Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our top 10 screw ups by the Judicial Appointments Committee!

Manitoba Court of Appeal Judge Martin Freedman prior to testifying at the Douglas Inquiry on Friday. (Photograph: Wayne Glowacki/Winnipeg Free Press)

Good Day Readers:

As we sat listening to the testimony of Judge Freedman we were incredulous at how sloppy the vetting of Lori Douglas' application had been prior to her appointment as a Queen's Bench Justice in 2005. Like most situations in life, one is left to wonder is this merely the tip of a judicial iceberg? Have there been other Justices appointed who shouldn't have been? What changes have been made to the process, if any, or is it still as flawed as it was prior to Ms Douglas' selection?

We'll never know because the only reason we're getting this unique, behind-the-scenes look at the process is due to the Douglas Inquiry. Before it began how many of you knew the procedure by which a Manitoba Justice is appointed - be honest? As a layperson we'd venture to say very, very few. Even lawyers with whom we've spoken didn't know.

And here's another one for you. Tim Killeen was recently named as a Manitoba Provincial Judge. How does that process differ from what we're seeing in Queen's Bench? Don't know do you ..... well do you?

The lack of internet savvy displayed by Judge Freedman and former Queen's Bench Chief Justice Marc Monnin, now a colleague of Judge Freedman in the appellant court, is nothing short of head scratching.

Your 15-year old son or daughter knows once a photograph or image is posted on the internet it's potentially there forever because it can be easily downloaded and copied by anyone, anywhere, any time. So even if it has been deleted from the site of origin, in this case Dark Cavern, it lives on. Like radioactive material with its half lives, how long does it take before it's rendered completely inert?

Here are CyberSmokeBlog's favourite statements made by Judge Freedman and later by now retired lawyer Margaret-Rose Jamieson who at the time of the Douglas appointment was Executive Director of Appointments to the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada. The OCFJAC serves as a clearing house in that all information on a candidate passes through it on the way to the Federal Minister of Justice's Office. While Judge Freedman Chaired the Judicial Appointments Committee Ms Jamieson also served as a Member.

Drum roll please .....

Our Top 10 Screw Ups By The Judicial Appointments Committee Based On Testimony At The Douglas Inquiry

10. The OCFJAC is empowered to interview judicial applicants via the Judicial Appointments Committee. Lori Douglas was never interviewed.

9. The JAC is totally dependent on candidates to fully disclose any impediment(s) that may exist to their appointment as set out in Section 12 of the Guide to Applicants.

8. In the 4-years Appeals Court Judge Martin Freedman Chaired Manitoba's Judicial Appointments Committee 73 applicants were considered. None were interviewed.

7. The Executive Director of Appointments at the time (Margaret-Rose Jamieson - OCFJAC) was not empowered to insert her comments in the final JAC information package on a prospective candidate that was sent to the Federal Minister of Justice's Office nor was she allowed to have any further discussion/input regarding the matter.

6. Going into the selection process, Judge Martin Freedman had heard rumours Jack King had tried to solicit  a client to have sex with Lori Douglas, nude pictures had been placed on the internet but the matter had been resolved.

5. Former Queen's Bench Chief Justice Marc Monnin, now a colleague of Martin Freedman on the Manitoba Court of Appeal, told Judge Freedman although he was initially concerned the pictures had not surfaced for a couple years.

4. Judge Freedman did not know the reason Jack King had been terminated from Thompson Dorfman Sweatman.

3. Judge Freedman had no recollection of any judges with whom he consulted expressing concern about the pictures.

2. After a judicial appoint is confirmed all notes of Judicial Appointments Committee meetings are shredded. So too were those of Margaret-Rose Jamieson including her computer files. This "rule" was followed in the Lori Douglas case. At the time Margaret-Rose Jamieson spoke on the telephone with Ms Douglas she wrote a note to file. That also was shredded.

And number 1. .....

Marc Monnin told Martin Freedman the pictures had been completely removed from the internet and he believed him!

Here are some other "candidates" that did not make our Top 10 List

11. Then Federal Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler could have asked the Judicial Appointments Committee for more due diligence on the Douglas file but didn't. Why not? (Sheila Block)

12. The pictures were considered as an impediment but not an obstacle by the JAC resulting in a rating of "Recommended" rather than "Highly Recommended."

13. Martin Freedman believed Lori Douglas was a completely innocent victim.

14. Judge Freedman was never shown the pictures only informed they were sexually explicit.

15. No thought was given to deferring the appointment of Lori Douglas so more due diligence could be undertaken. Why? It had been done in the past.

16. There was no extensive discussion of the photographs within the Judicial Appointments Committee. Why?

17. No one on the JAC specifically asked/challenged the notion it was possible to permanently remove the photographs from the internet. Why?

18. No candidate interviews were undertaken from 2003-2009 while Margaret-Rose Jamieson was Executive Director for Appointments at the OCFJAC. Why?

Clare L. Pieuk


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