Court denies former Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino intervention in Judicial Review of CJC

Julian Fantino’s ‘bombshell’ evidence.

A Federal Court prothonotary has denied a motion by Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, to intervene in the judicial review of a Canadian Judicial Council decision.

(UPDATE: Fantino appealed this decision in Federal Court on Monday, November 20, 2017 – but in the end, the Courts acted to protect fellow members of The Club and killed the appeal on a procedural excuse.)

Mr. Fantino, who is also a former Federal Cabinet Minister in the Stephen Harper government and a lifetime member of the Queen’s Privy Council, had sought intervenor status in a Judicial Review scheduled for November 20, 2017 in Toronto at the Federal Court of Canada. The review is brought by Donald Best, a former Toronto Police sergeant, concerning the Canadian Judicial Council’s decision not to investigate his complaint about the conduct of Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.

Justice Shaughnessy (r) & his lawyer, Peter Wardle

Opposing Fantino’s intervention were Victor J. Paolone of the Attorney General of Canada and Justice Shaughnessy’s lawyer, Ontario Law Society bencher Peter Wardle. Mr. Fantino was represented by K. W. McKenzie. Paul Slansky represented Donald Best.

While the October 25, 2017 written decision by prothonotary Mandy Aylen covers many of the issues addressed in Mr. Fantino’s application, it does not mention some of the most stunning parts of Fantino’s sworn affidavit, nor the controversial statements made by each of the lawyers during oral submissions.

Initial reactions from police officers, lawyers and ordinary Canadians range from shock to embarrassed acknowledgement that some of the activities revealed in Fantino’s affidavit are nothing new to insiders in the justice system and law enforcement.

(Fantino’s application, affidavit, written submissions and Prothonotary Aylen’s decision are public documents and are attached at the end of this article.)

Julian Fantino Affidavit Bombshells

Here, complied by your publisher Donald Best, is a list of selected passages from Mr. Fantino’s 33 pages of sworn affidavit. (With attached exhibits, the full affidavit is 461 pages.)

NOTE: The verbatim quotes and summarized excerpts below are selected from various affidavit pages. They obviously cannot be presented in context in this short summary article and may be out of order.

Canadians are urged to carefully read and consider Mr. Fantino’s full affidavit and other source documents and to make up their own minds as to the full import of Mr. Fantino’s sworn testimony.

Evidence in Julian Fantino’s sworn affidavit includes (summarized except verbatim excerpts in quotes):


  • No one is representing the public interest of Canadians at this judicial review. The Attorney General of Canada represents the CJC, not the public.
  • “Mr. Best was convicted of contempt of court and sentenced to prison in absentia (while he was not in Canada) upon the presentation by lawyers of provably false evidence during a private prosecution in a civil trial costs hearing.”
  • “This prosecution and eventual imprisonment of Mr. Best was being carried out in the name of a purported client that did not exist. The CJC should investigate how this offshore non-person received substantial funds in court costs (over 1 million dollars) which raises questions about possible money laundering and currency control violations.”
  • “The court also convicted Mr. Best based upon affidavit evidence that was the product of illegal actions by a serving officer of the Ontario Provincial Police at the time that I was OPP Commissioner.” The officer, now retired Detective Sergeant James (Jim) Arthur Van Allen, was manager of the OPP’s elite Criminal Profiling Unit under Commissioner Fantino.

Improper Police Involvement in Civil Cases & Secret Investigations

  • “There are four general incidents in the (Donald Best) civil case, CJC record and in the current Judicial Review where police resources and personnel were improperly and even illegally and secretly used and coopted.”
  • “There is disturbing evidence, some strong and apparently irrefutable, and some circumstantial, that in four groups of incidents in the civil case and even during the present Judicial Review, police resources and personnel were (or appear to have been) improperly retained, used and coopted to assist one side of a private civil dispute in the Ontario courts.”
  • Involved police organizations include the OPP, Durham Regional Police, Peel Regional Police and the Toronto Police Association.
  • Durham Regional Police perform undocumented (secret) investigations of civil case litigants “all the time” and “most likely in assistance to the Court.” This was done in the Donald Best civil case and perhaps in respect of the current Judicial Review of the Canadian Judicial Council decision regarding Justice Shaughnessy.
  • “There is also evidence of involvement by other police forces before the finding of contempt by the court and later who have been involved in this civil court matter. Some of it with the apparent intent of using the investigation results to influence, impact or derail this Judicial Review.”
  • “If left to stand, these abuses in total would result in the undermining of public confidence in the police, the judicial process, the CJC and the Rule of Law. My background and experience is such that I can assist the Court in determining the truth about what appears to be significant abuses of police resources to improperly influence the justice system in the civil case and perhaps even in this Judicial Review.”

Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

  • Justice Shaughnessy backdated a court order ten full days that immediately put Donald Best into contempt for failing to deliver certain documents to opposing lawyers two days before the order was created. Best was jailed for this ‘failure’ to comply with an impossible court order.
  • Certain court documents and orders that were said to have been delivered to Donald Best were, in fact, not delivered and Justice Shaughnessy knew this. Nonetheless Justice Shaughnessy validated service of these documents.
  • Justice Shaughnessy allowed the court process to be used on an extra-jurisdictional basis and “improperly delegated his judicial power to the prosecuting lawyers in order to interfere with and impact legal proceedings in other countries.” The lawyers told Justice Shaughnessy that they were pursuing Donald Best for contempt charges in order to force Best to provide evidence for use in a Florida legal case, and to force settlement upon other litigants in civil cases in Florida and Barbados courts.
  • “The record shows that after Best requested a review of his conviction and sentence, the Judge (Shaughnessy) refused to consider his fresh exculpatory evidence including but not limited to secretly made and forensically certified voice recordings of a telephone call with the lawyers that showed they placed false evidence before the Judge, refused to allow Best to cross-examine the lawyer-witnesses, their clients and ‘private investigator’ James Van Allen, who together provided the false evidence that the court used to convict and sentence Best.”
  • “I cannot recall any other case where a Canadian was convicted and sentenced in absentia (when the accused was not present) upon provably false and/or illegally sourced evidence, and was then refused the basic right to cross-examine the witnesses and accusers that the court relied upon to convict and sentence.”
  • “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.”… “The CJC did not address these actions by the Judge, but rather summarily dismissed the issue by ruling that it was not ‘conduct’.”

OPP Detective Sergeant James Van Allen

“Had I known of his (Jim Van Allen’s) transgressions, I would have acted immediately as OPP Commissioner to deal with his rogue conduct.”  Julian Fantino

  • “The prosecuting lawyers hired and submitted an affidavit from Mr. Van Allen. They claimed that he was a private investigator and failed to disclose that he was a serving police officer with access to police resources. This police officer obtained confidential information not available to the public which was then used by the Judge to convict, sentence and imprison Mr. Best for contempt.”
  • “Although the lawyers regularly referred to Van Allen as a ‘private investigator’ in their legal documents and on the court record in verbal submissions and discussions with the Judge, Jim Van Allen was not a licensed private investigator. James ‘Jim’ Arthur Van Allen, was in fact a serving Ontario Provincial Police Detective Sergeant and manager of the OPP’s Criminal Profiling Unit who was working secretly and illegally as an unlicensed private investigator.”
  • “From my examination of the evidence that is already filed in court and was easily available to the courts and the CJC had they examined it, it is reasonable to conclude that OPP Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen’s inappropriate employment as a private investigator, his access to confidential information and the distribution of the same, and the very creation of his affidavit in order to benefit private parties in a civil lawsuit, represents a flagrant violation of various Provincial and Federal laws including the Police Services Act, the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, the Criminal Code and the Freedom of Information Act.”
  • “In no small way, Detective Sergeant Jim Van Allen violated his oath of office.”
  • “Detective Sergeant Van Allen’s conduct and behavior in relation to this case occurred while I was OPP Commissioner. Had I known about it at the time, I would have immediately ordered an investigation to gather all evidence to determine the details, extent and duration of his activities with a view to possible provincial and/or criminal charges against Van Allen and, potentially, charges against other involved persons.”
  • “It is inconceivable that all the involved lawyers and Judge were unaware that ‘private investigator’ and expert witness Jim Van Allen was an OPP police officer. Considering many factors, including Detective Sergeant Van Allen’s high public profile, the rules and normal vetting practices by lawyers and judges concerning Expert Witnesses, and the fact that Van Allen’s affidavit and redacted invoices were clearly suspect on their face to any ordinary person let alone lawyers and judges, it is unbelievable that nobody in that courtroom knew the truth about Van Allen or otherwise cared to find out.”
  • “I notice that Van Allen’s two redacted invoices are numbers 11 and 12 for the year 2009, which to me raises serious questions about how many other illegal investigations he had performed and which lawyer clients might have retained him previously. Had I known of his transgressions, I would have acted immediately as OPP Commissioner to deal with his rogue conduct.”

Self-Represented Canadians and the Canadian Judicial Council

  • “I have no reason to believe that Mr. Best’s complaints to the CJC were handled any differently than those of other Canadians. I have no reason to believe that the CJC’s apparent arbitrary standards, lack of investigation, lack of transparency and absence of support to an unrepresented person in Mr. Best’s case is unusual for the CJC. I believe that the CJC’s handling of Mr. Best’s case is representative of the standard CJC treatment of unrepresented persons – with one important difference which in Mr. Best’s situation merely supported the imprisonment of an apparently innocent man and that is simply unacceptable and wrong.”
  • “Judicial independence is an important principle in the Canadian Justice System. That is all the more reason why Canadians must feel secure that the Canadian Judicial Council properly performs its function in dealing with complaints. The CJC was created by Parliament to serve the people of Canada and to maintain the integrity and high standards that people expect in their Justice System. It follows that full professional investigations and transparency should be the norm. Publicly defined standards for the CJC that are easy to access and easy to understand are of paramount importance to the mandate it received from Parliament, and for which it is accountable.”
  • “This would include ease of access by all Canadians and, where necessary, assistance by CJC staff trained to accommodate the different cultural, linguistic, and educational factors that are the hallmarks of our multi-faceted Canadian society. Not all Canadians have the skill set, educational background, or writing ability to properly compose a complete account of their concerns and complaints about their experiences in Court and how they are treated by Judges. Accordingly, I wish to contribute to this Court proceeding in evaluating and resolving the matters raised in regard to Mr. Best’s Application.”
  • “While the CJC guidelines as to how Canadians can expect to be treated in Court when they are unrepresented litigants, the CJC does not extend those same considerations to Canadians who complain about their treatment in Courts by Judges. The CJC’s response to (Donald Best’s) complaint emphasizes that this type of assistance and proactive treatment is not extended to complainants to the CJC.”
  • “The lack of assistance and guidance for the complainant adds a layer of mystery and lack of transparency to an already oblique arrangement where it appears that one person, Mr. Sabourin, whose credentials are not known, is the filter for all information that is assessed. This appears incongruous with the very specialized and unique knowledge that are required to review the jurisdiction and actions of judges.”
  • “Other tribunals which are in place to serve the public in specialized benefit from the assistance of fully trained assessors who can assist the aggrieved person and be certain that the full import of the complaint is fairly presented. This type of assistance is all the more important when it comes to Courts and Judges which may be the most important factor or bulwark in the preservation of democracy.”
  • “The CJC did not fully take into consideration that its function is to serve the people of Canada. Not all Canadians are able to fully understand let alone report about the nuances of what happens in Court and the CJC has decided it will give them no guidance. Whereas other tribunals engage investigators and information gatherers who are well versed in the areas under consideration that will interview, review, and generally help a complainant make a full and focused complaint the CJC does nothing of the sort. Apparently, Mr. Sabourin and the Judge are of the view that the CJC can reject a complaint arbitrarily.”

At the time of publication there is no word if Mr. Fantino will appeal the prothonotary’s decision.

Court Documents – Redacted Identity Information (signatures, etc)

In .PDF format for downloading. Size indicated.

1/ Affidavit of Julian Fantino sworn September 28, 2017, Notice of Motion, Written Submissions NO EXHIBITS (72 pages – PDF 8.7mb)

2/ Order of Prothonotary Mandy Aylen released October 25, 2017 (22 pages – PDF 241kb)

3/ Julian Fantino: Full affidavit including exhibits.

Fantino Vol1 with exhibits sworn Sept 28, 2017 (344 pages – PDF 43mb) – very large, will fix soon.

Fantino Vol2 with exhibits sworn Sept 28, 2017 (245 pages – PDF 22.3mb) – very large, will fix soon.

To be added after redacting (probably a day or two):

4/ Justice Shaughnessy: Submissions on Fantino Intervention Motion

5/ Attorney General of Canada: Submissions on Fantino Intervention Motion

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

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


Did lawyers assist in Justice Bryan Shaughnessy’s “disgusting” misconduct? #3 in a series

Big Law Firm lawyers Gerald Ranking (left), Lorne Silver & Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Did lawyers Lorne S. Silver and Gerald L. Ranking know of Justice Shaughnessy’s intentions? Did they assist? If so, they are co-conspirators with the judge.

In articles over the past months (listed below), we told how after court ended on May 3, 2013, Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy went to a backroom where, off the court record, he secretly increased a prisoner’s sentence without a trial and without telling the self-represented prisoner (Donald Best). In that backroom, Justice Shaughnessy signed a secret new warrant of committal – that he did not place into the court record and that he provided only to prison authorities.

Several senior lawyers and a retired Crown Attorney called Justice Shaughnessy’s behaviour “disgusting”, “reprehensible”, “malicious” and “worthy of his removal from the bench.”

Donald Best complained of Shaughnessy’s misconduct to the Canadian Judicial Council – (Best’s Jan 5, 2016 12-page CJC complaint without exhibits. PDF 218kb).

After CJC Director Norman Sabourin summarily dismissed the complaint without conducting an investigation or providing reasons, Best’s lawyer filed for a Judicial Review of the CJC decision. That judicial review is now before the Federal Court.

Our second article in this series explained how big law firm partners Lorne S. Silver and Gerald L. Ranking certainly witnessed parts of Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct in court.

In Part #3 of this series, we look at evidence that lawyers Ranking and Silver actually participated in Justice Shaughnessy’s serious misconduct – perhaps secretly meeting with the judge in a backroom after court.

On May 3, 2013, lawyers Lorne S. Silver and Gerald L. Ranking were in court and witnessed Justice Shaughnessy state on the record that he was lifting the stay on his January 15, 2010 Warrant of Committal for Donald Best, and that Best would now be taken to prison to serve the sentence indicated on that January 15, 2010 warrant – for contempt of court during a civil case costs hearing.

On May 3, 2013, Silver and Ranking also witnessed Justice Shaughnessy state on the record that “Approval of the order by Mr. Best will be dispensed with and I direct that this order shall be prepared by Messrs. Ranking and Silver and presented to me for signature by Monday, May 6, 2013.” (May 3, 2013 transcript, pg 57, line 32)

Silver and Ranking also witnessed Justice Shaughnessy order that Best was never again to be brought before him.

Thus, Justice Shaughnessy ordered Ranking and Silver to create a Judgment Order to be presented to him on May 6, 2013, and also that self-represented litigant Donald Best was not to participate or be provided with a copy of the judgment order. This judgment order (download here) did not order the creation of a new warrant of committal or increase Best’s sentence, and was not the secret new warrant of committal signed by Justice Shaughnessy after court on May 3, 2013.


Secret new May 3, 2013 Warrant of Committal. Click to enlarge.

Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct was premeditated with malicious intent.

Shaughnessy ordered in court on May 3, 2013 that:

1/ Best was not to participate in the creation of a judgment order, and,

2/ Best was never to be brought before Justice Shaughnessy again.

As indicated in Best’s complaint to the CJC, these orders on the record are evidence of Shaughnessy’s premeditation and malicious intent to secretly increase Best’s sentence after court, and to not place the new secret warrant of committal or increased sentence on the court record.

We know that after court ended on May 3, 2013, Justice Shaughnessy left the courtroom and went to a backroom where he signed a secret new order dated May 3, 2013 that illegally increased Best’s sentence. Best only learned of the order from prison authorities after his arrival at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario.

Did lawyers Lorne Silver and Gerald Ranking meet secretly with Justice Shaughnessy in a backroom after court on May 3, 2013?

We do not know at this point if Gerald Ranking or Lorne Silver knew in advance of Justice Shaughnessy’s intention to secretly increase Best’s jail sentence after court was over. Whether they knew or did not know in advance, is important evidence.

We do not know if Ranking and Silver learned of the secretly increased sentence and new warrant perhaps days or weeks afterwards – or, if Justice Shaughnessy secretly instructed them in a backroom meeting on May 3, 2013 to draft the secret new warrant of committal with the increased sentence.

Were the lawyers with Justice Shaughnessy on May 3, 2013 when he signed the secret warrant and illegally increased Best’s sentence? Did the lawyers draft the secret warrant upon private backroom instructions from the judge?

If lawyers Lorne Silver and Gerald Ranking had any part in the creation or delivery of the illegal and secret warrant of committal, or if they knew about it on May 3, 2013 or were present when Justice Shaughnessy signed it – then the lawyers are co-conspirators with the judge in his egregious misconduct.

What did the judge’s secretary and other court staff witness?

Justice Shaughnessy’s secretary and other court staff may have witnessed the lawyers meeting with the judge after court ended. The judge’s secretary and court staff may have knowledge of the creation and forwarding of the secret warrant of committal to prison authorities.

Drafts of the secret warrant warrant of committal might exist on court computers – or the secret warrant might have been created using one of the lawyers’ laptop computers and therefore does not appear on court computers.

CJC Executive Director Norman Sabourin summarily dismissed Best’s complaint without an investigation and without providing reasons.

Justice Shaughnessy, his court staff and lawyers Silver and Ranking must be witnesses in any valid CJC investigation or public inquiry – but so far both Lorne Silver and Gerald Ranking refuse to be cross-examined about any of their conduct in relation to Donald Best’s conviction, sentencing and imprisonment.

As indicated in our first two articles in this series, Justice Shaughnessy is now personally represented at the judicial review by Law Society of Upper Canada senior bencher Peter C. Wardle. Wardle has a conflict of interest as he also represented lawyers Lorne S. Silver and Gerald L. Ranking in a related matter.

With the Federal Attorney General representing the CJC, and the Ontario Attorney General absent after formerly representing Justice Shaughnessy, no one is representing the public interest at the judicial review.  

. Read more

An excellent truth by Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye

“Lawyers are important beyond just practicing law. And although our contributions to society are not always fully cherished or appreciated, these gains cannot be simplified to analyses of too many or too few.”

Lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye comments about whether Canadian law schools are turning out too many lawyers. (See SLAW – Canada’s online legal magazine.)

Toronto lawyer Omar Ha-Redeye

by Donald Best

Documenting the outrageous abuse heaped upon Canadians who are forced to represent themselves in court tends to focus people on the negative – because that is the truth of the situation in Canada at this moment.

That necessary focus, however, does not fairly indicate my appreciation of our legal system and my deep respect for those good people who do the best they can to deliver justice to Canadians within our flawed system.

Through my own experience of over forty years in public and private law enforcement in and around our courts, it has been my honour to meet and work with so many truly decent, dedicated lawyers and judges.

Canada has the worst legal system – except for all the others.

Although a handful of corrupt lawyers and police fabricated the false testimony that sent me to prison for 63 days in solitary confinement – and I often write about my case and post supporting evidence – I do not forget that without courageous and honest lawyers and judges, our way of life would collapse into chaos.

It would not take much effort to make Canada like so many countries where lawyers, judges and justice are bought and sold with money, violence, threats and other inducements. All it takes is a powerful and corrupt cartel – and regulators willing to look the other way “to avoid unpleasantness.”

And, individual lawyers who may have integrity but lack courage.

“Does Canada need more lawyers? Here’s what Omar Ha-Redeye says about this:

The utility of a legal education and training is not limited to the provision of legal services.

An understanding of our laws or at least how the system operates is indispensable in a countless number of jobs and industries, from business executives, private consulting, regulatory review, privacy compliance, public interest, just to name a few.

If the debate emerges out of the licensing problems that’s somewhat of a separate issue. I think legal training, i.e. work experience in some capacity, is also advantageous for the many non-professional roles which lawyers can play in our society.

Lawyers are important beyond just practicing law. And although our contributions to society are not always fully cherished or appreciated, these gains cannot be simplified to analyses of too many or too few.”

Omar Ha-Redeye Twitter: @OmarHaRedeye


Canada Federal Court refuses to release judge from Judicial Review of misconduct complaint

In an unprecedented decision the Federal Court also ordered the Ontario Superior Court Justice to personally pay the legal costs of a man he sent to prison.

The Federal Court of Canada has refused a motion to release a judge as a party in a Judicial Review of a Canadian Judicial Council ‘CJC’ decision concerning his alleged misconduct.

At issue is a CJC decision about the actions of Ontario Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy after a civil case hearing where the judge sentenced Donald Best, an unrepresented litigant, to three months in prison for civil contempt of court.

Judge secretly created new warrant of committal in a backroom. Secretly increased prisoner’s sentence off the court record.

Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy ordered to pay legal costs.

After court had finished on May 3, 2013 and the prisoner had been taken away to serve his three month sentence, Justice Shaughnessy went to a backroom and secretly created a new warrant of committal that increased the prisoner’s jail time by a month. Justice Shaughnessy did this off the court record, out of court, without telling the prisoner and without placing the new warrant of committal into the public court record.

The judge gave the only copy of the warrant to prison authorities and ordered that the prisoner was not to have knowledge of the creation of the court order.

Senior lawyers shocked by Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct

Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct shocked many members of Ontario’s legal profession. Several senior lawyers, including a retired Crown prosecutor, examined the evidence against the judge and made comments such as…

“In all my years of practicing law, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen a judge do.”

“Reprehensible misconduct by a judge that undermines the very foundations of justice.”

“Shaughnessy’s misconduct is worthy of his removal from the bench.”

When the Canadian Judicial Council summarily dismissed a complaint against Justice Shaughnessy without an investigation, the complainant Donald Best filed an Application for a Judicial Review of the CJC’s decision – and named Justice Shaughnessy as a party.

Justice Shaughnessy then filed a motion asking the court to:

  • Release Justice Shaughnessy from being a named party to the Judicial Review.
  • Strike the majority of Donald Best’s affidavit evidence filed in the Judicial Review.
  • Strike parts of Best’s Application for a Judicial Review and modify the Judicial Review procedures.
  • Order that Donald Best, the Applicant for the Judicial Review, pay Justice Shaughnessy’s legal costs in the motion.

Condensed Order – click for large

Costs order against judge unprecedented in Canadian Legal History

The Federal Court of Canada denied every part of Justice Shaughnessy’s motion, and in an unprecedented decision in Canadian legal history, ordered that Justice Shaughnessy should personally pay $2,500 in legal costs to the complainant Donald Best: a man the judge had sent to prison.

Although this writer is open to correction, research to date indicates that this is the first time ever in Canadian, British and USA legal history where a judge has been ordered to personally pay the legal costs of anyone – let alone a person he sent to prison.

Justice Shaughnessy did not appeal the order of the court, which is now confirmed.

Nobody acting for the Public Interest

Lawyer Paul Slansky

In a move that many legal professionals find surprising, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General is not acting for the people of Ontario and the public interest, but instead is the personal lawyer for Justice Shaughnessy. The Attorney General of Canada apparently represents the Canadian Judicial Council and sided with Justice Shaughnessy in the hearing of his denied motion.

As Toronto defense lawyer Paul Slansky is acting for Donald Best, it appears that the public interest is unrepresented in an important matter concerning serious misconduct by an Ontario Superior Court Justice.

The date for the Judicial Review of the CJC decision has not yet been set, but is expected to take place sometime in 2017.

Written by Donald Best

Court Documents in the Public Record

January 17, 2017 Federal Court of Canada Order and Reasons (PDF 250kb)

April 14, 2016 – Notice of Application (PDF 711kb) by Donald Best for a Judicial Review of CJC decision.

April 27, 2016 Affidavit of Donald Best in two PDF files: Vol 1 (10.4mb) and Vol 2 (11.7mb)

December 2, 2016 Memorandum of Fact and Law (PDF 436kb) – Paul Slansky for Donald Best

Background   Read more

Representing Yourself in Court 101 – Lesson #1: Walk away if you can.

Lady Justice Cheats

Lady Justice doesn’t like Self-Represented Litigants

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

So you want justice, and you want it badly enough that you are willing to represent yourself in court – without a lawyer.

What I really want you to understand is this: walking away from court is often the best decision you can make, whether you have a lawyer or not. If you are self-represented though, walking away is almost always the best decision.

There’s a tough reality to representing yourself that you don’t know about, even if you have previous experience in court with your lawyer beside you. As a self-represented litigant, you WILL be abused by opposing lawyers. You WILL be abused by court staff and by judges.

And, like the vast majority of self-represented litigants, you will likely lose your case. You may find yourself having to pay legal costs to the other side – sometimes tens of thousands of dollars or more. Or, like me, you may end up doing several months in prison even though your case is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal charge.

You have no idea about what you are getting into, but…

Maybe you are forced to represent yourself in court. Perhaps you are being sued and the other side won’t settle. Maybe your children or your home are at stake and you can’t walk away, but you have no money to hire a lawyer.

If you must represent yourself, you have a difficult path ahead. You’ll have to work hard to learn the law, and to learn the written and unwritten rules of litigation. Don’t let your case overwhelm  what is really important in your life.

Representing Yourself in Court 101

My new video series covers some of the general information you’ll need to represent yourself in court. We’ll also look at some topics the legal community doesn’t like to talk about, such as the common dirty tricks that abusive lawyers reserve for those who don’t have a lawyer.

Lesson #1 in the series is titled ‘Walk away – if you can’.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A handful of wise Canadian Judges urge lawyers to adopt a new business product: unbundled services

How lawyers can take pressure off the courts and earn new profits from assisting self-represented litigants.

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

If you have ever been involved in a lawsuit, whether personal or business, you are probably aware that for most Canadians, the cost of hiring a lawyer can easily exceed the loss or damages under dispute. In family law, it is not unheard of for the legal fees on both sides to equal the joint family assets. That is reality in our courts.

Yet, each year tens of thousands of Canadians hire lawyers in the hope that, after legal fees, they will be able to achieve some level of justice, even if greatly discounted. Harsh reality often awaits many who enter the world of paying lawyers $400 or more per hour – in a system that provides the greatest financial benefit to those lawyers who spend the most time achieving as little as possible.

I can almost hear the screams of indignant outrage from the senior benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Except, I have been at social events and seen lawyers openly joke about exactly that; how the system is set up to benefit the legal profession, not ordinary Canadians. As one of the jokes goes: A good lawyer will take a year to accomplish a motion – an excellent lawyer takes much longer.

As the legal profession pushed the cost of justice out of reach of the majority of ordinary people, many Canadians are reluctantly having to represent themselves in the courts. This tsunami of self-represented litigants is overwhelming the justice system and tests the patience of many judges who find the once professional theatre of the court now more akin to an amateur hour talent show.

So the legal system is searching for solutions to the ‘problem’ of self-represented litigants. We’ve seen some good efforts that need to be continued. Chief Justice Michael MacDonald of Nova Scotia instituted an educational program for self-represented litigants. Across Canada, SRL advocacy groups and a few lawyers run workshops to assist those who are forced to represent themselves.

Unbundled Services: Quick and effective relief for the courts & opposing lawyers

What is missing though, is the willingness of mainstream lawyers and law firms to enter the business of providing legal research, legal document creation and case preparation for self-represented litigants who would happily pay for such assistance, but do not have the funds to hire a ‘full service’ lawyer to represent them in court. (‘Unbundled legal services’)

Many lawyers see the delivery of unbundled services as undermining the profession. Still others fear malpractice claims or professional insurance problems when self-represented litigants turn on the lawyer who assisted them.

Dr. Julie Macfarlane and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project continue to educate lawyers and law students about the SRL crisis – and now focus on untapped business opportunities for lawyers willing to add a new product: Unbundled Services to self-represented persons.

And, in the new NSRLP video (above) we see support for unbundled legal services from some heavy hitters including Chief Justice Robert Bauman of British Columbia, Chief Justice Michael MacDonald of Nova Scotia, and Associate Chief Justice Frank Marrocco of the Superior Court of Ontario.

Kudos to the Justices for their leadership, and to Dr. Macfarlane and the National Self-Represented Litigants Project for their excellent video.

Canadians respond to my Globe and Mail article about solitary confinement and Adam Capay


Last Tuesday I was sitting in an examination room as a new doctor looked at my chart. (Like airline pilots, doctors seem to get younger every day.) When he flipped the pages to read my name again, he stopped, trying to remember something, and then said, “Donald Best… Donald Best. Did you write that column in the Globe and Mail yesterday?”

When I confirmed that I was the author, he called in a nurse, made introductions and the three of us spent the next 15 minutes discussing solitary confinement, my column and how a ‘nice man’ like me came to be housed with some of Canada’s most dangerous prisoners.

It is apparent that my Globe and Mail article ‘Solitary confinement is pure torture. I know, I was there“ touched many of my fellow Canadians who were unware of the horrors of solitary confinement in our prisons.

Prior to my own incarceration for 63 days, I too hadn’t thought much about solitary confinement, and when I did I had no idea about the reality – this despite three decades of service in public and private law enforcement.

But my article resonated with ordinary people, for which I am grateful – because solitary confinement is torture, nothing less. It is not what my Canada is about – or should be about.

In the last week, I received over one hundred emails and other messages of encouragement from all across Canada. My website saw an increase of several thousand additional visitors, and many journalists opened communication with me. I made guest appearances on two ‘talk-radio’ shows in Ottawa and Montreal. Several lawyers contacted me to inquire whether I would provide testimony to assist their clients who are incarcerated in solitary confinement.

(Sure I’ll testify to the truth about what I saw and experienced in solitary confinement. The truth does not have an agenda – it is just the truth.)

The catalyst for all this is, of course, Adam Capay, an indigenous 24-year-old man horrifically kept in solitary confinement for almost five years. His story splashed across the news media for a few days, but has disappeared now that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made some promises and moved Capay to a cell with a television.

Such is the fleeting attention of the public as new stories come and go.

17 Years in Solitary Confinement

Yet, as bad as Adam Capay’s case is – somewhere in Canada, if he is still alive, there is a prisoner who has spent over 17 years in ‘administrative segregation’.

Seventeen years.

This is not the Canada that I believe in. WE, you and I, need to make some changes happen.

Donald Best

4,000+ visitors in the past 3 days. Thank you Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, Colin Perkel

What’s that old saying about there being no bad publicity?

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Now I truly understand why (according to a friendly TorStar reporter) the Toronto Star has had an editor’s ‘kill’ on my story for the past three years – to the point of removing my reader comments from their website even when my comments had nothing to do with my legal case or personal situation.

The Toronto Star made ‘Donald Best’ and ‘DonaldBest.CA’ disappear from their website.

Could it be libel chill that caused the newspaper to censor my story, name and website? Could it have something to do with the fact that two of the senior lawyers I sued regularly act for the Toronto Star and other mainstream news media, even representing them all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada on occasion?

Big Media won’t allow their journalists to cover my story

In the last few years I’ve been interviewed by many Canadian journalists from such outlets as the Toronto Star, National Post, Sun Media, Globe and Mail and CTV.

It usually starts in the same manner. The reporter stumbles across my website, listens to the voice recordings, downloads the transcripts and other evidence and then contacts me almost breathless for an interview. Their instinct tells them there are several good stories here, and their healthy professional skepticism is soon satisfied by the quality of my evidence.

(It’s tough to dispute forensically-certified voice recordings of me telling lawyers that I did NOT receive a certain court order – and then read the same lawyers’ sworn testimony and transcripts falsely telling the judge that during the same telephone call I ‘confessed’ that I HAD received the court order. What the lawyers did is called ‘perjury’ and ‘obstruct justice’.)

Each time I politely answer the journalist’s questions, provide them with the backup evidence they request, and each time nothing appears in the news media. A very few journalists contacted me afterwards and in a forthright manner explained in frustration and perhaps some shame what I already knew was happening.

The mainstream news media has censored my story since 2013, yet four days ago on June 21, 2016, only hours after the Appeal Court of Ontario released a decision that was critical of my lawyer Paul Slansky, the Toronto Star, National Post and Toronto Sun all ran the same one-sided, incomplete and inaccurate story about my lawyer and my case.

Journalist Colin Perkel

Award-winning senior Canadian Press Journalist Colin Perkel

Did the powers that be decide that the award-winning Canadian Press reporter Colin Perkel should write a story and it would be published nationwide? Or, did Mr. Perkel somehow trip across an Appeal Court release within a few hours, decide to cover the story himself and then convince his editors to publish?

Mr. Perkel never contacted me. His story contains inaccuracies, no background and certainly no reference to DonaldBest.CA where Canadians can listen to voice recordings, examine the evidence and decide what happened for themselves.  Read more

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