Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hearing on judge's future resumes today

Justice could be in hot water over disc, inquiry rules

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The computer discs containing nude photos of Justice Lori Douglas and other women will be considered as a separate complaint against the judge, the committee looking into complaints against Douglas has ruled.

In a decision released Sunday, the inquiry committee of the Canadian Judicial Council said the discs -- which contain intimate sexual photographs of Douglas and photos of other women -- will be considered as a valid complaint against Douglas.

The committee made its ruling over the opinion of the committee's legal counsel, who said the discs shouldn't be considered a complaint because there was nothing submitted in writing and there are no specific allegations against Douglas.

Three judges on the committee disagreed, concluding that for them to do their job properly and to maintain public confidence in the judiciary, the discs must be considered a valid complaint.

"The basic objective (of the inquiry process) is to reinforce public confidence in the judiciary," the judges wrote in a ruling made Friday but not released until Sunday. "That includes confidence that any serious concerns about judicial conduct are investigated thoroughly and transparently."

The complete ruling is available online at: https://www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca/cmslib/general/Douglas_Docs/CJC-Douglas-Ruling-complaint-2012-06-22.pdf .

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.

The allegations against Douglas stemmed from efforts by her husband, lawyer Jack King, to get a client of his to have sex with Douglas.

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 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.

The inquiry committee resumes its hearing today in Winnipeg.

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.

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.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 25, 2012 A3

History

Updated on Monday, June 25, 2012 at 7:44 AM CDT: Updates timeline

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