CJC criticizes N.S. judge for RCMP visit

The Canadian Judicial Council has cleared Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Ted Scanlan of all but one of the complaints against him.

The case related to complaints about Scanlan’s personal life, including that he “twice accompanied, in a personal capacity, the complainant’s ex-wife when she spoke to RCMP about the complainant’s behaviour, which she found threatening.”

Media reports identified the woman as Karen Quigley, who reportedly is now Scanlan’s wife. Her ex-husband, Gary Willmore, made the complaints about Scanlan.

Five judges, including three chief justices and two other judges from outside Nova Scotia, reviewed the complaint.

“After considering all the facts of the case, the panel found that almost all of the allegations against the judge were unwarranted,” the CJC announced on Friday.

Nevertheless, it said the complaint about the pair’s meeting with police together had merit. “The panel noted that the mere presence of a judge at such meetings could be perceived, by an outside person, as an attempt by a judge to use the prestige of judicial office to influence officials or seek a certain outcome.

“In that regard, the panel expressed its concerns to Justice Scanlan and indicated that judges should generally avoid such situations,” it added.

However, the panel decided not to take any action against Scanlan given that he did not “wilfully try to influence the RCMP officers and did not act in bad faith.”

Scanlan was removed from the courtroom during the long investigation into the complaint but performed other duties in the meantime. The CJC decision paves the way for him to return to regular duties.

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