International Law

New Fireworks in Ethics Trial of Prominent Canadian Judge, as Quasi-Prosecutor Steps Down

After previously questioning the impartiality of a panel overseeing a controversial legal ethics case against a Canadian judge, a lawyer serving in something of a prosecutorial role has stepped down in the middle of the trial.

Guy Pratte’s resignation followed his recent filing of a Federal Court motion contending that the Canadian Judicial Council panel overseeing the trial of Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Lori Douglas has stepped beyond its proper role, the Canadian Press reports. However, both Pratte and the Canadian Judicial Council were not immediately forthcoming with an explanation for his action.

Pratte did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the council’s executive director, Norman Sabourin, declined to address that question Monday.

“I am not going to comment on why he left,” said Sabourin. “We are aware of course of the judicial review application and it is something that the council may have to address at some point.”

The trial of Douglas is controversial because it focuses on nude photographs taken by her husband and apparently made public without her permission. A number of observers have complained that she is being publicly shamed in the ethics trial concerning a situation in which she was the victim rather than the perpetrator.

However, primarily at issue in the case is not Douglas’ conduct concerning the photos but whether she adequately disclosed the situation when she became a candidate for the judicial job, given the potential that the images could adversely affect the public perception of the judiciary.

Earlier coverage: “Legal Ethics Trial of Canadian Judge Could Be Doomed By ‘Incontestable’ Bias of Tribunal Counsel”

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