Friday, November 20, 2015

Why the Canadian Judicial Council has a serious credibility issue!

Good Day Readers:

The other day the CJC released its findings into the alleged misconduct of Quebec federally appointed Judge Michel Girouard who while a lawyer stands accused of buying cocaine from a video store owner and convicted drug dealer.

But first the players.
This shinny face belongs to Independent Counsel Marie Cossette from Montreal BigLaw Lavery Lawyers. Lots of experience with public inquiries most notably the now concluded Charbonneau Commission that investigated corruption in La Belle Province. Mon Dieu there's corruption there?

 Judge Michel "Don't Call Me Mr." Girouard (Soon to be ex?) with a penchant for renting videos.

The Honourable Richard J. F. Chartier Chief Justice of Manitoba's Court of Appeal and only member of the panel who wrote a dissenting decision CyberSmokeBlog found to be beyond comprehensible in its naivete. But more about that later.. "J. F." gave every possible benefit of the doubt and far beyond to "Mr. Giouard." At one point in the proceedings he even sternly corrected "Shinny Face" Cossette for referring to Justice Girouard as "Mr. Girouard."

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/quebec-judge-says-video-of-him-in-alleged-drug-deal-was-really-just-a-meeting-between-lawyer-and-client

"Mr." Girouard, "Mr." Girouard, "Mr." Girouard. Jezus that felt good!

Panel Member Federal Court of Canada Chief Judge Paul Crampton.
Finally, panel member Ronald LeBlanc.
Appointed a New Brunswick Provincial Judge in 2002. Prior to that he was Crown prosecutor. Has practiced law for over 35-years.

These are the folks who have spent millions of public dollars (God knows how many?) investigating Mr.(sorry Justice) Girouard. After reading the Judicial Council's report the title of Justice sticks in CyberSmokeBlog's craw.

But this may be far from over. Michel Girouard's expensive taxpayer financed two person legal team could conceivably decide to ask the Supreme Court of Canada for a judicial review of the case and you know what that means  .....eh? More serious
The very troubling decision of Richard Chartier

If you click below there you will find the 52 page report submitted by the panel dated November 18, 2015.

Report

CyberSmokeBlog directs you to Chapter VIII (Chief Justice Chartier's dissenting opinion on the analysis of Justice Giroud's testimony) at page 46 - it's truly remarkable for the wrong reasons.

CyberSmokeBlog's Analysis
Here's a sampling of why CSB found Richard Chartier's decision so incredible in light of the information presented to the panel investigating Justice Girouard's "alleged misconduct." 

[248] at page 46: "..... that the object which Mr Lamontagne slipped to Me Girouard was cocaine. According to these two witnesses, they exchanged a note regarding either movie rentals or Mr Lamontagne’s tax matter ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: Oh really? Now readers, does this look like a run-of-the-mill everyday transaction between Michel Girouard and now convicted drug trafficker Yvon Lamontagne over movie rentals or a tax matter? Everything above board and by the book? Don't think so. They sure have a strange way of conducting business!

[248] at page 46: "..... Of course, there was the video recording. Unfortunately this recording had no sound track. The Absence of a sound track greatly hampered their expat recollection of the exchange ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: Huh?
Mark Twain: "What? your actions are speaking so loudly I can't hear you!"

[249] at page 47: "..... in my opinion, such inaccuracies, when considered separately or as a whole, do not give rise to any concrete doubt about the credibility of Justice Girouard's testimony ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: Giving the accused such overwhelming benefit of the doubt would result in few convictions in courts of law.

[250 at page 47]: "..... In his letter of January 2013 to the Executive Director of the Council (i.e. Norman Sabourin), Justice Girouard wrote that he purchased movies directly from Mr. Lamontagne because he did not want adult movies to appear on his customer file ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: Wonder if Richard Chartrand is aware of the Douglas Inquiry? Presumably, federally appointed Judges and Judges need to watch porno too.

[252 at page 47]: "..... Justice Girouard gave two reasons why he slipped money under the desk pad: the first so that it would not be obvious he was giving money to a trafficker; and second, that he was acting out of habit ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: Surely to God this should have raised a huge, huge red flag for Chief Justice Chartier. Is this the usual way a lawyer and client transact? What's wrong with this picture?

[254 at page 48]: "..... Justice Girouard stated that the note contained two pieces of information: the amount to settle the tax matter and the name of the lender ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: Believe in the tooth fairy ..... eh?

[257 at page 48]: "..... Justice Girouard testified that Mr. Doray's summary (Raymond Doray appointed by the Council to make further confidential inquiries) which was provided to his (Michel Girouard's) counsel (Gerald Tremblay), indicated that Mr. Lamontagne had written on the note, among other things, a message saying (translation) "I'm (Yvon Lamontagne) under surveillance, I'm (Yvon Lamontagne) being bugged." Justice Girouard stated before the Committee that Mr. Doray must have misunderstood him, and that he told him (Mr. Doray) instead, it was Mr. Lamontagne's behaviour which lead him (Michel Girouard) to believe that the latter (Yvon Lamontagne) was under surveillance ....."

CyberSmokeBlog: It matters not. Both parties in this transaction to say the least were behaving in a highly, highly suspicious manner. This is not the usual way lawyers and clients transact. A benefit of the doubt that is not warranted.

[260 at page 49]: ".....Finally, my colleagues find it difficult to believe that Justice Girouard read the first draft of the summary dated May 6, 2013, but that he did not read the August 13, 2013 version. I must admit that I also find it hard to believe this part of his testimony. In my view, Justice Girouard’s explanation on this issue was weak and ambiguous. However, it is plausible that Justice Girouard, as a result of being exhausted and discouraged after finding out that the conduct review process would go forward [168], did not immediately read Me Doray’s summary of their meeting. [261] The fact that Justice Girouard did not read the note: The final suspicious element raised

CyberSmokeBlog: If you found it difficult to believe Michel Girouard did not read the revised version of Mr. Doray's summary and his explanation to be weak and ambiguous then why did you yet again give him the benefit of the doubt?

[261 at page 49]: In my view, a negative inference should not be drawn from the fact that the two men do not recall what they talked about five (5) years ago.

CyberSmokeBlog: Even with a highly, highly suspicious video to refresh their memories?

[262 at page 49]: "I wish to make it very clear that what I saw on the video recording of September 17 seems shady to me. Even Justice Girouard acknowledged it in his testimony: what is shown on the video looks [translation) “suspicious.” ..... "I cannot conclude that his explanations are false. The fact remains that the independent counsel was unable to provide the Committee with clear and conclusive evidence regarding the object that was exchanged and, therefore, the true nature of the transaction that was recorded on video. Although it is true that there are some inaccuracies in Justice Girouard’s testimony, it is important to make a distinction between a version of the facts that is disbelieved and one that is deliberately fabricated. As the Court of Appeal of Quebec stated in Bureautique Nouvelle-Beauce inc. versus. Compagnie d’assurance Guardian du Canada (translation) […] what is untrue is not necessarily deceitful.”

CyberSmokeBlog: Case law notwithstanding, many would call "the transaction" both untrue and deceitful.

Conclusion

CSB could go on and on and on ..... but you can read the full report for yourselves. It's time now for you who will pay for this investigation to indicate what you saw. A normal transaction between a lawyer and his client or something much, much more sinister? Should Michel Girouard be allowed to remain on the bench?

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