A former justice of the peace involved in a long series of litigation against the Ministry of the Attorney General and the vice chairman of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has lost his bid to have “some disinterested person” hear his discrimination case.
Regis Jogendra had gone before the Superior Court to press for an appointment under the Public Officers Act over his concerns over bias given that his complaint before the HRTO names it as a respondent. As Law Times previously reported, Jogendra, whom an earlier ruling noted was a “barrister and solicitor in another common law jurisdiction,” has been involved in several human rights rulings over the years, including the initial complaint that centred on allegations of discrimination on the basis of ancestry, colour, ethnic origin, place of origin, and race due to the government’s failure to assign him a full-time presiding appointment.
By the time he launched the human rights complaint, he had already retired from his position as a justice of the peace in 2003.
In the meantime, he had entered into an agreement with the Crown related to earlier criminal charges against him. Under the agreement, the Crown was to withdraw 10 counts of sexual assault against him as long as he appeared before the Justices of the Peace Review Council and admitted to the allegations. That was back in 2000. But before the parties could implement the agreement, he faced a further allegation of sexual assault in 2001. He was acquitted on that charge in 2003.
Jogendra ended up filing his complaint about the promotion in 2007. He also alleged discrimination stemming from the government’s failure to indemnify him for legal costs in defending the criminal charges.
On March 3, 2009, HRTO vice chairman David Muir dismissed Jogendra’s complaint. The ruling sparked another HRTO complaint against the human rights body itself and Muir. Earlier this year, HRTO member Pamela Chapman dismissed that application, but the matter proceeded in the Superior Court over the appointment of a disinterested person.
But now Superior Court Justice Duncan Grace has rejected that application. “A bare allegation of misconduct against a tribunal does not disqualify all of its members from acting,” Duncan wrote. “There must be an evidentiary foundation which breathes life into the assertion: gives it substance. . . . Mr. Jogendra has failed to satisfy me that he has a ‘cause’ which extends to the tribunal itself or to all of its members.”
Grace also dismissed Jogendra’s assertions that Chapman shouldn’t have gone ahead and issued her ruling while the court matter was pending. “There have been circumstances justifying criticism of a party’s decision to act in the face of a pending proceeding and in an order setting aside actions circumventing the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction. This is not such a case,” he wrote, adding the HRTO was “at liberty to continue with its process in the absence of an order preventing it from doing so.”
The court will now consider the issue of costs.