Canadian Judicial Council investigation of Judge wearing Trump t-shirt, grocery shopping on day off

Justices Toni Skarica (left) and J. Bryan Shaughnessy

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 complaint against Justice Shaughnessy without investigation or providing reasons.

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.

Lorne Warwick complained about judge’s Trump t-shirt

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.

Donald Best
Barrie, Ontario, Canada



  • Quite interesting how a t shirt can create a stir and in fact other than its endorsing a would be president there is nothing inappropriate about it. However if you Google whistle blowers in Canada the lawyer who was in the Justice Dept.that took issue with laws that infringe on our Canadian charter of rights and took the Canadian government to court for not being able to do his job properly and being forced to pass laws that infringe on our rights now that is worthy of public attention more than this tshirt should. This courageous lawyer defines an honorable man doing a competent job being forced by corrupt government to trample on your rights and freedoms and he stood up for you each and every Canadian to say enough is enough.

  • kangaroo courts seconded

    To air is human …..its Judge Toni not Tom … but were not in a court of law where despicable lawyers love to subvert the truths using small inconsistencies that could easily be fixed or use of a wrong word to have criminals walk free on technicalities. Please google the case of the OPP wiretap specialist in a huge investigation and trial of drug dealers and bikers and they threw out the case on 8 words that were inconsistent but ignored the other 399992 words that proved the guilt of the drug dealers and these scum bags were let off i and no doubt continue to sell drugs and risk the safety of all citizens and our children. Bravo to our system for substandard justice. The toronto star carried the story I believe.

  • kangaroo courts seconded

    You can see that as citizens we can complain or take issue with what we perceive as injustice or not right so Mr. Warrwick exercised his constitutional rights and it was successful . Thus ts good to remember when reading Mr. Best case of the importance to give our opinions by means of posts letters emails. Do not be afraid to uphold your constitutional rights. Challenge whenever they try to step on your rights. Be at the hearing for Mr. Best and make your voice heard by your attendance. Donald Best and his hearing is of far more importance then the t shirt Judge Tom wore. The conduct of Judge OShaughnessy far out weighs any lapse in judgment of style of dress. This display by the CJC to ignore Donald Best complaint indicates beyond a shadow of a doubt the need to cover up for corrupt lawyers and judges.

  • kangaroo courts seconded

    Mr Best they have to.waste time and money on smaller issues so the more important cases are covered up. A call or letter to the judge reminding him of the need to watch what he wears in public would probably have been sufficient

    Perhaps the man who complained about the tshirt would like to give his opinion on your case by posting on.your website .

  • Way To go & thank You Donald we need to expose this BS form the CJC . It is time to get rid of them & get a voted in panel to do the inquiries .