There is no better illustration of the political and arbitrary nature of the Canadian Judicial Council (‘CJC’) than to contrast how the CJC handled complaints against two Ontario Superior Court Justices – Toni Skarica and J. Bryan Shaughnessy.
Wearing a Trump t-shirt on a day off resulted in a full investigation of Justice Skarica by a three-judge CJC panel.
Several senior lawyers and a retired Crown Attorney call Justice Shaughnessy’s behaviour “despotic”, “disgusting”, “reprehensible”, “malicious” and “worthy of his removal from the bench” – but the CJC wouldn’t even investigate.
CJC Director Norman Sabourin summarily dismissed a complaint against Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy by former Toronto Police Sergeant (Detective) Donald Best, without an investigation and in the face of irrefutable evidence that the judge went to a back room after court ended, and – off the court record – illegally made a secret new court order increasing the Best’s sentence by a month, without telling the self-represented prisoner and without placing the new secret order into the court record. This was a deliberate, vindictive and premeditated extra-judicial abuse of Justice Shaughnessy’s position and authority.
The Federal Court of Canada will conduct a Judicial Review of the CJC’s whitewashed decision about Justice Shaughnessy on November 20, 2017. Read the details here.
CJC investigates judge over Trump t-shirt
Citizens will be pleased to know that the Canadian Judicial Council has once again protected the integrity of judges and our courts – this time by launching an investigation of an Ontario Superior Court judge who had the (dare I say it?) bad judgment to be seen wearing a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” political t-shirt while grocery shopping on his day off.
After spending considerable effort investigating the incident and questioning Justice Toni Skarica, a CJC tribunal of senior judges let the judge off the hook when he promised he would never again wear the t-shirt in public. Today’s Toronto Star covers this egregious case of judicial misconduct in No discipline for Ontario judge who wore Trump T-shirt while shopping.
Now don’t get me wrong here. Retired teacher and prolific writer Lorne Warwick was correct to complain about a judge wearing political signage in public – whether in the court or not. We can’t have our judges endorsing political candidates and parties because they must be seen to be impartial. Persons coming before the court should not have to fear judicial bias because they know that the judge disagrees with their politics.
As picayune as Mr. Warwick’s complaint might seem to some, it all goes back to the concept that our judges and courts must exude integrity, fairness and adherence to the rule of law whether on or off duty.
While I haven’t spoken with Mr. Warwick, however, I’m sure he would be the first to admit that on a scale of judicial misconduct, the Trump t-shirt falls somewhere short of murder.
Nonetheless, the CJC fully investigated his complaint with a three-judge panel. Serious business this wearing of Trump t-shirt on a day off, while grocery shopping.
CJC Whitewash and Cover-ups
While the Canadian Judicial Council revels in the public investigation of some novel or relatively minor judicial offence just to let Canadians know that they are doing their job, the CJC has proven time and time again that they regularly whitewash many serious offences without any investigation at all.
This is accomplished by having the CJC’s Director act as ‘gate-keeper’ to dismiss complaints without investigation – without so much as looking at the court file or reading a transcript showing the judge’s comments or actions.
This is especially true if the complaining citizen is unrepresented by counsel.
Canadian Judicial Council said to be operating ultra vires – in violation of the law.
As well as looking at the circumstances of the CJC dismissal of Best’s complaint, the Federal Court Judicial Review will be considering whether or not CJC Director Norman Sabourin is operating beyond his authority under the laws which established the CJC. This issue has been previously raised in public discussions, but has never been formally brought before the court as it is in the Judicial Review filed by Donald Best’s lawyer, Paul Slansky.
Packed Courtroom Expected
Many Canadians wrote expressing support for Donald Best and asked to be notified of the hearing date so they can attend and observe the process. A court artist and several independent journalists also state they will cover the hearing.
The hearing will be held:
Monday November 20th and Tuesday November 21, 2017 at 9:30am
Federal Court: 180 Queen Street West, Toronto, Ontario.
Notice to readers, including Persons and Entities mentoned in this article
As always, if anyone disagrees with anything published at DonaldBest.CA or wishes to provide a public response or comment, please contact me at [email protected] and I will publish your writing with equal prominence. Comments left on articles are moderated at least once a day. Or, of course, you can sue me and serve my lawyer Paul Slansky. You can find Mr. Slansky’s information here.
Photos have been included to put context to the article. Their use is the same as with other Canadian news outlets.
Barrie, Ontario, Canada