07/03/2015 12:49 EDT | Updated 07/03/2016 05:59 EDT

Winnipeg Law Firm Explosion Injures Woman

WINNIPEG - A bomb sent to a Winnipeg law firm seriously injured a lawyer whose boyfriend was disbarred earlier this week for misappropriating client funds.

Winnipeg police were trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle Friday after an explosion left Maria Mitousis, a 35-year-old family law associate and community volunteer, in hospital.

"We have no reason to believe this is an attack on the justice system," Police Supt. Danny Smyth told reporters.

"We're not considering this to be a general threat to lawyers, law firms or the general public. We're treating this right now as a very specific crime."

Police say Mitousis was alone at the small firm — Petersen King — just south of downtown Friday morning when an explosive device that had been sent to the office went off.

Nearby residents alerted police and the area was evacuated.

Police would not comment on her injuries, but one source who spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity said Mitousis lost a hand and was in danger of losing the other one.

After the blast, police went to the downtown law firm where she had worked until last fall — Monk Goodwin — and workers were removed as a precaution.

Mitousis's boyfriend, Barry Gorlick, had worked at that firm before being disbarred Monday on 15 counts of professional misconduct.

Gorlick pleaded guilty to misappropriating $87,329 from one client and $10,060 from another, according to the ruling from the Law Society of Manitoba. He also admitted to misleading a third client who was going through a divorce by telling her lies, including that she was going to receive millions of dollars in spousal support and property settlement.

Smyth said police "were aware" of the connection to Gorlick and media coverage of his misdeeds, but stressed they had no suspects and no motive yet for the bombing.

They were not certain whether Mitousis was the intended target.

Even though police believe no one else was at immediate risk, the Law Society of Manitoba sent a warning to members noting that other firms have received suspicious mail recently.

"Under the circumstances, it would be prudent to exercise caution when dealing with mail and deliveries."

Mitousis's profile on the LinkedIn website says she was on the board of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church for five years. It also says she is a board member of the Hellenic Professional Association of Manitoba, which promotes Greek culture in Manitoba.

Petersen King is described as a boutique family law firm on the Internet.

One of its former partners was Jack King, the now-deceased husband of former Court of Queen's Bench Justice Lori Douglas.

King pleaded guilty to professional misconduct and had a reprimand placed on his file in 2011 after he admitted he had tried to convince a client in 2003 to have sex with Douglas, who was then a lawyer with King at another firm. That client, Alexander Chapman, would later file a complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council over nude photos of Douglas that King had shared. The council launched an inquiry that became bogged down in procedural wrangling and accusations of unfairness, and Douglas ended up retiring last year.

King helped establish the law firm after his misdeeds in 2003 and enjoyed the last decade of his career there, according to his obituary.