Independent counsel must file allegations against Douglas by Tuesday

The independent counsel in the Canadian Judicial Council’s proceedings against Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas has until tomorrow to file the notice of allegation against her.

Guy Pratte, the lawyer acting as independent counsel, was to submit the notice of allegations by May 25 with Douglas’ response to it due by June 1. However, an update from the council last Friday noted the inquiry committee has now extended the notice deadline to tomorrow and Douglas’ response to June 5.

The extension comes as the committee has been making its way through preliminary issues last week as the proceedings got underway in Winnipeg.

The inquiry committee is investigating a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint filed against the judge in September 2010. Alex Chapman, a client of the judge’s husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, issued the complaint that claimed King showed him nude web photos of Douglas performing sexual acts and pressured him to have sex with her.

Among the preliminary issues addressed so far, the committee has decided to hold its hearings in Winnipeg against the submissions of Douglas’ lawyers. They expressed concern about the media attention on the case, but the committee has decided to keep the case local. It has also decided in favour of appointing and funding counsel for Chapman “for the limited purposes of allowing him to make further submissions for an application for standing and associated funding.”

Other issues relate to the review panel’s reasons for deciding to constitute an inquiry committee. Pratte and counsel for Douglas will have until June 15 to make their submissions on the use the committee should make of the information and whether it should be part of the evidentiary record.

The proceedings so far have included submissions by various member of the public seeking intervener status. According to a CBC report, they include citizen blogger Clare Pieuk. The committee is to make its rulings on Chapman, Pieuk, and Douglas’ submissions on the intervener issue by June 25. Hearings in the matter are to take place June 25 to 28 and then during the weeks of July 16 to 27.

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