A Judge Under Fire: Lori Douglas’ Defence

In response to the notice of allegations delivered to Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, her lawyer has submitted a memorandum to the Canadian Judicial Council in rebuttal to their notice.

The document is persuasive, focusing on the fact that Judge Douglas has done nothing to sully her office, rather she is the innocent victim of her husband, Jack King’s actions and Alex Chapman’s avarice and greed.

She points out that “her husband, in acts of unimaginable betrayal, in pursuit of a mad and undisclosed fantasy,” solicited Alex Chapman to have sex with her, all without her knowledge.

She states that the suggestion she had two “social encounters” with Alex Chapman is “grossly misleading” as she never knowingly met with Mr. Chapman. On two occasions her husband and Mr. Chapman arranged to meet and her husband asked her to drop by, never informing her that he was also meeting with his client, Mr. Chapman. She says that each meeting was brief and there was no inappropriate conduct or conversation between her and Mr. Chapman.

With respect to the allegation that Judge Douglas’ answer on the judicial application that she was unaware of any conduct in her past or present that would reflect badly on her as a judge, she says her response was justified because she had not engaged in any questionable behavior, rather any wrongdoing was as a result of her husband’s behavior and was well-known in Manitoba’s legal community.

Senior members of the bench and bar were fully aware of her husband’s conduct and encouraged her to apply for a judicial position. During the application process she was questioned about her husband’s behavior and the publication of intimate photos on the internet and the Judicial Appointment Committee nonetheless recommended her appointment. Earlier during the application process she was advised that Manitoba’s Chief Justice Monnin was uncomfortable with her situation, but later he reversed his position and supported her candidacy for a judicial position.

Judge Douglas acknowledged that she changed one word in her diary out of anger at Mr. Chapman’s false allegations. She said she was unaware that her diary may be evidence and she had no intention of misleading anyone. When questioned about the modification of her diary entry over a year later she confirmed that she did not respond accurately to the query from the Canadian Judicial Council’s lawyer due to an undisclosed medical condition.

In summary, Judge Douglas relies on the concept of judicial independence suggesting that security of tenure is an essential condition of independence and if a judge can be removed from the bench through the “malicious actions of a disgruntled litigant or the disreputable conduct of a spouse, when the judge is innocent of wrongdoing, there is a serious threat to the independence of the judiciary”.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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