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This article was published 18/3/2016 (1332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A judge facing impaired-driving charges is no longer with the Provincial Court of Manitoba.
Michel Chartier, who was charged Sunday with impaired driving and having a blood-alcohol concentration over .08, has resigned from the provincial court, Chief Judge Ken Champagne announced Friday.
"Public confidence in and respect for the judiciary are essential to an effective justice system. Therefore, while the resignation of Michel Chartier from the court is regrettable, by having resigned today, he has done the honourable thing, recognizing that the charges brought against him would significantly undermine public confidence in the judiciary," Champagne said in a statement.
Carberry RCMP charged Chartier after pulling him over Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. on the Trans-Canada Highway, about five kilometres west of Highway 5 in the RM of North Cypress. No one was hurt in the incident, the Mounties said.
Chartier was placed on administrative leave on Monday, Champagne said.
Two years ago — in what was believed to be a legal first in Manitoba — Chartier decided not to impose a jail sentence or a criminal record on a drunk driver who hit and severely injured a motorcyclist. Instead, Chartier granted the longtime alcoholic a "curative discharge" and considered it in the public’s best interest the accused get treatment for his alcohol addiction rather than jail time.
"Our courts have emphasized that denunciations and deterrence are driving principles of sentencing for the drinking driver," Chartier said in his 2014 ruling. "Sometimes, effective rehabilitation can be the most effective way of keeping an individual from drinking and driving."
There have been previous cases of federal and provincial court judges facing criminal charges in Manitoba and across the country. In 2011, Manitoba provincial court Judge Brian Corrin was charged with assault stemming from allegations of family violence. The charges were later stayed and Corrin returned to the bench. An Alberta provincial court judge in Edmonton pleaded guilty and was fined $1,500 for drunk driving in 2014.
Whether a Manitoba provincial court judge continues to serve on the bench after being charged with a crime is up to the Judicial Council, which investigates complaints against judges under rules set out under the Provincial Court Act. The council can impose punishments ranging in severity from issuing a warning to recommending that the provincial justice minister remove the judge.
Chartier was called to the bar in Manitoba in 1991 after graduating from Université de Moncton the previous year. He focused on banking law, labour law and insurance litigation while practising at Monk Goodwin in Winnipeg and was appointed as a provincial court judge in September, 2007. For four years, from September 2009 to August 2013, Chartier served as associate chief judge.