Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy secretly increased prisoner’s jail sentence; in a backroom meeting, off the court record, without informing the prisoner.
How Justice Shaughnessy:
– Secretly substituted a new Warrant of Committal that included an increased sentence,
– Misled a self-represented litigant and made an inaccurate court record transcript,
– Ordered a self-represented litigant excluded from parts of the legal process in his own civil case hearing.
(click photos to see full size*)
Original story, published December 2, 2015…
On May 3, 2013, I stood without a lawyer as an unrepresented / self-represented litigant before Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy. I heard his words refusing my application to overturn my January 15, 2010, conviction ‘in absentia’ and three-month sentence for Contempt of Civil Court in a civil litigation costs hearing. I had not attended the January 15, 2010 hearing as I was overseas and unaware of it.
The judge looked me straight in the eye and said on the court record that he was lifting the stay that he himself had placed upon his January 15, 2010, Warrant of Committal for my imprisonment and that I would now be taken to prison.
What Justice Shaughnessy didn’t tell me, and what I couldn’t know as the court police slapped on the handcuffs and took me to the cold cells below, was that even though my hearing was over and the judge had left the courtroom, he wasn’t quite finished with me.
While I paced in the basement cells awaiting transfer to prison, Justice Shaughnessy sat in some backroom where, off the court record, he secretly signed and substituted a new and changed Warrant of Committal that effectively increased my sentence by one-third.
Behind my back, the judge secretly arranged that I would only discover the increased sentence as a special surprise at some unknown time in the future; perhaps even months later as I neared my anticipated release date.
Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy placed none of this on the court record transcript. He did it secretly after he left the courtroom and after I was led away in custody. Had he wanted to, he could have called me back to court to inform me, or even come down to the cells to tell me.
Justice Shaughnessy said nothing of this new and increased sentence to me, to my lawyer when I had one, or to anyone else in court, either on May 3, 2013, or during the many preceding court dates attended over a period of nine months. Not having any knowledge of the judge’s intention to secretly substitute a new Warrant of Committal with an increased sentence, I did not have an opportunity to make submissions to him or to argue against the legality of his actions. He arranged everything so I would learn about my increased sentence from some prison guard.
Further, on May 3, 2013 Justice Shaughnessy washed his hands of me and ordered that I was never again to be brought before him, so he made sure that he would never have to face me after I learned of his backroom surprise. As noted on page 69 of the May 3, 2013 court record transcript, just before he left the courtroom Justice Shaughnessy said:
“Further, I will also notate that I am no longer seized of this matter and I hereby direct that any further and other applications relating to this proceedings are to be heard by another judge.”
An acquaintance later remarked that Justice Shaughnessy must have quite a wicked sense of humour; even if his values, ethics, sense of justice and fair play appear to fall short.
An unrepresented defendant is fair game in Ontario Superior Court
I doubt that Justice Shaughnessy would have even attempted to secretly increase my sentence and substitute a new Warrant of Committal had a lawyer represented me. But as I was only an ordinary Canadian before the court with no lawyer, I was fair game. Read more