Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rocco the legal rock star ..... "Rocco! Rocco! Rocco! ..."

Good Day Readers::

The following article appeared in the Saturday, March 29, 2014 issue of the Winnipeg Free Press without attribution. It's significant because last year Mr. Galati filed a motion in the Federal Court of Canada to try to force the Canadian Judicial Council to make public a letter Guy "The Cat" Pratte a high-profile Ottawa-Montreal lawyer wrote after he suddenly and abruptly resigned from the Douglas Inquiry as its Independent Counsel (August 2012) purportedly representing the public interest. The relevant passage has been highlighted below by CyberSmokeBlog.
"The Cat"

To date Mr. Pratte has been quite coy with the media only suggesting his letter of resignation was lengthy and critical of the Canadian Judicial Council's handling of the Douglas Inquiry. A quick check of the CJC's website shows there's no mention (at least yet) of the Federal Court's decision.

The decision will, of course, as some point appear on CanLII an internet-based service that reproduces court decisions, however, given the volume of rulings recorded every day, it chronically runs weeks behind. In the meantime, CyberSmokeBlog will canvass sources for a file number - anyone know it? Depending on the ruling's length it will either be reproduced in its entirety or the most relevant passages reprinted. One of the key questions is what time fuse did the Federal Court attach to the provision the CJC must go public with the Pratte letter. Remember, The Council has up until now steadfastly refused to do so.

Irony of ironies.

Just this week (March 26th) Canadian Judicial Council Executive Director/Senior Legal Counsel announced in a Press Release the CJC had set up an internet-based online system whereby the public could submit  recommendations related to its complaints procedures - Great idea Mr. Sabourin, problem is, you're only 60-years too late. This suggests The Council must be totally ....ed. Traditionally the legal system has avoided direct public input like the plague.
'Stormin' Norman Sabourin

The relase of the Pratte letter should prove to be a treasure trove for those wishing to make recommendations. Talk about impeccable timing!

And remember Manitoba when Rocco "The Rock Star" Galati returns to Winnipeg to defend complainant Alex Chapman at the Douglas Inquiry whenever it resumes (hopefully, this decade), please refrain from mobbing him. He's good he's very good but he's no Justin Bieber.

Sincerely,
Clare L. Pieuk
Disciplinary hearings on Douglas flap OK, should continue

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Federal Court has ruled a disciplinary hearing into the conduct of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Lori Douglas was not biased and ought not to be suspended.

The ruling, released Friday, is the latest procedural twist in the confusing case of the judge accused of sexual harassment after her husband, lawyer Jack King, took and distributed nude photos of her and tried to arrange a tryst with his client, Alex Chapman.

The Federal Court's ruling is, to some degree, moot, because the Canadian Judicial Council's disciplinary panel has already resigned.

The panel stepped down shortly before the Federal Court was slated to delve into accusations lodged by Douglas that the CJC panel was biased against her.

Douglas argued the CJC's panel was biased because it allowed improper and adversarial cross-examination of King, which revealed private details about their sex life. That occurred back in the summer of 2012 when the committee first convened in Winnipeg for the start of the high-profile hearing.

Because the disciplinary panel resigned, much of the bias issue was set aside in Federal Court.

In Friday's decision, the Federal Court did side with Douglas on one key matter - the release of what's believed to be a damning letter of resignation penned by the CJC's former independent counsel. The letter, which has been sealed, is believed to be highly critical of the CJC's process and the panel. The CJC argued the letter ought to remain confidential under solicitor-client privilege, but the court ruled no such privilege exists and ordered the letter released.

The CJC recently created a new disciplinary panel, but it's not yet clear whether it will now begin hearings anew or whether either side will appeal the Federal Court's ruling.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 29, 2014 A14.

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