Monday, March 2, 2015

Article: Justice Lori Douglas and the Canadian Judicial Council

The cover story I wrote for Canadian Lawyer Magazine is out today on the Justice Lori Douglas case and the Canadian Judicial Council.

The progress of the Douglas case before the CJC has been publicly dissected at length. Her now-deceased husband, Jack King, who was also a lawyer, posted private boudoir photos of the future judge on the Internet, without her knowledge or consent, in an attempt to interest another man in his wife. That other man, Alex Chapman, a divorce client of King’s, was described in the press as “a deeply suspicious, highly litigious man who once sued his own mother and who has a criminal record for arson, theft, and uttering threats.” Chapman had agreed to a settlement of $25,000 from King in 2003 for harassment, but in July 2010 filed a complaint with the CJC that he had been sexually harassed by Douglas. For the next four years it would lurch through the system.

After the review stage, Douglas faced four grounds for removal: that she had allegedly sexually harassed Chapman in 2003; that she had altered a diary entry relevant to the facts; that there were nude photos of herself; and that she had not disclosed in her application the existence of the photos as something that “could reflect negatively on yourself or the judiciary.” Without a hint of irony, the CJC’s official notice to Douglas observed that the offending photographs “could be seen as demeaning to women.”

As the sad details emerged, public and media sympathy began to tilt in Douglas’ favour as more was learned about the complainant and her husband’s behaviour. Testimony supported that Douglas was unaware of her husband’s activities, and the chairman of her original judicial appointments committee was not only aware of the issue but said he had informed the other members.

Many were beginning to suspect what was really unfolding was a re-victimizing of a woman judge by an embarrassed conservative judiciary where Douglas was being punished for the non-consensual violation of her private life by a manipulative husband and a decidedly vindictive complainant.

You can read the whole article here: