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Manitoba judge Umpherville gone from the bench

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Patti-Anne Umpherville is no longer a sitting judge of Manitoba's provincial court and her seat has been filled by a recent judicial appointment, legal sources confirmed to the Free Press Thursday.

Umpherville stepped aside from the bench last winter to take what a source termed was a "personal medical leave."

The confirmation of her departure ends weeks of quiet speculation in Manitoba's tight-knit legal community about where she's been and when she might return to work.

"It's really unusual," said one source who requested anonymity. "She was on leave, on leave, on leave and nobody knew what's up."

The province announced Umpherville's appointment to the court on Sept. 18, 2007.

A graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in 1997, Umpherville initially worked as a defence lawyer before becoming a domestic-violence focused prosecutor for Manitoba Justice.

Hailing from the Onion Lake Reserve in Saskatchewan, Umpherville — who is of Cree descent — was the second female aboriginal judge to be appointed to the provincial court bench.

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