The Supreme Court of Canada won’t discuss why Justice Clement Gascon briefly disappeared this week, but says it has “full confidence” the reason does not affect the judge’s ability to do his job.
Gascon’s family said Thursday he was in good health, a day after he could not be located for several hours.
In a statement issued through the court, the family acknowledged the judge’s uncharacteristic absence caused “some concern,” but provided no explanation for the odd turn of events.
Ottawa police said late Wednesday that Gascon, 58, had been found safe and sound after he was reported missing earlier in the day and his family had expressed concern for his safety.
Police released no details about what happened or where he was found.
Before he was reported missing, Gascon was last seen near the Supreme Court building just west of Parliament Hill.
“Out of respect for Justice Gascon’s privacy, I can’t tell you why he was absent, but I can say that we have full confidence it doesn’t affect his ability to carry out his duties at the court,” Renee Theriault, the Supreme Court’s executive legal officer, said Thursday.
Last month, the court announced Gascon would step down in September for unspecified personal and family reasons.
In its statement, Gascon’s family expressed thanks for the concern and support of the public.
“Known for his punctuality and diligence, Justice Gascon’s uncharacteristic absence yesterday caused some concern. The family would like to reassure relatives and friends that he is in good health, and is with his family.”
In his own statement, Chief Justice Richard Wagner expressed appreciation to the public, RCMP and Ottawa police.
But the court provided no other information about Gascon’s absence or why he was reported missing.
Gascon was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court in 2002, specializing in commercial law matters, such as restructurings and bankruptcies.
He joined the Quebec Court of Appeal 10 years later and was named to the Supreme Court by Stephen Harper in June 2014.
Prior to his time on the bench, Gascon practised law for more than two decades in Montreal, focusing on civil and commercial litigation and labour law. He also taught at Quebec universities and contributed to a number of books and articles.