Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas is facing removal from her position due to an inquiry on nude images of her being posted on the Internet without her consent. On Tuesday, October 29, the Canadian Judicial Council's independent counsel, Suzanne Cote, said that some judges on the committee that appointed Douglas to her position in 2005 were not aware of the photos and would have decided differently. Cote also argued that the members of the Canadian Judicial Council panel should see Douglas’ photos because they were part of evidence.
In 2003, when Douglas was still a lawyer in private practice, her husband Jack King, also a lawyer, reportedly gave three of many intimate photographs he had taken of his wife to a client named Alex Chapman. King also allegedly enticed Chapman to have sex with his wife. In response, Chapman alleged sexual harassment and received $25,000 from King’s firm to keep quiet. However, Chapman kept the photographs and sent them to the media in 2010.
— CBC Canadian News (@CBCCanada) October 8, 2014
Douglas has claimed all this time that she had no knowledge of her husband’s actions. Now, Cote is saying that the photos call into question whether the public can believe that Douglas can impartially decide cases.
“The photos have been made publicly available without my knowledge or consent and in violation of her privacy rights,” Douglas argued in her notice of motion. “Such conduct by others is not capable of supporting a recommendation of removal (from the bench).”
The inquiry aims to determine whether Douglas failed to disclose knowledge of the nude photos on the Internet when she applied to become a judge, whether she changed a diary entry after learning she was being subject to an investigation, and whether her presence on the bench undermines the integrity of the justice system.
Cote argued that Douglas was obliged “to explicitly disclose that the (pictures) had been in the public domain.” Cote also argued that it was necessary for the panel to see the pictures to come to a conclusion. “You cannot simply ignore what it is that these images depict,” she said.