The complainant alleged that the judgment on a motion for costs in a civil lawsuit and the judge’s oral reasons that were reported in the media made a mockery of the Criminal Code and that it condoned and monetized violence against women.

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The complainant alleged that the judgment on a motion for costs in a civil lawsuit and the judge’s oral reasons that were reported in the media made a mockery of the Criminal Code and that it condoned and monetized violence against women. For context, a trial for sexual assault took place in 1991 and the assaulter was found guilty, fined $1,000 and put on probation. In 2013, the victim launched an action against her assaulter for approximately $1 million in damages. The assaulter offered to settle for $50,000 shortly before the trial, but the victim refused the offer. This civil trial was held before a jury and the jury awarded the victim $45,000 in damages. Once the jury had rendered its decision, the victim sought an award for legal costs in the approximate amount of $60,000.

Judges have discretion at Common Law, and under Court rules, to decide whether or not to grant costs and if so, in what amount. In this instance, the settlement offer was of $50,000, slightly more than the jury granted to the victim. The judge’s comments, as reported in the media, related to the amount of money involved. He noted that the victim would have been wise to accept the offer to settle instead of incurring – and causing others to incur – significant legal expenses in this matter. The Council’s view of the complaint was that it concerned the exercise of judicial discretion in a civil case and did not relate to the judge’s conduct. The matter was closed.

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