Help fund the public inquiry into the Canadian Judicial Council

As standard CJC practice, Director Norman Sabourin summarily dismisses complaints against judges without investigations or providing reasons.

To the benefit of all Canadians, we need your financial support to force modern standards of accountability, transparency and performance upon the Canadian Judicial Council – the organization mandated to investigate and discipline Canada’s federal judges.

The Canadian Judicial Council summarily dismisses the vast majority of complaints against judges without investigation or even talking with the complainants. Now Canadians have the one perfect case with which to challenge the CJC’s performance and arbitrary standards, but we need your help to cover court costs.

Donald Best, his legal team and their supporters are challenging the Canadian Judicial Council’s wholesale dismissal of misconduct complaints against judges. The CJC summarily disposes of the vast majority of complaints against judges without investigations, public accountability or transparency.

The Donald Best case is perfect for this challenge. That’s why Canada’s Attorney General and the Canadian Judicial Council are fighting tooth and nail to keep this from going to a public trial.

The person bringing this challenge, Donald Best, is acting in the public interest for all Canadians and gains nothing personally from bringing or winning this legal action which is currently before the courts.

Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police

Donald Best is a former Toronto Police Sergeant and business person who, while traveling in Asia, was found guilty of contempt of court in a civil business matter in Ontario, Canada. While Best was out of the country and unaware of the court hearing, corrupt lawyers placed provably fabricated evidence before a Federal Court judge – Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy – falsely claiming that Best had informed the lawyers during a phone call that he had received a certain court order.

In fact, during the phone call Best clearly stated over a dozen times to the lawyers that he had not received the court order and asked the lawyers to please send him a copy. After the call, the lawyers lied to the judge in writing and orally on the court record, falsely saying that Best had ‘confessed’ to receiving the court order. Based upon this false evidence, the judge convicted Best of contempt of court ‘in absentia’ (while Best was not present) and sentenced him to three months in prison.

Fortunately, Best had recorded the phone call and returned to Canada to place evidence before the court that proved the lawyers lied to the judge to obtain his conviction.

“In an obvious effort to protect the Bay Street lawyers, Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy refused to listen to Best’s recordings, refused to consider the new evidence of his innocence and refused to allow him to cross-examine the very lawyers and witnesses that the judge relied upon to convict and sentence Best at the secret hearing.”

Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy

Justice Shaughnessy upheld Best’s original conviction and three month prison sentence. Court ended, Justice Shaughnessy left the courtroom and Mr. Best was taken away to prison. Then, secretly, in a backroom and off the court record with no transcript and no endorsement on the court record, the Judge illegally created a new Warrant of Committal and increased Best’s prison time by 50%. Mr. Best had no lawyer, wasn’t present and the backroom judge never told him what he had done.

This new secret Warrant of Committal was given only to the prison authorities and was not placed into the court records. The prison warden informed Best about the increased sentence when he arrived at the prison – saying that he had never seen such a thing before in 30 years with the Correctional Service.

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.

Nonetheless, when Best complained to the Canadian Judicial Council about Justice Shaughnessy’s serious misconduct, the CJC didn’t even investigate, saying that the judge’s actions were not ‘conduct’ under the CJC’s mandate.  

Without published standards and rules, the CJC arbitrarily defines what is and is not ‘judicial conduct’ in a self-serving manner on a case by case basis so they can reject any complaint. Donald Best is challenging this in court.

Outrageously, the Attorney General of Canada is defending and condoning the corrupt judge’s backroom misconduct – and is using every procedural trick in the book to delay and derail Mr. Best’s case.

Former Cabinet Minister Julian Fantino

Who Supports Donald Best?

In the past few years, hundreds of ordinary Canadians contacted Donald Best with messages of support. Lawyers volunteered to provide legal research in support of his lawsuit. Peter A. Allard Q.C., founder of the Allard Prize for International Integrity, praised Donald Best as “One of Canada’s most methodical and well documented whistleblowers.”

Julian Fantino, former Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, former federal Cabinet Minister and current member of the Queen’s Privy Council, swore a comprehensive affidavit supporting Donald Best and documenting illegal conduct against Mr. Best by police, lawyers and a judge. Mr. Fantino launched his own ongoing court motion to gain Intervenor standing in Mr. Best’s CJC judicial review case.

Donald Best’s story has been told in the Toronto Star. Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper published his article ’Solitary confinement is pure torture. I know, I was there.’

The University of Windsor law school and the National Self-represented Litigants Project told Donald Best’s story on their website article ’The client most lawyer fear – and won’t represent at any price’. The NSRLP Director Dr. Julie Macfarlane recently commented on the necessity of the Donald Best CJC court challenge.

Please contribute $25, $100 or whatever you can to support our 2018 legal challenge to the Canadian Judicial Council.

Contribute anonymously to the Donald Best CJC Challenge GoFundMe campaign.

2 comments

  • Thanks to all for your kind emails of support.

    We just received this from Dr. Julie Macfarlane, Director of the NSRLP – National Self-Represented Litigants Project out of Windsor Law School:

    —————————-

    The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) of which I am the Director has been extremely concerned – and made this concern clear – for many years about the process for reviewing and adjudicating complaints brought against a member of the judiciary by a member of the public.

    Many of the complaints brought to the CJC each year are now brought by self-represented litigants. The “mandate” of the CJC excludes most of these complaints as written.

    In order to rebuild public confidence in the judicial system, a robust overhaul of the complaints process – including assistance for members of the public who wish to bring forward a complaint – is essential.

    Mr Best’s judicial review claim is an example of the extraordinary lengths to which it is presently necessary to go to draw attention to this flawed system and the lack of public accountability that the CJC reflects.

    Yours truly,

    Dr Julie Macfarlane
    Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law

  • As broke as I am please count me in. I will get back to you when I return to Toronto in 2 weeks time. I know first hand about this practice by the CJC

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