A Manitoba judge whose nude photos were posted online by her husband will voluntarily retire from the bench rather than endure another hearing into whether she should be removed from her position.
A three-person panel investigating Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas approved a settlement between the judge and the Canadian Judicial Council on Monday.
Under the agreement, Judge Douglas will retire in May and hearings into her conduct will be dropped. The judicial council said pursuing the matter after Ms. Douglas retires would not be in the public interest.
A hearing into the case was to start on Monday, but lawyer Sheila Block told the panel her client reached an agreement with the judicial council. Four years of having her personal life scrutinized has taken its toll on Ms. Douglas, Ms. Block said.
"Even though she loved being a judge, considered it an honour and privilege to serve, she is at the point where this is the best choice for her, for her son and elderly father, for her late husband's children and the rest of her family," Ms. Block said.
"To withstand more weeks of hearing into entirely private matters and risk the viewing of her intimate images by colleagues and others, is more than she can bear."
Ms. Douglas has also asked that the intimate photos of her taken by her husband be returned to her so they can be destroyed.
Chief Justice François Rolland, chairman of the panel, said members agreed it was "academic" and "not appropriate to pursue this matter" given Ms. Douglas's early retirement.
Although the judicial council and Ms. Douglas drafted a public statement on the settlement, Justice Rolland said Ms. Douglas can't speak publicly until she is formally retired in May, 2015.
Ms. Block declined to comment after the hearing and said the public statement wouldn't be released citing the panel's ban.
The disciplinary panel was examining whether the photos were "inherently contrary to the image and concept of integrity" of the judiciary and whether they undermined public confidence in the justice system.
The panel was also looking into whether Ms. Douglas disclosed the existence of the photos before she was appointed to the bench in 2005.
Ms. Douglas, who has been on paid leave since 2010 and is in her late fifties, will be eligible for early retirement next year after sitting on the bench for 10 years.
Ms. Douglas's late husband, lawyer Jack King, posted the intimate photos of his wife online more than a decade ago and showed them to a client, Alexander Chapman, to try to entice him to have sex with her. Mr. Chapman later alleged the behaviour was sexual harassment.
He was paid $25,000 to destroy the photos and drop the complaint. But he held on to copies and made them public in 2010.
Ms. Douglas and Mr. King always said Ms. Douglas had no part in Mr. King's actions, which King later described as "bizarre, ridiculous, stupid, self-indulgent, grotesque." Mr. King died of cancer last spring and Ms. Douglas has been on paid leave since 2010.