Thursday, November 20, 2014

Nice try but no cigar for you!

Good Day Readers:

Sheila Block, Head of Team Lori Douglas' three-person publicly financed defence team, is attempting to get a Federal Court of Canada Judge to grant a stay so the photographs cannot be introduced to the Inquiry Panel when it re-convenes on Monday (November 24). This is the equivalent of throwing a desperate judicial Hail Mary pass late in a football game. It's highly unlikely to succeed.

In his public comments Judge Mosley is on the public record as being prepared to convene a hearing to consider the possibility of a permanent sealing order within a couple weeks - that's got to be some kind of judicial record for alacrity! The implication is clear. The Inquiry Committee should first be allowed to see the material which is the correct decision. To do otherwise would create a major headache for a judiciary already labouring under a seriously broken business model.

Rightly or wrongly, good or bad, for better or worse it would reinforce the already widely held public perception that the judiciary is of lawyers, by lawyers and for lawyers - judges judging judges; judges protecting judges to the exclusion to the layperson, taxpaying population.

Colleagues, Dinner and Organizational Behaviour 101

When Counselor Block makes the statement, "These are people she has dinner with. These are colleagues. The Harm is tremendous." -  it needs to be closely examined. Organizational Behaviour 101 dictates as soon as an employee of an organization is even suspected of being involved in a scandal most of their "colleagues" will immediately begin to avoid them like the plague. How many of Jian Ghomeshi's or Bill Cosby's former "colleagues" do you figure remain faithful to him and still get together regularly for dinner Ms Block? The harm has long since been done and in Lori Douglas' case sadly and tragically it's likely irreversible in the minds of many.

But one example. While Ms Douglas was Associate Chief Douglas the informal chatter within the legal community was she enjoyed a good working relationship with current Chief Justice Glenn Joyal. However, bear in mind he was the one who filed the complaint last year with the Canadian Judicial Council alleging she had misspent approximately $6,000 of expense money made available by The Office of the Commissioner for Judicial Affairs Canada under the terms of a Judicial Representative Allowance Program.While Independent Counsel tried to have this added to the Notice of Allegations the Inquiry Panel refused.

Why? One can only speculate. The CJC seems to place a huge premium on protecting the integrity of the system or as judges are often heard to say, "it's paramount." Could the Panel be of the mind there's enough under Allegation (3) [Alleged Incapacity as a Result of the Public Availability of the Photos] so why risk looking petty?

Finally, perhaps another misperception exists that should be addressed. You'll notice Sheila Block states, "There's no issue these are graphic pictures" Block said. "These are pictures of people having sex." When CyberSmokeBlog anonymously received electronic instructions for accessing the completely unredacted copies of the 30 or 33 photographs (can't recall the exact number) shortly after the story broke, its best recollection is of only one that depicted sex between a man and woman but because of the camera angle those involved could not be identified.

And no, CSB did not download them it merely wanted to satisfy itself this was no hoax. It was not!

Clare L. Pieuk
Block sex photos ahead of disciplinary hearings, Lori Douglas's lawyer asks court

Colin Perkel
Thursday, November 20, 2014

Manitoba Justice Lori Douglas faces removal from the bench over nude photographs of her posted without permission on the internet by her husband. (CBC)

A disciplinary committee does not need to see graphic sex photographs of a senior Manitoba judge to decide whether she should stay on the bench, her lawyer argued Thursday.

Allowing the committee to view the pictures of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, released on the Internet without her consent, would only serve to revictimize her, court heard.

"They're highly prejudicial. They're not necessary for the determination of this issue," lawyer Sheila Block told Federal Court.

"These are people she has dinner with. These are colleagues. The harm is tremendous."

The committee of the Canadian Judicial Council, supported by its independent counsel, has ruled it needs to view the photographs to decide whether they are "demeaning to women" and might warrant Douglas's removal from the bench.

Judge Richard Mosley said the court could hold a hearing on permanently blocking the photographs within two weeks, but Block said that wouldn't help.

An immediate interim stay is needed, she said, because the panel is slated to begin its hearings on Monday, and the pictures would be entered as evidence right away.

"Once the bell is rung, it's over," Block told Mosley.

'At the core of the allegations,' says panel

In a ruling last month, the panel said the photographs were relevant.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, to consider these allegations without a concrete first-hand appreciation of their nature and what they depict," the panel stated.

"Such characteristics are precisely at the core of the allegations which we are charged to investigate."
In court Thursday, the committee's independent counsel, Suzanne Cote, opposed the requested interim stay, saying the effect would be to put the entire proceedings on hold indefinitely given the importance of the photographs.

"The main dispute is about the effect of these pictures," Cote told Mosley.

The case speaks to the integrity of the justice system, Cote said, and the panel needs to view the images at the outset of their hearings to make informed findings.

Block heaped scorn on that notion. The nature of the images is already well known, she said.

"There's no issue these are graphic pictures," Block said. "These are pictures of people having sex."
The photographs, some of which depict bondage, were taken by Douglas's now-late husband Jack King before she became a judge.

Douglas 'totally a victim,' says lawyer

Without telling her, he sent them to a client and put them on the Internet. The client distributed them further in 2010, despite an agreement in 2003 with King to return or destroy them.

One of the allegations is that Douglas failed to disclose that the photographs were on the Internet when she applied to become a family court judge in 2004.

Block called it a classic case of "revenge porn" and said any judge could become a victim.

"Suppose the judge was raped and somebody put it on YouTube?" Block said. "(Douglas) is totally a victim. She is entitled to the sex that she chooses to have."

Douglas is now facing potential punishment, the lawyer said, because of something nasty her husband did.

"A woman is not owned by her husband," Block said.

Mosley, who at one point noted judges are routinely required to view sensitive material, said he would likely rule on the stay motion on Friday.


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