Monday, July 30, 2012

You can call us stupid but .....

Good Day Readers

A little while ago we wondered how the Canadian Judicial Council would handle a single complaint that named multiple Justices for the same case or several different complainants against the same Justice. Remember in our continuing series, The Delichte File! (Karyn L. Delichte versus Brendan N. Rogers FD04-01-73022) we stumbled upon while researching Jack King in the Manitoba Queen's Bench online File Registry?

The action began in March of 2004 and continues to the present 394 filings later. When we carefully analyzed the Disposition Sheet we counted 14 different Justices and 5 Masters had touched this case at one time or another. By natural extension this brought us to, "Is anything falling through the cracks? Is there consistency/continuity of decision making given it has passed through so may judicial hands?

Single mothers on CyberSmokeBlog's advisory team fighting custody cases tell us this is not unusual at all. Find yourself in Family Division with a child custody related matter and the odds are you'll likely be there for years.

The issue of one complainant (a single parent mother) filing a complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council against three different Justices who have made rulings in her ongoing 12-year child custody case has happened. While we're certainly not soothsayers, we may have called this one accurately.

The aforementioned single parent mother embroiled in a lengthy child custody battle sent us an electronic copy of her complaint naming 3 different Justices who have been involved with her file at one time or another. We have an e-mail into Norman Sabourin, Executive Director and Senior General Counsel for the CJC and are awaiting his reply which we'll certainly post once received.

Our question is about the "publishability" of such a document. The Law Society of Manitoba, the province's most powerful trade union, operates under The Legal Profession Act. Get this, if a complaint is lodged against one of it's members they cannot be identified until after the matter has been dealt with before a Disciplinary Panel. The penalty? Section 79(1) of TLPA provides for a fine of $2,000 and/or a jail term of up to 6 months.Compare that with someone accused of fraud, for example, and their name can be splashed all over the newspapers. Talk about protecting their own!

The first comments you'll read below are from Vancouver-based Chris Budgell. With no formal legal training, a few years ago he won an important labour relations case before The British Columbia Superior Court and has filed two complaints with the Canadian Judicial Council over the issue of Judges with conflicts of interest not recusing themselves from handling his case. Get a document he's filed with the court and you'd think it was prepared by a veteran lawyer.

VJH (Veritas Justia Honoris) is another one of our excellent advisers - his analysis and writing are top drawer. Stop asking us who he is Readers because we honestly don't know other than he works and lives somewhere in Manitoba.

Follow our comments in blue.

Clare L. Pieuk

Re: Why not?
Chris Budgell []
Sent: Wed 7/25//2012 8:28 PM

I'm being kept rather busy by my employer at the moment, so not enough online time, however a couple of comments:

I agree that anything like a class action is very unlikely to accomplish anything. I recall something of that sort that got quite a bit of attention (briefly) back around 2008. Some political organization filed a complaint against the Queen Herself, Beverley McLachlin (Chief Justice of Canada), over the granting of some award (Order of Canada?) to Henry Morgentaler. The effort got panned by the press.

As for the show, I noticed in one of Blatchford's (Christie Blatchford, National Post's crime/legal affairs reporter) recent columns a comment that when Histed was before the Law Society on some disciplinary matter he was facing two or more of TDS's lawyers (benchers?).

Here's our understanding of the situation. The Law Society of Manitoba tried to discipline Ian Histed for his actions related to the Douglas-King-Chapman "sexcapade" so he appealed it's decision to the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Apparently on the LSM's Disciplinary Panel there were a couple Thompson Dorfman Sweatmen lawyers plus, get this, William Gange who negotiated the $25,000 confidentiality agreement on behalf of Jack King with Mr. Histed - we thought we heard correctly. If accurate, isn't that unbelievable!

It was at that time the Appeal Court order the file sealed - photographs, e-mail, etc. Was the Appeals Court complicit in so doing? We think so! Did it aide and abet a cover?

I'm curious to see what the inquiry learns about how Douglas actually ended up getting appointed.TDS got rid of King immediately, but as long as Douglas remained there, in a sense so did King. My guess is that TDS, regardless of any sympathy for Douglas, would have been more comfortable if she left. And she did. On her third try she got an appointment. Who was involved in shepherding her application through the process? What were her qualifications that put her ahead of other applicants? How many other applications were reviewed? What were the qualifications of the other applicants? Etc.

For a good explanation read the article we posted the other day (Friday, July 28), Our top 10 screw ups by The Judicial Appointments Committee! It f....d up majorly.


On Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:45 PM, VJ H;; wrote:

Hi Clare (and other assorted receiptients),

I do apologize, with it being summer and the wife having a hundred things on my "honey-do" list, I'm spread rather thin.

Those "honey-do" lists" can be killers.

I have been following the thread of your recent conversations, and at this stage, I must admit, I'm stumped.

It would seem from various accounts that there are significant issues with family courts all over the world, especially in "western" societies. I have heard of "parental alienation" and understand that it is a phrase bandied about in the Manitoba Courts much as it is in the States. I'm not at all surprised to hear that Jack King is an "expert" on this, considering his other habits, and would have serious concerns about his involvement in any cases involving children.

Yes, family courts are in a crisis everywhere and Manitoba is no different. The single parent mothers who advise us on this matter tell us they're totally f....d - our words not theirs they're much more refined and classy than us.

With regard to filing a class action with the CJC - each complaint is considered to be independent - and we must remember, that the CJC only hears complaints about the conduct of a Justice - not his/her decisions. Sadly recourse for decisions is the appeal process. However, repeated appeals of a particular Justice can result in an internal review by the Provincial Chief Judge - but decisions are not normally part of the CJC process. Unless you can show that the decisions are founded in personal beliefs - and not law - then and only then can a decision be used within a complaint.

If any complaints are filed against Lori Douglas with the CJC, our guess is the complainant(s) will attempt to argue her "unorthodox lifestyle choice" negatively impacted decisions she made against mothers during custody cases.

Simply not being happy with the outcome of a case is not sufficient to file a complaint. You have to be able to show that behaviour by the Justice was inappropriate - as with Dewar earlier this year.

So, while filing a class action complaint would bog down the CJC and certainly bring media attention - the problem is not necessarily an individual Justice, it is the system as a whole. The application process, vetting, selection, etc. All of which are dependent upon the views of the public - which never seem to be solicited.

Agree, the system is totally f....d. The public is only solicited when it comes time to pay the bills such as for the Douglas Inquiry. Then we become important in our role as taxpayers prior to that it doesn't give an effin shitte about us. Try to get intervener standing at a CJC "Public" Inquiry. Good bloody luck!

I continue to watch the Douglas affair - but fear the sensationalism of the sexual nature will overshadow the facts that Douglas was inconsistent/inaccurate within the process.

If the Inquiry Committee cannot see that it should pack up now and go home to save taxpayers money!

I don`t know if this has been of assistance or not, but I do find this intriguing.

The entire process is better than an expensive D-Grade sideshow.



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