Canada’s new Supreme Court judge Sheilah Martin says courts should treat litigants with respect, be open, transparent. What does she think about Justice ‘Backroom Bryan’ Shaughnessy?
Last Monday, Justice Sheilah Martin spent almost three hours meeting parliamentarians and generally laying out how she sees her role and the law. Of course she properly stayed away from specific issues that could come before the Supreme Court – but some of her words go straight to the heart of our justice system and the rule of law. Hopefully she will come down hard on courts that abuse their powers and authority.
Justice Martin’s Questionnaire for her appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada is a revealing document that shows her concern for the wrongly convicted and ordinary Canadians of many origins who are most often roadkill in our courts.
Overall, Martin stressed the need for judges to treat litigants with respect…
“You have to show respect in order to get respect,” she said.
She pushed back against the idea that judges’ rulings express their own views.
“The role of judges is a very different one than law professor or advocate. Judges decide based on proof, principle, precedent. We may call it a judicial opinion, but it’s not the personal preference of the judge. It has to be grounded in law, it has to be grounded in principle, there has to be an open, transparent, defensible reasoning, there has to be an explanation to the public, and it has to be clear and intelligible and has to meet the arguments that have been raised.” From the Star article New Supreme Court judge underscores need for judicial independence
How would Justice Martin view Bryan Shaughnessy’s disgusting misconduct?
Here is a sample from the September 28, 2017 sworn affidavit of Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, concerning Justice Shaughnessy’s conduct during the Donald Best civil contempt case:
- “Court ended and the Judge (Shaughnessy) left the courtroom. The courtroom staff ended their duties and Mr. Best was taken away to prison. Then, in Mr. Best’s absence, in a backroom and off the court record with no transcript and no endorsement on the record, the Judge secretly created a new Warrant of Committal and increased Best’s time to be served in prison by 50%… this new secret Warrant of Committal was given only to the prison authorities and was not placed into the court records.”
- “There is no justification for this which appears to be a vindictive and punitive act and it needs to be closely scrutinized.”
In other words, Bryan Shaughnessy, a Federally appointed Justice of the Ontario Superior Court, corruptly wielded his authority and power in secret, in a backroom, off the court record and with zero regard for the rule of law, transparency or accountability… just as one commonly sees in third-world backwaters where local despots misuse their authority for private purposes.
Further, Justice Shaughnessy was dealing with an unrepresented person who had already been taken away to prison. Justice Shaughnessy knew that he could get away with this abuse because the prisoner didn’t have a lawyer and was incapable of appealing the secretly increased sentence from prison. Further Best might not even be told by prison authorities about his increased sentence for weeks or months.
There is no doubt that our new Supreme Court Justice Sheilah Martin would slam Bryan Shaughnessy’s corrupt and secret backroom actions that undermined the public respect for the courts and brought the judicial system into disrepute.
Justice Shaughnessy should permanently resign from the bench as no lesser remedy is capable of repairing the damage he has done.
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.” Lawyers especially are concerned with Shaughnessy’s misconduct as his actions strike right to the foundations of our justice system and society.
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Barrie, Ontario, Canada