Update in the work of the Inquiry Committee in the Douglas ACJ matter

Ottawa, 25 May 2012 – The Inquiry Committee met in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Saturday 19 may 2012 to decide certain preliminary matters. The transcript of proceedings is now available on the CJC website.

At this initial hearing, the Inquiry Committee noted that Independent Counsel has the responsibility to present evidence that is both favourable and unfavourable to the judge, in keeping with his obligation to act fairly and impartially.

The Committee directed Independent Counsel to submit a "Notice of Allegations" no later than 25 May. The Committee noted that there was no procedural right for a judge to make a response; however, in this case, counsel for Douglas ACJ will have an opportunity to file a submission in response to the Notice of Allegations. This must be received by the Committee no later than 1 June. After both of these are received, the Committee will make these submissions publicly available. The Committee has now extended from May 25 to May 29 the deadline for filing the Notice of Allegations, and the judge's response accordingly will be due on June 5.

The ruling of 15 May indicated that the Committee was recently provided with certain information relevant to the case, including the Review Panel's reasons for deciding to constitute an Inquiry Committee. However, Independent Counsel and counsel for the judge wish to make further submissions about the use that the Committee should make of this information, and whether such information should be part of the evidentiary record of the Committee. The deadline for those submissions is 15 June; the Committee will make a ruling thereafter.

Other submissions will be accepted by individuals who are seeking standing or intervener status: Mr Chapman and Mr Pieuk. Mr Chapman's submissions are to be received in writing by 18 June. Mr Pieuk's submissions are to be submitted within 10 days of his receiving the Notice of Allegations and the judge's response. Rulings on those submissions will be made by the Committee either in writing prior to the recommencement of the hearing or on the first day of the hearing, now scheduled for 25 June.

For Mr Chapman, the Committee agreed that counsel should be appointed and funded for the limited purposes of allowing him to make further submissions for an application for standing and associated funding.

By 15 June, the Committee will have received submissions from counsel as to what information they believe should be redacted from the public record of all submissions received to this point. The Committee will address that issue and release a public record of the submission to date prior to the recommencement of the hearing. Until then, the complaints and the various submissions will not be publicly available.

The Committee has determined that future hearings will be held in Winnipeg. It has set aside the following dates for hearings (not all dates may be needed):25-28 June; 16-20 July; 23-27 July.

Information about the Council, including the process for public inquiries, can be found on the Council's website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.

Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 302