Friday, November 21, 2014

The Douglas Inquiry: "Join hands and form a circle boys and girls .....Here we go around the taxpayer mulberry bush again, the mulberry bush ..... "

'Nude' judge wins temporary ban of sex photos at disciplinary hearing

Colin Perkel
Friday, Nlovember 21, 2014

TORONTO - A senior Manitoba judge has won a temporary 11th-hour ban on the use of graphic sex photographs taken of her from being used at her disciplinary hearing next week.

The stay will be in effect until the admissibility of the images of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas can be determined at a later date, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ruled Friday.

Mosley's reasons were not immediately available.

Lawyers for Douglas had pleaded with him on Thursday to grant a stay against the decision by an inquiry committee of the Canadian Judicial Council that the photographs should become evidence.

They argued allowing use of the images, taken by her husband and posted on the Internet without her consent, would revictimize her.

Mosley also ruled that Douglas's motion for a permanent injunction against the photographs would be heard Dec. 9 in Ottawa.

The committee is slated to begin its hearings into Douglas in Winnipeg on Monday, but it was not immediately clear how the ruling would impact the schedule.

The panel's independent council, Suzanne Cote, had said a temporary stay would put the hearings themselves on hold given the central importance of the images.

The Canadian Judicial Council did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

Mosley also granted Cote leave to intervene in the stay hearing, but not to appeal the court's ultimate ruling.

In court on Thursday, Douglas's lawyers made an emotional plea to permanently seal the photographs, saying the disciplinary committee, which could recommend Douglas be booted from the bench, does not need to see the photographs.

The committee already knows what the pictures are about, Block said.

"These are pictures of people having sex," the lawyer said. "They're highly prejudicial."

Douglas sought the stay after the panel ruled last month that the photographs were relevant.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to consider these allegations without a concrete first-hand appreciation of their nature and what they depict," the panel stated.

Cote, who had opposed the requested interim stay, said the two male judges and female lawyer on the disciplinary panel needed to view the photographs given that the "main dispute" about Douglas is the "effect" of the images.

The committee did promise to keep the images out of the public record.

The photographs, some of which depict bondage, were taken by Douglas's now-late husband Jack King before she became a judge.

Block called it a classic case of "revenge porn" and said any judge could become a victim.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nice try but no cigar for you!

Good Day Readers:

Sheila Block, Head of Team Lori Douglas' three-person publicly financed defence team, is attempting to get a Federal Court of Canada Judge to grant a stay so the photographs cannot be introduced to the Inquiry Panel when it re-convenes on Monday (November 24). This is the equivalent of throwing a desperate judicial Hail Mary pass late in a football game. It's highly unlikely to succeed.

In his public comments Judge Mosley is on the public record as being prepared to convene a hearing to consider the possibility of a permanent sealing order within a couple weeks - that's got to be some kind of judicial record for alacrity! The implication is clear. The Inquiry Committee should first be allowed to see the material which is the correct decision. To do otherwise would create a major headache for a judiciary already labouring under a seriously broken business model.

Rightly or wrongly, good or bad, for better or worse it would reinforce the already widely held public perception that the judiciary is of lawyers, by lawyers and for lawyers - judges judging judges; judges protecting judges to the exclusion to the layperson, taxpaying population.

Colleagues, Dinner and Organizational Behaviour 101

When Counselor Block makes the statement, "These are people she has dinner with. These are colleagues. The Harm is tremendous." -  it needs to be closely examined. Organizational Behaviour 101 dictates as soon as an employee of an organization is even suspected of being involved in a scandal most of their "colleagues" will immediately begin to avoid them like the plague. How many of Jian Ghomeshi's or Bill Cosby's former "colleagues" do you figure remain faithful to him and still get together regularly for dinner Ms Block? The harm has long since been done and in Lori Douglas' case sadly and tragically it's likely irreversible in the minds of many.

But one example. While Ms Douglas was Associate Chief Douglas the informal chatter within the legal community was she enjoyed a good working relationship with current Chief Justice Glenn Joyal. However, bear in mind he was the one who filed the complaint last year with the Canadian Judicial Council alleging she had misspent approximately $6,000 of expense money made available by The Office of the Commissioner for Judicial Affairs Canada under the terms of a Judicial Representative Allowance Program.While Independent Counsel tried to have this added to the Notice of Allegations the Inquiry Panel refused.

Why? One can only speculate. The CJC seems to place a huge premium on protecting the integrity of the system or as judges are often heard to say, "it's paramount." Could the Panel be of the mind there's enough under Allegation (3) [Alleged Incapacity as a Result of the Public Availability of the Photos] so why risk looking petty?

Finally, perhaps another misperception exists that should be addressed. You'll notice Sheila Block states, "There's no issue these are graphic pictures" Block said. "These are pictures of people having sex." When CyberSmokeBlog anonymously received electronic instructions for accessing the completely unredacted copies of the 30 or 33 photographs (can't recall the exact number) shortly after the story broke, its best recollection is of only one that depicted sex between a man and woman but because of the camera angle those involved could not be identified.

And no, CSB did not download them it merely wanted to satisfy itself this was no hoax. It was not!

Clare L. Pieuk
Block sex photos ahead of disciplinary hearings, Lori Douglas's lawyer asks court

Colin Perkel
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Manitoba Justice Lori Douglas faces removal from the bench over nude photographs of her posted without permission on the internet by her husband. (CBC)

A disciplinary committee does not need to see graphic sex photographs of a senior Manitoba judge to decide whether she should stay on the bench, her lawyer argued Thursday.

Allowing the committee to view the pictures of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, released on the Internet without her consent, would only serve to revictimize her, court heard.

"They're highly prejudicial. They're not necessary for the determination of this issue," lawyer Sheila Block told Federal Court.

"These are people she has dinner with. These are colleagues. The harm is tremendous."

The committee of the Canadian Judicial Council, supported by its independent counsel, has ruled it needs to view the photographs to decide whether they are "demeaning to women" and might warrant Douglas's removal from the bench.

Judge Richard Mosley said the court could hold a hearing on permanently blocking the photographs within two weeks, but Block said that wouldn't help.

An immediate interim stay is needed, she said, because the panel is slated to begin its hearings on Monday, and the pictures would be entered as evidence right away.

"Once the bell is rung, it's over," Block told Mosley.

'At the core of the allegations,' says panel

In a ruling last month, the panel said the photographs were relevant.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to consider these allegations without a concrete first-hand appreciation of their nature and what they depict," the panel stated.

"Such characteristics are precisely at the core of the allegations which we are charged to investigate."
In court Thursday, the committee's independent counsel, Suzanne Cote, opposed the requested interim stay, saying the effect would be to put the entire proceedings on hold indefinitely given the importance of the photographs.

"The main dispute is about the effect of these pictures," Cote told Mosley.

The case speaks to the integrity of the justice system, Cote said, and the panel needs to view the images at the outset of their hearings to make informed findings.

Block heaped scorn on that notion. The nature of the images is already well known, she said.

"There's no issue these are graphic pictures," Block said. "These are pictures of people having sex."
The photographs, some of which depict bondage, were taken by Douglas's now-late husband Jack King before she became a judge.

Douglas 'totally a victim,' says lawyer

Without telling her, he sent them to a client and put them on the Internet. The client distributed them further in 2010, despite an agreement in 2003 with King to return or destroy them.

One of the allegations is that Douglas failed to disclose that the photographs were on the Internet when she applied to become a family court judge in 2004.

Block called it a classic case of "revenge porn" and said any judge could become a victim.

"Suppose the judge was raped and somebody put it on YouTube?" Block said. "(Douglas) is totally a victim. She is entitled to the sex that she chooses to have."

Douglas is now facing potential punishment, the lawyer said, because of something nasty her husband did.

"A woman is not owned by her husband," Block said.

Mosley, who at one point noted judges are routinely required to view sensitive material, said he would likely rule on the stay motion on Friday.

When Luigi no capiches .....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And yet another steps out of the shadows .....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Douglas Inquiry: Digitization in the bedroom

The Star Chamber

Good Day Readers:

With the recent Jian Ghomeshi scandal the focus has dramatically shifted to the subject of re-victimization and as to be expected the Lori Douglas case comes up for discussion. While the article below is well-intentioned it's lacking. To expect Ms Douglas not to be re-victimized is quite naive.

According to a senior Canadian Judicial Council official when a Judge is under investigation for alleged misconduct an attempt is made to avoid a lengthy, costly public hearing. One can only assume such was the case with Lori Douglas but for whatever reasons(s) such could not be achieved. Re-victimization is nothing new although listening to the media you'd think it were. Rape shield laws notwithstanding, how long have victims been subjected to blistering attacks by defence lawyers leaving them to feel they were the guilty party?

But the case of Lori Douglas is unique. Bill C-13 aside for a moment, she ultimately was responsible for allowing the digitization. Having seen the 30-odd photographs at no point did she appear to be even remotely under duress. quite the contrary. So what's the CJC supposed to do? Conduct a closed door Star Chamber inquiry where there's a publication ban on her name? How practical is that? How long do you think it'd be before the name leaked out? Besides, in this era when the judicial system and by association The Council are under intense public pressure for a perceived lack of transparency, soon there'd be a public outcry.

Sadly, Lori Douglas is paying a very high price for a very bad decision aided and abetted by her late husband. While on multiple occasions the Canadian Lawyer Magazine article refers to the tired argument of the state having no place in the nations's bedrooms problem is that's no longer reality in this the digital age.

As for further damage to Ms Douglas' judicial reputation that's hard to imagine unless, of course, there's still more explosive testimony to come at the Inquiry.

But if there's one abiding lesson to be learned from the Douglas Inquiry perhaps it's how severely flawed the process for selecting federal judges remains. One need look no farther than the appointment of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice (General Division) Vic Toews earlier this year..

Little wonder it's still seen as a system of judges judging judges; judges protecting judges.

Clare L. Pieuk

'Victim-blaming couched as legitimate judicial inquiry

Lori Douglas is the victim of a sexual crime: her public revictimization is just plain wrong.

By Jasmine Abkarali and Gillian Hnatiw
Monday, november 17, 2014

Like a watermelon dropped from a balcony, discussions of sexual violence against women have broken open in dramatic fashion since the allegations against Jian Ghomeshi became public.

Ghomeshi himself broke the first wave of the story when he took to Facebook to decry the CBC’s decision to terminate him — he claimed — over his adventurous sexual activities with consenting adult women, including a “jilted ex-lover.”

Initially the public was sympathetic. His supporters denounced the CBC and pre-emptively disbelieved his anonymous accusers. Even noted feminists like Elizabeth May and Sheila Copps were quick to jump to his defence, echoing Pierre Trudeau’s words that Ghomeshi’s lawyers invoked to open his $55-million claim against the CBC: “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation.”

Later that day, the Toronto Star published allegations from three anonymous women about non-consensual, violent sexual behaviour. More came forward after that with two brave women going public. The room was suddenly smoky; Ghomeshi supporters fled.

The #beenrapedneverreported hashtag went viral. Women began telling their stories, many for the first time, of sexual assaults by “bad dates,” boyfriends, husbands, fathers, strangers, and friends. The statistic that only six to eight per cent of assaults are reported was suddenly made personal. There was wide-spread acknowledgement that sexual violence happens, all the time, to all kinds of women.

It became a self-evident truth that our society could do a better job of supporting and empowering victims, and encouraging reporting of sexual crimes.

Some of the stories being shared related to a form of sexual exploitation that is becoming commonplace in the digital age – revenge porn, or, more technically, the non-consensual sharing of digital sexual images.

We all know the story of #YouKnowHerName, the teenage girl from Nova Scotia who took her own life after digital images of her being sexually assaulted were shared online among her peers. We’ve heard about the hacking and sharing of celebrity nude photos, which Jennifer Lawrence rightly called a sex crime. We saw how the actress Emma Watson was threatened with a nude photo leak after delivering a stirring speech to the United Nations declaring herself a feminist and asking men to take up the cause.

The threats against Watson should put to rest any doubt that these crimes against women are not about titillation, but power, intimidation, and control.

Bill C-13, which has passed second reading in the Senate, will soon criminalize the non-consensual distribution of intimate images in Canada, thus recognizing the people in these photos are victims of sexual exploitation and violence. As the law adapts, we must acknowledge that members of the legal community are not immune to these crimes or the dangerous layers of judgment and victim-blaming that surround them.

This takes us to the Canadian Judicial Council’s inquiry into Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas. Douglas is (ostensibly) being investigated for failing to disclose in her application for judicial appointment the existence of photographs that depict her engaging in legal, consensual sex with her husband.

Prior to her application, without her knowledge or consent, her husband shared these photos online and used them to try to entice a client to have sex with her. The client complained. Her husband was fired. A settlement was reached in which all copies of the photos in the client’s possession were purportedly returned. The images were removed from the Internet. Douglas and her husband destroyed the photos in their possession. She must have thought it was over.

But it was not. After her appointment, the client resurfaced with the photos and complained to the CJC. The photos made their way back onto the Internet. Intimate images of Douglas that had been shared in a gross violation of trust were again available for consumption. The images were reposted by an American law blog that pre-empted complaints by saying that if the reader didn’t find it titillating to look at photos of a middle aged judge performing sex acts, well, don’t knock how other people get their “bliss.”

One can only conclude that Douglas is the victim in this story. Yet somehow, before the CJC, she is also the accused.

The CJC’s Committee of Inquiry is charged with considering:

(i) whether the facts related above should have been disclosed in Douglas’ application for judicial appointment; and,

(ii) whether the availability of the photos on the Internet is inherently contrary to the integrity of the judiciary and could undermine public confidence in the justice system.

Fundamentally, the CJC is asking whether Douglas’ failure to disclose that she was victimized by her husband and his client is relevant to her appointment; and whether engaging in consensual, lawful, kinky sex disqualifies her from the bench.

Put thus, the questions answer themselves.

Douglas sought an order that the photos be found inadmissible, and returned to her. Earlier this month, the committee released its decision, concluding notwithstanding the judge’s victimization, and the clear harm that further disclosure of the photos would inflict — her confidential medical information having been filed in support of the motion — it would “not be advisable not to view the photographs” because their “specific content” has a “relevant bearing” on whether Douglas is incapacitated or disabled from the due execution of her office.

The committee’s decision is premised on the flawed assumption that the content of the photos is somehow determinative of Douglas’ culpability, though it does not explain why it needs to know anything more than that the photos depict lawful, consensual sexual acts, and were disseminated without her consent. The committee’s mandate amounts to victim-blaming couched as legitimate judicial inquiry.

After drawing summary conclusions about the relevance of the images, the committee, relying on a commercial decision about the admissibility of wiretap evidence, held the public interest in a transparent process outweighs Douglas’ right to be protected against further violation.

The Committee ignored the medical and social science evidence filed by Douglas that attested to the specific harms caused by the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. The notion that there is any true “public interest” in the photos harkens back to the days when a woman’s body and sexuality were matters of community concern.

To the extent the committee is occupied with Douglas’ sexual practices, perhaps Ghomeshi’s lawyers could remind them that the acts in question occurred in her bedroom, where the state has no place.

Douglas is seeking judicial review. One hopes the next panel to adjudicate the case will be alive to the challenges faced by victims of sexual violence.

For what articling student will report an incident of sexual harassment or rape when a woman in a position of power is re-victimized for little more than being a victim of a sexual crime? Will judicial hopefuls be expected to disclose incidents of assault on their applications? Does every instance of non-missionary sex need to be disclosed, or only if there are photos?

Or this: if she had lived, would the images of her rape have meant that #YouKnowHerName would have been unfit for a career on the bench?

We ought to recognize that Douglas is the victim of a sexual crime. Her public re-victimization in the inquiry is wrong. It is time to rise to her defence and to demand better treatment for her and all victims of sexual violence.

Jasmine Akbarali is a partner in Lerners LLP’s appellate advocacy group. Gillian Hnatiw is a partner at Lerners LLP who regularly advocates for survivors of sexual violence.

Monday, November 17, 2014

"Lori Douglas, please leave taxpayers cannot afford you any longer!"

Good Day Readers:

What's required is a debt clock much like that used by the Canadian Taxpayer Federation for the wall of the Winnipeg courtroom where the Douglas Inquiry is being heard. At least the public could "amuse themselves" by watching its costs steadily mount as the lawyers "entertain themselves" with their esoteric, ad nauseum arguments.

The $2 million figure is grossly understated because it does not take into account other non-legal fees such as travel, meals, translation/transcription services, photocopying, etc., etc., etc. Plus let us not forget Lori Douglas has been sitting at home tending her tomato plants since August of 2012 while drawing her full salary (approaching $300 thousand annually) plus a benefits package that won't quit. And what about an Acting Associate Chief Justice (Family Division) appointed earlier this year to do the work Ms Douglas should be doing?

A business model for investigating alleged misconduct of federally appointed judges that could well take more than 5-years costing in excess of $5 million is not seriously broken? Think again!

And to Lori Douglas CyberSmokeBlog says, "Lady please simply go taxpayers cannot afford you any longer!

Clare L. Pieuk

Note: The legal fees stated in The Lawyers Weekly article are understated. Sarah Whitman is the third member of  the "Team Douglas" publicly financed defence team and has been from the get go appearing at all hearings held in Winnipeg. Nowhere are her billables accounted.

Inquiry's legal bills run into millions

Cristin Schmitz

Sheila Block

November 21, 2014 Edition

The publicly funded legal fees of a senior Manitoba judge facing misconduct allegations are approaching $2 million the Public accounts of Canada reveal.

Prominent Toronto litigator Sheila Block and Molly Reynolds of Torys LLP are vigorously defending Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench (Family Division) Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas at a formal Canadian Judicial Council Inquiry - were paid $630,191 from April 1 last year to March 31, discloses the report of the Receiver General of Canada tabled in Parliament on October 29.Their latest annual bill was in addition to $723,636 in fiscal 2013 and $191,691 in fiscal 2012 - a total of more than $1.5 million

That tally has already risen considerably this year, as the inquiry recently resumed operating after a 26-month hiatus while the Federal Court heard, and dismissed a bid by Justice Douglas to have it shut down for apprehension of bias. Block andy Reynolds are appealing that decision to the Federal Court of Appeal even as they defend the judge at the inquiry this month.

Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas faces several allegations - all of which she vigorously denies - including that sexually explicit photos of her that her late husband circulated on the internet so harmed her image as a judge that she should be removed from the bench.

The total cost of the CJC's inquiry and the related interlocutory court proceedings - which at one point had 15 lawyers on the record, many on the public dime - and soaring into the many millions.

Other senior counsel paid by the public treasury in fiscal 2014 included Paul Cavalluzzo of Toronto's Cavalluzzo Shilton who billed $303,616 to represent the CJC and, the inquiry's independent counsel Suzanne Cote of Osler, Hoskin &Harcourt who billed $293,786.

According to a CJC spokesperson, a 2014 public consultation on the judicial discipline process "widespread support" for the notion that "judges should not receive public funding to challenge and delay the "discipline process" through interlocatory proceedings. Reform in that respect are anticipated.

"Why you dirty little rat!"

Is God having financial issues?

Conrad Black selling part of Bridle Property for $7.2 million

Property listed as 24 Park Lane Circle severed from his estate at 26 Park Lane circle, where former media mogul lives with wife Barbara Amiel

Tony Wong/Staff Reporter
Sunday, November 16, 2014

Conrad Black has severed a chunk of his Park Lane Circle estate in the Bridle Path neighbourhood near Bayview and Lawrence. The parcel of land is on the market for $7.2 million.

Fancy having Conrad Black for a neighbour?
The former media mogul has quietly put a portion of his Bridle Path property in Toronto up for sale with an asking price of $7.2 million.
The 2.8-acre parcel in one of Canada’s most exclusive neighbourhoods is described in real estate marketing material as among the area’s “most coveted and admired plots of land” and “the ideal setting to build your dream estate.”
The property is listed as 24 Park Lane Circle. It was formerly part of Black’s existing estate at 26 Park Lane Circle.
Black, also known as Baron Black of Crossharbour due to a life peerage in the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, has one of the largest and arguably the best property in the area at just under 10 acres in size.
The land for sale has been severed from Black’s existing holdings. It does not include his grand Georgian-style home where he lives with his wife, journalist Barbara Amiel.
The land has traditionally been used as the servants’ entrance to get to Black’s estate, according to people familiar with the property.
The sale of the property represents the continued downsizing of the former newspaper publisher, who once owned opulent abodes in New York, Palm Beach and London, where he would fly by private jet to take up residence in each. While he has sold the majority of his private estates, the Bridle Path property where he has lived most of his life seemed to be off limits until now.

The average size of a Bridle Path lot is in the two-acre range, so Black’s remaining property — about 6.5 acres, even after the sale of the land — would still dwarf most of the lots in the Bridle Path and be among the most valuable in the country.
Paul Miklas, a Bridle Path resident and luxury home developer who is building three homes in the area, says he has looked at the property for interested clients.
“There is a lot of interest right now, particularly from Asians who want large lots, and this is one of the few places left in Toronto you can get that,” says Miklas.
Clients typically want to build dwellings ranging from 30,000 square feet and higher, he said.
Broker Barry Cohen would not comment on the listing when contacted by the Star. A call to the Park Lane home was answered by an assistant who said Black was out of town.
Luxury properties have been hot this year. Sotheby’s International Realty recently sold a French manor-style mansion for $14.2 million in the Bridle Path to a mainland Chinese buyer. It is a record for a property less than an acre in size.
Cohen also has currently listed the former four-acre home of developer (and former Bloomingdale’s owner) Robert Campeau for $25 million, which includes an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool.
But the $7.2-million price for Black’s piece of land is just the starting point. (It was originally listed at close to $8 million, but the price was dropped recently.)
The new owners will also likely have to add at least another $3 to $4 million to build a decent-sized house.
Black’s father, George Montegu Black, was one of the original residents of the neighbourhood. Since then, the list of residents has read like a global who’s who, from musical stars, including Prince and Gordon Lightfoot, to corporate luminaries with names such as Bata, Bassett, Menkes, Posluns and Weston.
Black now spends his time as a talk-show host on Vision TV, and as an author of history books. He recently released Rise to Greatness: The History of Canada from the Vikings to the Present.”
Black was stripped of his Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston earlier this year. Prior to that, he had spent three years in U.S. federal prison on fraud and obstruction of justice charges before being released in May 2012.
He returned to his mansion on the Bridle Path on a temporary resident permit after he publicly renounced his citizenship, leading Vanity Fair magazine to dub him “Canada’s most famous non-citizen.”
Black’s British colonial-style Florida mansion in Palm Beach (where he did the Vanity Fair interview) sold for the equivalent of $26 million in 2011. He had reportedly earlier sold his London townhouse in Kensington for more than $23.4 million.
Black was once one of the world’s most powerful and influential figures. By the late 1990s, he had more than 500 publications under his banner as he headed the world’s third-largest newspaper group and the largest print-only media operation.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Good news boys and girls ..... smoking pot can't make you stupid but watching those anti-pot Harper government ads sure will!

Tory anti-pot ad mocked and condemned by YouTube viewers

'Not a fan of pot, but this ad is just stupid a viewer writes as Health Canada ad get panned

Kady O'Malley
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Health Canada's latest anti-drug ad is being roundly mocked by YouTube users some who have referred to it as government propaganda. [YouTube/Healthy Canadians (Health Canada) channel]

If you go by the viewership numbers alone, the Conservative government's latest attempt to alert Canadian parents to the purported dangers of teen pot use is fast becoming a YouTube sensation.

The 30-second ad, which was posted to the video-sharing network last month as part of a multi-platform ad campaign, is currently on track to surpass 200,000 views.

Watch the video here:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014