Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Douglas Inquiry Update:The lady in black!

Good Day Readers:

Over the years experience has taught CyberSmokeBlog three variables always determine the outcome of a court proceeding:

(1) Which team files the most paper

(2) Which speaks the loudest and longest

(3) Especially which has the nicest shoes

On that basis Team Independent Counsel won!

For both days lead Independent Counsel Suzanne Cote (black hair no makeup) came to court dressed from head to toe in black wearing 6" stiletto heels. As both sides dronned on ad nauseum in excruciating minutiae in a monotone in a courtroom with audio that could best be described as third world lousy, boys will be boys.

CyberSmokeBlog wondered why Mme Cote never accessorized with a bit of orange given Halloween is rapidly approaching. But what kept CSB in even more suspense was whether she'd list on her stilettos and fall on her derriere. It never happened - Rats!

Unlike many dour, sour lawyers Madame Cote possesses a delightful sense of humour able to break up the courtroom on several occasions even bring a laugh for the normally stoic sheila Block.

And while Suzanne Cote may be one sexy, little fox (All ladies are sexy little foxes!), above all she's an excellent courtroom counsellor.

The shoes always rule

It's hard to imagine the current Panel ruling the photographs inadmissible. Fancy this. The Inquiry moves forward and there you have the current Panel Members conversing with the past Committee, "Hey, did you see those photographs? What's all the furor about a Justice prancing about is a skimpy bikini?" The shoes always rule!

You blew it Manitoba Judicial Selection Committee!

Martin Freedman testified at the July 2012 Inquiry. He had been a Judge in Manitoba's Appeal Court but reached the mandatory 75 retirement age so returned to BigLaw private practice (Aikins Law - Winnipeg)

Recall how he held forth that he as Chair of the Manitoba Judicial Selection Committee was aware that "explicit" photographs of candidate Lori Douglas had circulated on the internet but no he hadn't seen them. Further, more than two years ago a confidential agreement had been reached whereby complainant Alex Chapman had returned all materials in his possession as part of a confidentiality agreement. Since then none of the images had reappeared thus the coast was clear to consider to consider the Douglas application. He so advised the MJSC. Critical. Although the Committee is empowered to call in a candidate it's rarely done and was not in this case.

Hark, a little Internet 101 for you Mr. Freedman

So you see Mr. Freedman once anything is posted on the internet potentially it lives on in perpetuity. Here's why. Even if it's there for say 5-minutes the world can download it. Capiche eh?

Perhaps a little example migh help. Shortly after the pictures appeared CyberSmokeBlog received an anonymous e-mail with a meaningless address - the prefix meant nothing but the sufix was an but a no return address. It went on to say activate the three links you will find and voila! The sender claimed they had not opened it, however, was this a hoax? We're not perverts but there was only one way to find out. We assure you, Sir, it was not - no redaction. See how easy it would have been. How many of these e-mails were distributed? How many downloads were there?

Besides, what assurances did you have that Alex Chapman had returned all the material in his possession or that he wouldn't do what he did? Had your Committee acted in an informed manner exercised due diligence) there would have been no need for a Douglas Inquiry. Capiche eh?

BTW, when some of the judges on the selection committee eventually saw the pictures and fell out of their chairs, CyberSmokeBlog trusts none landed on their heads'.

Oy vey ..... Arret! Arret! Arret! Mademoiselle Cote un tete a tete s'il vous plait

The moment those images were posted on the internet the Genie was out of the bottle, Twitter the cat was out of the bag - c'etait fait accompli - there's no getting them back they'll potentially live on in perpetuity. Will someone who's previously downloaded them try to re-post them anonymously? Could happen. This case has attracted international attention.

Recall the example from above wherein CSB anonymously received an unsolicited set of the photographs completely unredacted New York-based legal blog, consistently ranked at or near the top of most popular American legal blogs (over 1 million monthly visitors - the brainchild of Harvard trained lawyer Ellie Mystal) has already posted a set. Fortunately, ATL had the presence of mind to place small red maple leafs over the private parts.

The pictures and be legally sealed and sent to the moon but it's too late malheureusement.

The Fifty Shades of Grey Inquiry

The Douglas Inquiry has challenged the credibility of the Canadian Judicial Council like its never been challenged before on two levels. First, it taken it onto fresh ground, into unchartered waters and grey areas of jurisprudence. Second, how does the CJC counter the widely public perception by the great unwashed taxpaying masses (i.e. laypersons) that it's judges judging judges, judges protecting judges and its inquiries are by lawyers, of lawyers and of lawyers?

CyberSmokeBlog can't help you with that one but "The Fifty Shades of Grey Inquiry" has handed it a golden opportunity to re-shape the broken business model under which it's currently labouring. Failure to do so and it risks becoming even more irrelevant in the minds of Canadian taxpayers who are financing the Douglas Inquiry. More about that shortly in a future posting.

Clare L. Pieuk
Committee 'almost fell from their chairs' over judge's nude photos: lawyer

Arguments for holding formal inquiry into Lori Douglas's conduct

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The argument for holding a formal inquiry into the conduct of Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas began Tuesday with the Canadian Judicial Council's independent counsel, Suzanne Cote, saying the question is not whether Douglas can decide cases impartially "but whether the public believes she can."

Lori Douglas, celeb Jennifer Lawrence both nude photo victims: lawyer

Cote said some members of committee that reviewed Douglas's application to be a judge didn't know details of the nude photos, and "almost fell from their chairs" when their existence became public.

A preliminary hearing into whether a formal inquiry into Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas's conduct into its second day in Winnipeg. Douglas is not in  attendacce. (CBC).

Cote also said then Federal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler was "completely unaware" when Douglas was appointed there were sexually explicit photos of her online.

Cote said because judges judge citizens, they cannot be considered 'normal' citizens themselves.

Judges "are a place apart from their fellow citizens," Cote said. "It's an 'exceptionally burdensome standard of conduct.'"

'Panel must see nude photos'

Cote also addressed Douglas's lawyer's argument that the panel members should not see the photos at issue.

Cote argued the CJC panel members must see the Douglas photos, because the evidence is the photos themselves.

She said she would show them only to the panel members, not to witnesses and she promised to put a sealing order in place to protect Douglas's privacy.

"We cannot erase the facts," Cote said. "These pictures have been in the public domain. You need to see them."

The disciplinary panel struck by the Canadian Judicial Council is examining whether the photos undermine the justice system and whether Douglas failed to disclose their existence before she was appointed a judge in 2005.

Nude photos should be returned to judge: Block

Douglas's lawyer, Sheila Block, earlier Tuesday wrapped up her arguments against holding an inquiry into Douglas's conduct by saying the panel should not look at the photos in question and that they should be returned to Douglas.

Block told the preliminary hearing that the photos are 'disproportionately invasive' and send women the wrong message.

"What message do you send to generations of women judges we will get?" she said.

She said viewing the photos or admitting them as evidence is a violation of the judge's privacy and hurts an innocent victim.

Block said the images were not released with Douglas's consent and are not vital to the tribunal's work.

The photos were taken by Douglas's late husband, who posted them on a website, and showed them to a client to try to entice him to have sex with his wife. Douglas's husband, Jack King, has since passed away.

Chief Justice Francois Rolland told Block in response, "We don't know the facts. What we know is what you are telling us."

With files from The Canadian Press


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