09/02/2015 10:38 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 01:12 EDT

Lu Chan Khuong should not be reinstated by Quebec Bar, argue former premiers

Four former Quebec premiers – all of whom have law degrees – have written an open letter imploring the Quebec Bar not to reinstate Lu Chan Khuong before the court proceedings are over.

Khuong is the head of the Quebec Bar who was suspended in July over shoplifting allegations.

On Friday, a Quebec Superior Court judge rejected a safeguard order filed by Khuong demanding her immediate reinstatement as president of the Bar.

The judge ruled Khuong should not get her job back until the court can examine the case she filed against the Quebec Bar.

Four former premiers — Lucien Bouchard, Bernard Landry, Daniel Johnson and Pierre-Marc Johnson — outlined their support for that decision in a letter written to Droit Inc., a lawyers' trade publication.

They wrote that reinstating Khuong would undermine the Bar's credibility and its members' dignity, and it would imperil the public's trust in the institution. 

Allowing the reinstatement of Khuong, even temporarily, would go against the very ethics and respect for the law that the Bar is supposed to espouse, the letter's signatories argued. 

The background

- May 22, 2015: Khuong is elected as head of the Quebec Bar with 63 per cent of the vote.

- July 1, 2015: Khuong is suspended by the Bar's board of directors over shoplifting allegations from 2014.

- July 22, 2015: Khuong files a lawsuit against the Quebec Bar, seeking $95,000.

- Aug. 18, 2015: Quebec Bar files lawsuit against Khuong, seeking $90,000.

- Aug. 20, 2015: Khuong files safeguard order, demanding her immediate reinstatement.

- Aug. 28, 2015: Court rules against Khuong, denying safeguard order.

Khuong is alleged to have stolen two pairs of jeans worth $455 from Simon's department store.

Khuong, who was never charged, said the situation resulted from a "moment of inattention" and occurred in good faith.

The Bar said the Crown decided to deal with the case non-judicially.

However, the Bar decided to pursue the matter after Khuong made comments to the media suggesting she went along with the non-judicial process in order to avoid media attention and "wasting time in court."

The Bar's board of directors said it took issue with those comments and asked her to resign, suspending her when she refused.

The Bar defended its move, saying the head of the association has to be beyond reproach in legal matters.

Khuong is claiming in court that the Bar's board had no right to suspend her.

​The former premiers who signed the letter said they supported the Bar's board of directors in its decision to pursue the matter in court and argued that Khuong's suspension does not rob her of her right to be presumed innocent.