PRIVATE nude photos of a Manitoba judge are being circulated on the Internet by people looking to cash in on the controversy that has put her judicial future in doubt.
The revelation -- made Thursday in a Winnipeg courtroom -- means legal efforts to rein in the graphic images may ultimately be rendered moot by the vast, largely uncontrollable world of cyberspace.
Sheriff's officers have now been ordered to seize all computers and files belonging to the Winnipeg man who is at the centre of the scandal and claims he was sexually harassed by Justice Lori Douglas and her lawyer husband, Jack King.
Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey made the ruling Thursday, saying there is evidence Alex Chapman still has material evidence in his possession -- including graphic pictures of Douglas -- which violates a previous legal agreement he signed in 2003 vowing to return and destroy all related materials. She said sheriff's officers can go to Chapman's home between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. this coming Monday and take possession of all relevant material, which will then be placed in storage and not examined by anyone pending further court arguments about who can go through it.
"This is not to be a fishing expedition," said McKelvey. "It may be that a third party is agreed upon to search it."
King's lawyer, Bill Gange, asked McKelvey to find Chapman in contempt Thursday for failing to turn over all of the pictures of Douglas, as she ordered during a hearing last week. Chapman said he has made efforts to get the materials back from people he sent them to over the years, but some have refused.
McKelvey has now ordered him to compile a detailed list of all people who were given the pictures, which will allow Gange to make separate motions against them. Chapman said outside court there may be "four or five" people in total he sent the pictures to over the years.
Chapman also said a pornographic website that previously hosted pictures of Douglas has now put them back online in an attempt to capitalize on the publicity from this case.
"They're now charging people to see them, making money off them. I didn't put them there, I have no control over that," he said.
The website is currently inviting viewers to sign up and "see what the fuss is about."
"As for the comments by various people that the types of sexual activity enjoyed by the couple make her unfit for her role in public office, we would like to just say that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," the website states in its summary of the incident.
"Human sexuality is complicated, and if the truth were told, the person without his or her own 'hidden' sexual peccadillos are very few and far between. There is no reason to link legal and mutually enjoyed sexual activity between adults with a lack of jurisprudential intelligence or capability. There is no correlation whatsoever."
Chapman told court the seizure of his computers is a violation of his rights and will likely impact his lawsuit against King and Douglas.
"All my evidence, all my private matters are on that computer," he said. "How am I supposed to defend myself?"
McKelvey admits this will be an "intrusion" on Chapman but said the circumstances have deemed it necessary.
"There is a definite concern evidence may be lost or those materials distributed further than they already have," she said.