Madam Justice Lori Douglas, the Canadian judge featured in pornographic pictures with an S&M flavor, has been something of a whipping girl over the past two years. She has been publicly humiliated, with her name dragged through the mud — even though, when you stop and think about it, she was the real victim.
Now Her Honor will get her day in court — or at least before the Canadian Judicial Council, which is conducting an inquiry into her conduct. But so will her nemesis, Alex Chapman, the man with a checkered past who opened up this whole mess in the first place….
Yesterday the committee had to decide whether to give various parties the right to participate in the investigation of Justice Douglas. As reported by the Winnipeg Free Press:
[T]he inquiry committee unanimously rejected applications by Cher Hazen and blogger Clare Pieuk, saying neither had a personal interest in the matter and didn’t bring any expertise in the matter to the hearing.
Hazen said she wanted to be part of the inquiry because she is worried Douglas’s alleged personal behaviour affected her child-custody hearing.
Pieuk argued he should be given standing to represent the public because “if there is no public intervener, is it really a public inquiry?”
But the committee told him as a blogger member of the media he was welcome to sit in the public courtroom, but was not to be granted standing.
That seems about right. Media access to public proceedings is important, but it’s not clear why members of the media should have standing to participate in such proceedings (aside from litigating over access if access is denied). As commentator Lindor Reynolds observed:
Thankfully, the Lori Douglas circus was denied an extra ring Monday when a local blogger’s request for standing was unanimously dismissed. The blogger, who should learn no worthy sentence begins with the words “I believe it behooves… ” proved committee chairwoman Catherine Fraser is possessed of immaculate manners and infinite patience. In a lesser setting, the blogger would have been yanked out of the room with a giant hook.
That’s the good news for Justice Douglas. Here’s the bad news, via CBC News:
[T]he inquiry panel ruled on Tuesday that Alex Chapman has been awarded limited standing at the inquiry. That means Chapman, whose complaint launched the inquiry, will receive funding for a lawyer to question three people on the stand: Douglas, her husband Jack King, and Chapman’s former lawyer, Ian Histed.
Both the independent counsel and lawyers for Douglas were opposed to Chapman getting any kind of standing. The inquiry committee said in no way is its decision meant to undermine the role of independent counsel at the hearing.
The independent counsel, Guy Pratte, argued that Chapman should just be a witness: “There is no room for a complainant… to complement the job of independent counsel. He seeks to bring forward no new facts.”
In other actions, the investigatory panel ruled that “discs containing nude photos of Douglas and other women will be considered as a separate complaint against the judge.”
It’s not clear whether the latest nude pics feature Douglas and the other women separately or whether the photos show Douglas cavorting with the other women. Although I have some journalistic curiosity about what exactly the pictures show, another part of me just doesn’t want to know.
We’ve all seen more than enough of Justice Lori Douglas by now, haven’t we?
Complainant gets standing at hearing into Manitoba judge’s naked photos [Canadian Press]
Judge to take stand at Manitoba sex inquiry [CBC News]
Chapman to have role in Douglas inquiry: judge [Winnipeg Free Press]
Decision on standing due today [Winnipeg Free Press]
Appeal for role in inquiry an insult to true victim [Winnipeg Free Press]