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Ottawa judge rules his colleague showed no appearance of bias

December 1, 2012

Judge who threatened Defendant with contempt then stormed out of court showed no bias against Defendant: Nov. 29 ruling.

Justice Peter B. Annis of the Ontario Superior Court has ruled that his colleague, Justice Robert N. Beaudoin did not present a “reasonable apprehension of bias” in the defamation case of St. Lewis v. Rancourt.

Beaudoin withdrew from the case on July 24, 2012, after the Defendant submitted an April 24, 2012 Ottawa Citizen article about him in court that revealed Beaudoin had a financial relationship with the University of Ottawa and that the lawfirm representing the university in the case, Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), had named a boardroom in honour of Beaudoin’s late son.

In his ruling, Annis states:

 “It is unreasonable to suggest that the mere act of respect by a law firm towards one of its associates who was the son of a judge and whose untimely death touched the firm could indirectly cause the judge to be biased in favour of the law firm’s clients. Were this to be the case, Beaudoin J. could not hear any case pleaded by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. This is an untenable proposition that fails to recognize that lawyers are officers of the court who are required to advance their clients’ interests without adopting them as their own.” [emphasis added]

Justice Annis is himself a former partner of the BLG firm. His ruling is available HERE.

A November 30, 2012 Ottawa Citizen article about the judge’s decision is posted HERE.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Steve permalink
    December 1, 2012 2:39 pm

    “Justice Annis is himself a former partner of the BLG firm.” – so let me guess…we have a former BLG partner determining whether a judge, whose deceased son (was a BLG lawyer) had been given a boardroom, by BLG, in the son’s name – determining with this judge could rise above any form of bias and came out with the foregone conclusion that this judge is super human and could do so. And here I thought judges, like lawyers, police officials, senior administrators must all have a higher duty and level to abide by, unlike the rest of us who are merely mortal. I’m sorry, but even the appearance of a conflict of interest at these high levels must be enough to force any senior offical to recuse himself or herself from a situation that even has the whiff of impropriety. Apparently when judges are examing the actions of other judges, there doesn’t seem to be any apparent perceptual issue. We have police forces examining the actions of police forces and doctors examining the actions of other doctors – all seems too cozy and too open to abuse….. even perceptually. Of course if lower beings, like blue collar workers, mothers, people with disabilities, immigrants, or students tried to examine the actions of others in their groups, the elites (read white, straight, old and male) would harangue these efforts as unethical. The higher up the food chain one moves, among elites they either don’t care about ethics or somehow elite authorities self delude themselves into believing they are superhuman and can be “unbiased.” Of course, being human and making choices, regardless of our sphere of life, every single one of us is subject to and operate through bias. In any event, it doesn’t surprise me that one judge will give another judge a pass. Isn’t that what elites do for one another – unless it’s absolutely, most obviously, mind-numbingly crystal clear that wrong doing occurred? Something to ponder I suppose…..

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