The Canadian Judicial Council will hold a public inquiry into a sex scandal involving an associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.The decision comes after a review panel of five judges concluded actions surrounding Lori Douglas may be serious enough to remove her from the bench.
Her lawyer husband, Jack King, has already been reprimanded by the Law Society of Manitoba for suggesting to a client that he have sex with Ms. Douglas eight years ago. She was still a lawyer at that time.
Mr. King also gave Alexander Chapman nude photographs of Ms. Douglas and Mr. King also posted naked photos of her on a website. King at one point paid Mr. Chapman $25,000 for return of the photos, withdrew from practising for 10 months and sought treatment.
The case has generated lurid headlines virtually around the world since it first broke last year when Mr. Chapman decided to sue Mr. King, Ms. Douglas and their former law firm and took his story to the news media. All the lawsuits were eventually dropped or dismissed.
In March, Mr. King pleaded guilty to professional misconduct and was reprimanded by the law society and ordered to pay almost $14,000 to cover investigative and prosecution costs. He apologized for his behaviour, particularly to his wife, who he said had done nothing other than privately indulge him in his strange tastes.
"My behaviour was disgraceful," he said at the hearing. "To my wife, I can never apologize enough."
Mr. King admitted soliciting Mr. Chapman to have sex with Ms. Douglas and to sending him the photos. He also admitted that he arranged two meetings for drinks which all three attended.
Nothing happened and Ms. Douglas was appointed to the bench two years later. Mr. King returned to law and became a partner in a new firm he helped found.
The Judicial Council says additional details about the inquiry are to be released over the coming weeks.
There have only been eight such inquiries since the council's inception in 1971. This is believed to be the first involving a Manitoba judge.
The inquiry committee will be made up of an uneven number of individuals and most will be council members. The justice minister can appoint one or more participants, who must be lawyers with at least 10 years of experience.
An independent lawyer will be selected to present evidence. It will be up to the committee to decide on the scope of its work.
Only Parliament can remove a judge from office.
Ms. Douglas hasn't been hearing any cases since the story broke and in February she stopped her administrative work in the family division of the court where she sat.
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