Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Prominent city jurist the victim: legal experts

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TWO legal experts believe a Manitoba judge at the centre of a sex scandal is the victim in the entire affair and shouldn't have her legal credentials up for debate.

In fact, allegations of wrongdoing by Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, who allegedly pressured a client of his in 2003 to have sex with his wife, Lori Douglas, who is now Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, were well-known in legal circles when King resigned from Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in 2005.

Bruce King, a managing partner at Pitblado LLP who is no relation to Jack King, said it's "unfortunate" Douglas's qualifications as a judge are being called into question.

He said there is no evidence she had any idea that her husband was posting nude photographs of her online when she was interviewing for her current posting as a judge.

"From everything that has been seen or heard, Justice Douglas is a victim. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise," he said.

Bryan Schwartz, a law professor at the University of Manitoba, agreed. He said the existence of embarrassing material on the Internet shouldn't disqualify somebody from being a judge if they're the innocent victim of a marital breach of trust.

"It double-victimizes you. People should have sympathy for you. It's a pretty reprehensible thing to do to a spouse," he said. "It sounds to me like people should be very slow to come to any judgments about this."

"If people were doing something that wasn't unlawful and somebody breaches that and blabs it to the public, I don't see how that disqualifies you from being a judge."

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 1, 2010 A3

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