Friday, August 24, 2012

It mattered not .....

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post, "You can call us stupid but ....."

You're absolutely right about this whole debacle being a huge waste of taxpayer money.

But do you not see that the Canadian Judicial Council's Review Panel by using Inquiry Counsel George Macintosh the way it did really blew it?

Of course, Sheila Block lead Counsel for Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas will see things as being biased. But when Independent Counsel Guy Pratte (An extremely experienced and highly regarded lawyer: read the CJC's new decision that says so!) suggests The Council was being biased, you need to sit up and take notice.

The Committee couldn't sit back to let the professionals do their jobs, it had to inject itself into the process with Mr. Macintosh. In doing so it revealed a bias and guess what? That means the whole thing could start again from the beginning and more dollars slip away.

You want to to rant about blowing taxpayer dollar? Sounds good you're right! But don't forget to point your finger at the three judges and two lawyers who couldn't run a simple Inquiry without having it crash into accusations of bias.

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. In your simplified analysis you have glossed over several more complex matters. In no particular order:

(1) Is a Review Panel within it's right to ask Inquiry Counsel to cross-examine a witness? Recall, earlier Mr. Macintosh had effectively crossed Senior Thompson Dorfman Sweatman Managing Partner Michael Sinclair regarding TDS's allegedly thorough internal investigation after it received Alex Chapman's complaint against then employee Jack King. At the time we do not remember ACJ Douglas' Counsel Sheila Block jumping to her feet to strenuously object to the use of George Macintosh either before he began or after

(2) Upon completion of Mr. Macintosh's examination of Michael Sinclair, during a break in the proceedings we questioned him as to why he and not the Committee had conducted the cross. He explained it was a matter of facilitation. Rather than have the Panel going back and forth, occasionally huddling as required, if there were 30-40 queries it was simply easier to have them focused on one individual. One would assume content would have been agreed upon beforehand

(3) What is the difference between what transpired at the Douglas Inquiry and a trial judge asking clarifying questions of a witness? Would it have made a difference had Committee Members cross-examined Messrs Sinclair and King directly? Same questions different source?

(4) What you may be seeing here is the continuing saga of the role of Independent Counsel requiring more and better definition. There were times as a layperson we wondered why certain questions had not been aaked? Had the examination been sufficiently thorough and aggressive? As a taxpayer who has no choice but to entrust its public interest in Mr. Pratte CyberSmokeBlog had doubts

(5) CSB's concern is even greater now that it learned Guy Pratte has filed an application with the Federal Court of Canada not only to strike from the record George's Macintosh's cross-examination of Messrs Sinclair and especially King, but he will attempt him prevent him from any further direct involvement in the process

Perhaps you were not there to watch Mr. Macintosh in action but our overriding impression was, "Why had these questions not been previously put to the witnesses?" He is an extremely effective, gifted courtroom lawyer and a class act too!

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk

Footnote

Since the meeting is open to the pubic we plan to attend with the following questions:

(i) When Guy Pratte appears before the Federal Court of Canada to have his application considered, who will represent the Inquiry or will it be ex parte meaning the other side will not be present. Will it be held in Winnipeg?

(2) Will Sheila Block's arguments before the FCC be held ex parte given the Inquiry Committee has already released the written reasons for its decision? In Winnipeg?

(3) If the Inquiry's final decision is unfavourable to Lori Douglas, her Counsel appeals to the FCC and is turned down, can application be made to The Supreme Court of Canada?

(4) Any questions you may have

   

University of Manitoba law students wonder why the personal life of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas has been splashed across the pages of national newspapers. And what does the Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into her conduct mean for their careers in the age of Facebook photos? Should any law student with a family secret give up on ever becoming a judge?

After a summer of watching an inquiry like none before, law students return to classes this fall with questions. Two University of Manitoba law professors will field those questions at a meeting open to the public. As time permits, questions will also be taken from other members of the audience.

When: Thursday, September 13 at noon

Where: Moot Court, Robson Hall, Fort Garry campus, University of Manitoba

Who: Professors David Asper and Karen Busby

"We'll try to explain some of the nuances of the accusations and the lines of questioning lawyers are pursuing at the inquiry," Busby said.

Asper is looking forward to hearing from students and faculty whether they think the inquiry is an appropriate way to resolve the issues that have arisen. "Did the Canadian Judicial Council do the right thing here? It's an indirect way of the public judging judges."

Women students may be particularly concerned about the fate of a Robson Hall graduate who is one of Manitoba's top women judges. "The inquiry has left us wondering whether female judges face greater scrutiny when it comes to their personal lives," said Elizabeth Mitchell of Robson Hall's student-run Feminist Legal Forum.

For more information, contact: Prof. Karen Busby, Director, Centre for Human Rights Research, 474-6155 or Elizabeth Mitchell This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , co-chair, Feminist Legal Forum.

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