Judge J. Bryan Shaughnessy under investigation by Canadian Judicial Council
“In all my years of practicing law, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen a judge do.” (Senior Ontario lawyer writes to Donald Best after examining the evidence filed against Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy.)
“It is obvious that, as previously documented by the news media in other cases, the Canadian Judicial Council is delaying and drawing out the process to enable a subject judge to wind down their caseload and retire without an investigation and resolution.
This CJC cover-up strategy is not in the public interest. Therefore, I have decided to ‘go public’ with the details of the complaint about Justice Shaughnessy’s serious misconduct, and will do so on February 9, 2016.” (Donald Best in a February 4, 2016 letter to Mr. Norman Sabourin, Executive Director, Canadian Judicial Council)
The Canadian Judicial Council is investigating Ontario Superior Court Judge J. Bryan Shaughnessy for serious misconduct involving the illegal and secret substitution of a court order; made in secret and off the court record in a deliberate, vindictive and premeditated extra-judicial abuse of his position and authority.
On May 3, 2013 after court had finished and I had been sentenced and taken into custody, Justice Shaughnessy then went to a backroom where he secretly increased my prison sentence, without a hearing, without informing me as a self-represented litigant, and arranged everything so I would not discover the increased sentence until told by the prison staff at some unknown time in the future.
It is a given that Justice Shaughnessy would not have committed this misconduct had I been represented by a lawyer, but as a self-represented litigant I was vulnerable and defenseless against his abuse of power.
I wrote about Justice Shaughnessy’s actions in a December 2, 2015 article published on my website, and included copies of Justice Shaughnessy’s original January 15, 2010 Warrant of Committal and his secretly substituted May 3, 2013 order that increased my jail sentence by a month without informing me.
(click photos to see full size*)
I made a formal complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council, the organization mandated to investigate misconduct by federally appointed judges, however it appears that the organization is ‘going slow’ in its investigation of Justice Shaughnessy in an obvious strategy to enable a subject judge to wind down their caseload and retire without an investigation and resolution.
This is not in the public interest and I have therefore decided to publish the complaint, all supporting evidence and my communications with the CJC so that Canadians can have transparency and be able to discuss this and similar incidents of serious judicial misconduct.
February 4, 2016 letter to CJC Director Norman Sabourin
(.pdf copy available below)
February 4, 2016
Complaint re: Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy, Ontario Superior Court of Justice
CJC Complaint #: 15-0514
Court File Number: 000141/07 (07-0141)
Case Name: Nelson Barbados Group Ltd. v. Richard Ivan Cox et al
Date of misconduct: May 3, 2013
Dear Mr. Sabourin:
On January 7, 2016, the Canadian Judicial Council acknowledged receiving my complaint about Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy, dated and submitted on January 5, 2016.
The evidence proves that Justice Shaughnessy illegally and secretly made a court order in a backroom: off the court record in a deliberate, vindictive and premeditated extra-judicial abuse of his position and authority.
On January 21, 2016, I sent an email informing you that:
• I have not yet received an investigation schedule/plan as requested, or acknowledgement that the CJC has forwarded this complaint to Stage 2 under the CJC’s New Process.
• Several senior Canadian lawyers, including a serving Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, reviewed the evidence/exhibits attached to the complaint. Without exception, these senior lawyers are appalled at Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct. As an example, one senior Ontario lawyer said, “In all my years of practicing law, this is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen a judge do.”
• It is not in the public interest for the CJC to delay the process and run out the clock with the intent of allowing Justice Shaughnessy to wind down his caseload and retire without an investigation and resolution.
• It is especially not in the public interest that persons continue to appear in court before Justice Shaughnessy, considering the serious nature of his misconduct and the strength of the evidence against him. As I stated when submitting the complaint: a judge capable of doing what Justice Shaughnessy did should not be allowed to adjudicate any further matters until this complaint is resolved.
I feel obliged to inform you of the reason that I complained to the CJC. This issue is much larger than the actions of one judge on one day, and much larger than what happened to me.
Judges are entrusted with such overwhelming power and statutory protections that this type of egregious misconduct must be vigorously deterred.
That any judge would do what Justice Shaughnessy did; illegally, vindictively, in secret, in a backroom and off the court record, is immensely disturbing to every lawyer I have spoken with.
Justice Shaughnessy’s May 3, 2013 misconduct is a ‘Bright Line’ case
Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct on May 3, 2013 is so serious and so well proven in the court record that it provides a clear ‘Bright Line’ case – one that will establish a deterrent to any Canadian judges who would act extra-judicially and misuse their power and authority.
As of February 3, 2016, the CJC had this complaint for 30 days.
I am aware that the CJC assigned a case number and that CJC personnel read the complaint and the exhibits on January 7, 2016. As director, you undoubtedly knew soon thereafter that Justice Shaughnessy’s documented misconduct is egregious, easily understood and well proven in the record.
You as CJC Director, and I as an experienced former police investigator, know that there is no valid reason why a CJC investigator should not have completed their initial investigation by this time and recommended moving the complaint to Stage 3.
The Canadian Judicial Council is not exhibiting the necessary transparency and public accountability. It is apparent that the CJC now has a cover-up/whitewash strategy in place regarding Justice Shaughnessy’s misconduct.
It is obvious that, as previously documented by the news media in other cases, the CJC is delaying and drawing out the process to enable a subject judge to wind down their caseload and retire without an investigation and resolution.
This CJC cover-up strategy is not in the public interest.
Therefore, I have decided to ‘go public’ with the details of the complaint about Justice Shaughnessy’s serious misconduct, and will do so on February 9, 2016.
There is precedent for this, as shown by the public discussions of the CJC investigations concerning Justices Robin Camp, Lori Douglas, Michel Girouard, Robert Flahiff, Paul Cosgrove, Ted Matlow, Michel Deziel and others.
Further, the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association states on its website:
“Despite their independence, judges are accountable for their actions and decisions. Hearings, trials and rulings are open to public scrutiny, so justice is seen to be done and citizens and the media can discuss and criticize the work of the courts.”
Justice Shaughnessy’s extra-judicial abuse of his authority was done in secret, in a backroom and was not open to public scrutiny or discussion. Canadians must now be able to discuss and criticize his misconduct and similar actions by other judges.
I do not know if the CJC has informed Justice Shaughnessy of the complaint. To be fair and just to him, he should not be ‘blindsided’ in any way. Please ensure that Justice Shaughnessy receives a copy of the complaint and all the supporting exhibits by February 7, 2016.
Copies of the January 5, 2016 Complaint, emails and exhibits
January 5, 2016 Complaint to CJC – 12 pages, no exhibits (pdf 218kb)
January 7, 2016 Receipt of Complaint – email (pdf 102kb)
January 21, 2016 Letter to CJC – (pdf 188kb)
February 4, 2016 Letter to CJC – (pdf 254kb)
Supporting Exhibits as sent to CJC with Complaint
In .pdf format. Some of the full court transcripts are rather large.
Exhibit & Description
- A January 15, 2010 Warrant of Committal (103kb)
- B May 3, 2013 Warrant of Committal (752kb)
- C January 15, 2010 Transcript (7.7mb)
- D January 15, 2010 Court Order (866kb)
- E January 25, 2010 Reasons On Motion For Contempt (702kb)
- F August 9, 2012 Transcript (5mb)
- G August 9, 2012 Endorsement (1.5mb)
- H August 9, 2012 Court Order (129kb)
- I October 12, 2012 Transcript (12.5mb)
- J October 12, 2012 Court Order (83kb)
- K October 12, 2012 & November 16, 2012 Endorsements (284kb)
- L November 16, 2012 Transcript (1mb)
- M December 11, 2012 Transcript (45.1mb Large File)
- N December 11, 2012 Endorsement (326kb)
- O November 16, 2012 Draft Order (94kb)
- P January 25, 2013 Transcript (9.7mb)
- Q January 25, 2013 Endorsement (234kb)
- R April 30, 2013 Transcript (2.3mb)
- S May 3, 2013 Transcript (9mb)
- T May 3, 2013 Judgment (255kb)
- U June 14, 2013 Appeal Court Order (83kb)
- V April 15, 2014 Order of Justice Molloy (334kb)
* The photos of the Original Warrant of Committal (January 15, 2010) and the Secretly Changed Warrant of Committal (May 3, 2013) have been cropped and tightened for space. The originals are available as PDFs with the links found in the article.
* Public domain photo of Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy has been modified to remove others in the background and is a new work by Donald Best. The photo has been included to put context to the article. Its use is the same as many Canadian news outlets that continue to publish photos of many Superior Court Justices who were or are under investigation by the CJC and other authorities.