Bondage Judge Has Her Defenders

Canada’s publicly funded broadcaster, the CBC, broke the story about Winnipeg’s Justice Lori Douglas, who is under investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council based on a complaint by a former client of Judge Douglas’ husband, himself a prominent family law lawyer in Winnipeg.

The internet is sizzling with details of nude photos of Ms. Douglas and reviews of the complainant, Alexander Chapman’s criminal record and litigation propensity. Public opinion is in no short supply and everyone is entitled to voice their opinion. What irks me, however, is the “holier than thou” attitude of the Manitoba Bar Association, a provincial branch of the Canadian Bar Association , which is a national lobby group for those Canadian lawyers who choose to be a member.

The Bar Association has condemned the CBC for their “unwarranted attack” and “savage” reporting on Judge Douglas. They complain that the CBC report contained “graphic and salacious details” that could “potentially have a damaging effect on the people involved.”

The Association certainly could not have read the CBC report that I read. I believe that given the delicate subject matter, coupled with the “holy grail” – the judiciary, the CBC report was both professional and tasteful. For the Association to suggest that a story about an Associate Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench be suppressed or diluted because it may have a “damaging effect” is naivety at its worst. When a person enters the public arena, whether they be politicians, union leaders, high-ranking civil servants, police chiefs or the like, they are afforded a respect that compels them to be models of integrity. Judges rank at the top of the “deference” list, so when they fall, it is never a soft landing.

A free press is one of the hallmarks of a a democratic society. To impose limitations as suggested by the Bar Association makes a mockery of free and independent speech. It is not the CBC that the Bar should chastise. There is likely plenty of blame to go around, but it will only be after a full investigation that we will know where the truth lies.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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