Tuesday, May 01, 2012

How say you?

Good Day Readers:

You may recall our Sunday, April 29, 2012 posting, Whatever happened to .....? in which we hinted an announcement would be forthcoming shortly about the Douglas Public Inquiry. Well, here it is.

The genesis of our involvement goes back to last summer shortly after the Council issued a public statement a 5-Panel Committee of Judges and Prosecutor had been named. We then contacted the Prosecutor to ask whether intervenors would be permitted. Initially, we were advised no decision had yet been made.

Fast forward to a few months ago when we received an e-mail from Counsel to the Inquiry asking CyberSmokeBlog to justify why it should be granted standing. The record of that correspondence follows (italics).

Assuming we're granted standing here's what we'd like from you. Please send us your questions/comments you'd like presented. Anything that's fair, balanced and appropriate will be included in CSB's presentation. Should you choose to do so, clearly indicate in your e-mail (pieuk@shaw.ca) whether you'd like to be identified by name or simply as, "A CyberSmokeBlog Reader."

Note: The CJC announcement is also available in French.

Clare L. Pieuk
Dear Mr. Macintosh:

Thank you for your reply.

Since the Canadian Judicial Council at time of writing has yet to issue a notice advising the Douglas Public Inquiry will begin proceedings in Winnipeg on Saturday, May 19, CyberSmokeBlog will refrain from divulging this information until the CJC has issued its formal statement.

CSB does not anticipate making any further submission(s) regarding it’s application to intervene until the aforementioned announcement has been released. We fully anticipate appearing at the May 19 hearing to make an oral submission regarding our request.

Clare L. Pieuk

From: George Macintosh [mailto:gmacintosh@farris.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 7:07 PM
To: 'Clare Pieuk'
Subject: Re: Intervenor Status - Douglas Inquiry

Mr. Pieuk,

You will likely be receiving a notice from the Canadian Judicial Council (a copy of a public notice) advising that the hearings in the Inquiry regarding Associate Chief Justice Douglas will begin in Winnipeg, at a location to be announced, at 10:00 a.m. on May 19.

You have from now until May 9 to make any further submissions in writing you wish to make regarding your application to intervene.

You also have the right to appear at the May 19 hearing to make oral submissions on whether you can intervene.

George K. Macintosh, Q.C.
Counsel to the Inquiry Committee

Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP
Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP
25th Floor, 700 W Georgia St
Vancouver, BC V7Y 1B3
Tel  604 661 9332 (Direct)
Tel  604 684 9151 (General)
Fax 604 661 9349

From: Clare Pieuk [mailto:pieuk@shaw.ca]
Sent: April 12, 2012 11:34 AM
To: George Macintosh
Subject: Intervenor Status - Douglas Inquiry

Mr. George K. MacIntosh, Q.C.
Farris, Vaughan, Willis & Murphy LLP
25th Floor, 700 W George Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V7Y 1B3

Re: Canadian Judicial Council Public Inquiry Regarding Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas – File Number 320305/00001

Dear Mr. MacIntosh:

This is in response to an e-mail received from Ms Kirsten Crain dated March 26, 2012 in response to my request on behalf of CyberSmokeBlog for intervenor status at the aforementioned Inquiry. It suggested I contact you in your capacity as Counsel for the Inquiry Committee setting forth what I was seeking and the reasons I feel the request should be granted.

To expedite and facilitate the matter I offer the following comments/suggestions/recommendations:

 (1) To address the two issues Ms Crain raised, as a member of the media I am seeking an Inquiry that is open, fair, balanced, thorough and complete. Canada has an open court system, therefore, is there a compelling reason(s) for deviating from this principle? Given no date, location, and more importantly, the Inquiry’s mandate/terms of reference have been announced (complaint filed July 2010) it is impossible to be more specific

Additional Public Inquiry Considerations

(2) Winnipeg lawyer Anthony King, Associate Justice Douglas’ husband, through counsel before a Law Society of Manitoba disciplinary hearing claimed Ms Douglas at no time prior to his act was made aware of his involvement posting her nude photographs to a website. Since he pled guilty (3-counts professional misconduct, March 2011) his assertion has never been examined or challenged under oath

(3) Likewise, Justice Douglas has not been examined under oath in the matter of (2) above and whether there was full disclosure on her part prior to accepting a judgeship

(4) Were the actions of the Manitoba Court of Appeal sealing all e-mail, photographs and the confidentiality agreement (calling for payment of $25,000 to complainant Alex Chapman) negotiated by his solicitor (Ian Histed) and a lawyer representing Mr. King appropriate? This was in response to Mr. Histed’s appeal of an earlier Law Society ruling

(5) Did The Law Society act appropriately when it alleges it first became aware of Mr. King’s actions and later at his disciplinary hearing?

(6) Sadly, the 30-compromising pictures now on the internet are there forever. New York-based Above the Law boasting a following of well over half a million monthly visitors has already displayed the photographs in spite of a Canadian publication ban. Fortunately, it had the presence of mind to cover the offending private parts with red maple leafs

(7) Several months ago CyberSmokeBlog received a copy of an anonymous e-mail from a fellow blogger which contained instructions for viewing the photographs. It was not a hoax – all pictures were unredacted. Over time, how many others have received same? If the Justice is returned to the Bench will defence lawyers on behalf of clients continually request she self-recuse?

Although no decision has yet been made, CyberSmokBlog is reviewing whether a copy of this letter should be posted on its site. Any comments you may wish to make are appreciated.

Clare L. Pieuk

Media Citizen Journalist
Blog Master


Canadian Judicial Council announces date for initial hearing regarding the Honourable Lori Douglas

Ottawa, 1 May 2012 – The Inquiry Committee constituted to review the conduct of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench will hold an initial hearing on Saturday, 19 May 2012 at 9:00 a.m. The hearing will be held at the Federal Court in Winnipeg, 363 Broadway Avenue, 4th Floor, courtroom #1. Proceedings of the Committee are open to members of the public. Space is limited

The hearing on 19 May will address procedural matters. The issues which the Committee intends to address at the hearing of 19 May are: Applications for standing, including applications to intervene, and appointment of counsel. Any further written submissions on the above topics must be received on or before 15 May 2012. Written submissions must be sent to the Canadian Judicial Council, by email: info@cjc-ccm.gc.ca

Or by mail:
Canadian Judicial Council
Ottawa ON
K1A 0W8

The Committee will also consider oral submissions regarding venue for hearings and any other preliminary applications.

Information about the Council, including the process for public inquiries, can be found on the Council's website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.
Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 313

Background Information - Complaints and Inquiries
When someone believes that a judge's personal conduct (on or off the bench) is in question, a complaint can be made to the Canadian Judicial Council. When a complaint about a judge is found to have some merit, the question before the Council is ultimately whether or not the conduct in question prevents that judge from continuing to discharge his or her duties. The reasons for removal are set out in the Judges Act and address cases where a judge has become incapacitated or disabled from performing their duties by reason of age or infirmity, misconduct, a failure to execute the duties of the position, or being in a position incompatible with the functions of a judge.

All complaints received by the Canadian Judicial Council are reviewed in accordance with Council's Complaints Procedures and, as applicable, the Inquiries and Investigations By-laws.

A complaint is first reviewed by a member of the Judicial Conduct Committee. The judge in question, as well as the judge's chief justice, may be asked to comment the allegations. If the complaint cannot be resolved at that stage, the file can be referred to a Panel of up to five judges for further review. After considering the issues, a Panel can close the file. In some cases, remedial measures can be pursued. The Panel can express concern about the judge's conduct when warranted.
After reviewing the matter and conducting various enquiries, a Panel can also decide that the complaint may be serious enough to warrant a judge's removal. In that case, an Inquiry Committee is constituted to formally investigate the matter. The Committee is deemed to be a Superior Court.

An Inquiry Committee consists of an uneven number of members, the majority of which are Council members. The Minister of Justice can also appoint lawyers with a minimum of ten years experience. An "Independent Counsel" is appointed to present the facts to the Committee. Proceedings take place in public, unless the Inquiry Committee determines that the public interest requires that all or part of a hearing be conducted in private.

After completing its investigation, the Inquiry Committee reports its findings to Council. While Council accords considerable deference to the Inquiry Committee, it will then report its own recommendations to the Minister of Justice.

In accordance with the provisions of Canada's Constitution, a judge may only be removed from office after a joint address by Parliament. Details about past inquiries can be found on the Council's website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.


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