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Disbarred Newfoundland and Labrador lawyer headed to trial on fraud, breach of trust charges

Michael Drover was one of a number of people arraigned in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Friday

A St. John's lawyer who was disbarred two years ago for misappropriating the money of three of his clients will go to trial on charges of fraud and criminal breach of trust.

Michael Drover wasn't present for his arraignment in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's Friday morning, but entered not guilty pleas through his lawyer to three charges of fraud over $5,000 and three charges of criminal breach of trust.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place between 2011 and 2014.

Drover has selected a jury trial, which will happen over six days beginning Dec. 9.

Drover was disbarred in May 2017 after a tribunal found he had misappropriated $181,483.97 from three clients, and had used $220,775 he was holding in trust from two clients to pay invoices from his firm without giving the clients copies of those invoices.

He was also found to have attempted to mislead the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador and to have failed to respond to the society's communications in a timely manner.

Drover was one of a number of people who entered not guilty pleas at their arraignment in Supreme Court Friday.

Philip Charles Butler opted for a jury to hear his second-degree murder trial, which will start Jan. 27, 2020 and last about four weeks. Butler is accused of killing his brother, George Allan Butler, at his home in Upper Gullies last May 21.

Butler will appear in provincial court in St. John's March 5 to hear the judge's verdict on another charge. His trial in connection with the beating of a man in C.B.S. wrapped up last week.

Nathaniel John Somerton pleaded not guilty to a charge of distributing child pornography when it was his turn to be arraigned Friday. He has selected his trial, which will take place Feb. 10-21, 2020, to be heard by a judge alone.

Somerton was arrested in January 2017 after police executed a search warrant on a St. John's residence as part of a six-month investigation. He is alleged to have distributed child pornography between July 6 and 23, 2016.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury


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