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Chapman to learn standing in judicial sex-scandal hearing Tuesday

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The man accusing Justice Lori Douglas of sexual harassment will learn Tuesday if he can have a lawyer at a hearing looking into her status as a judge.

Alberta Chief Justice Catherine Fraser said today the panel of the Canadian Judicial Council looking into Douglas' alleged conduct will also announce in its decision whether Alex Chapman will be allowed to have the lawyer paid for by the federal government.

Earlier today, Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati argued Chapman should be allowed to have his own lawyer at the hearing instead of relying on the council's independent counsel.

"I'm not impugning the role of the independent counsel, but it doesn't work where you have a complainant and judge saying each is lying," Galati said.

"If he doesn't get standing then... who out there would ever get standing?"

The inquiry committee will determine whether Douglas, who is the associate chief justice of the family division of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, has a future as a judge.

Douglas has been on leave since 2010.

The allegations being examined by the Canadian Judicial Council include that Douglas failed to disclose all relevant information when she was being considered for the bench, that she and her husband -- lawyer Jack King -- sexually harassed one of his clients, pressuring the client to have sex with her, and that she can no longer function as a judge because of the public availability of the nude photos.

In 2010, Alex Chapman went public with allegations he was paid $25,000 to keep quiet about images he was sent of Douglas, and requests for him to engage in sexual activity with her. The incidents were alleged to have happened while King was representing Chapman in a divorce trial in 2003.

In a recent filing with the Canadian Judicial Council, Douglas denied the allegations, stating she was victimized by her husband's actions, that she had no dealings with Chapman, and that the entire Manitoba legal community was aware of the sordid affair before she was appointed to the bench.

In a decision released Sunday, the inquiry committee said discs containing nude photos of Justice Lori Douglas and other women will be considered as a separate complaint against the judge.

The inquiry committee said while accepting the discs, their contents will not be made public until the judges on the committee have had a chance to review the photos and decide whether they should be released.

Douglas had objected to the inclusion of the discs in the process.

The committee said the discs are relevant to three of the four allegations against Douglas. The complete ruling is available online.


Updated on Monday, June 25, 2012 at 3:18 PM CDT: Corrects lawyer's name.

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