhere between a yarn and a fairy tale.

12. Singh’s evidence, in this area of the case, is an example of the elaborate lengths to which he was prepared to go to deceive the court. If lies were clothes, Singh would have been considerably overdressed for the trial.

13. Singh maintained that he did not receive this fax. However, the telephone records of the plaintiff establish that it was sent as he testified. Singh, overestimating the obtuseness of his audience, straight-facedly testified that perhaps the plaintiff had faxed a blank piece of paper. Singh did not produce any telephone records for this time-frame.

14. Singh’s casual and haphazard approach to his business and corporate structure and, more importantly, his fraudulent conduct in this case, vitiate the benefit of limited liability available through the process of incorporation and, therefore, in my opinion, attract personal liability. The corporate veil here was more of a bandit’s mask.

15. I have not said anything about a counterclaim made by Singh and that is because it was advanced with more nerve than merit. At that point in the trial, Singh’s credibility had immolated and the court was up to its sash in falsehoods.

Justice Quinn’s full decision is available at

Quinn’s Quips Continue: More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn

Quinn’s Quips Continue: More Quips from Mr. Justice Quinn

A few months ago, I wrote about the judgment of Mr. Justice Quinn in the Ontario family law decision in Bruni v. Bruni, see .  The judge’s Reasons for Judgment were – to say the least – on the colourful side: they were filled with unusually-candid quips, humorously pointed observations, and – at some points – scathing criticisms of the parties to the litigation. To set the tone of that judgment, it is sufficient to note that they began with the words “Paging Dr. Freud. Paging Dr. Freud.”

Well, Justice Quinn is at it again. While not a family law case, in Pirbhai v. Singh (c.o.b. Sarwan Auto Sales), Justice Quinn makes no bones about the character of the defendant Singh, whom in the second paragraph he calls “unblinkingly dishonest”. He goes on to conclude that Singh “shows no aptitude for the truth; he is without a conscience; he is incorrigible”, adding that “All in all, he was an exasperating witness who told untruths too numerous to catalogue and insulting in their breadth.” And in case there remained any misunderstanding about his assessment of the defendant’s credibility, in a footnote to the decision the judge adds: “Singh should not be permitted to conduct any commercial business in the Province of Ontario that brings him into contact with members of the public”.

These caustic observations are contained in a 27-page decision pertaining to a dispute between Singh, a used car dealer and auto collision shop owner, and Pirbhai, a St. Catherines doctor. Pirbhai had wanted to buy a used luxury car and had been referred to Singh by a friend-of-a-friend. The deal went sour because of Singh’s shoddy workmanship and broken promises in connection with a used Lexus that Pirbhai agreed to buy. The matter finally came before Mr. Justice Quinn after 10 years, and took 31 days of trial time.

In this context, Judge Quinn calls Singh “a devious man and an unbelievable witness who will do or say anything to advance his position. He was maddeningly unwilling to respond to the simplest of questions and often had to be asked the same question over and over (no doubt using the time gained to visit his pantry of untruthful answers.)” Ultimately, the judge ordered Singh to pay Pirbhai $33,465.77 in compensation, together with $50,000 in punitive damages.

Despite his role as a respected member of the judiciary, Mr. Justice Quinn is not stranger to calling it as he sees it. In 2009, he rendered a similarly-candid decision in a dispute between two best friends who engaged in bitterly-fought litigation over a $5-million lottery win. “During this trial, truth was only an occasional visitor,” Judge Quinn wrote. He added: “the case is awash in untruths and curiosities.”

Mr. Justice Quinn may be among the most forthright (and prolific) of Ontario judge in terms of a willingness to write such unreserved rebukes to parties and their witnesses. I am sure there will be similar decisions in the future, to look forward to.

For the full-text of the judgments, see: Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568 (CanLII) and Pirbhai v. Singh et al., 2010 ONSC 2446 (CanLII)

As a side note, in a separate decision regarding costs in the Pirbhai case Justice Quin notes that:

“Singh was evasive as a witness. He refused to acknowledge simple factual matters. He failed miserably in making reasonably diligent efforts to provide documentary disclosure, rendering it obvious that his objective was to divulge only what he wanted the court to see. Singh lied under oath. He tendered forged documents in evidence with the intention that the court act upon them. He perpetrated a fraud upon the plaintiff and his plan was to do the same upon the court. In this trial, he was a one-man crime wave. “

Justice Quin then awards the Plaintiff $131,211.74 in costs plus $2,000 in HST, in addition to the judgment for $33,465.77 and $50,000 in punitive damages.  This costs decision can be found at Pirbhai v. Singh, et al, 2011 ONSC 1366 (CanLII)

For further details of this decision, please see my subsequent blog 15 Best Quips by Justice Quinn in Pirbhai v. Singh at