Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Delay in JP Removal Case Falls at the Feet of Hearing Panel: Nov.19th, 2013 Transcript Reveals

1.   Presenting Counsel's Notice of Hearing issued May 31st, 2013;

2.   Notice of Motion Asserting Lack of Jurisdiction and Abuse of Process
filed June 28th, 2013;

3.   First attendance - July 4th, 2013

4.   July 24th, 2013 - Hearing Panel raises question of law going to jurisdiction
requesting the help of counsel for the parties to resolve the question -
namely - Does the Hearing Panel have jurisdiction to review and overrule
decisions of the Complaints Committee ?;

5.   JP raises concerns about adverse publicity in press from Toronto Star and
Toronto Sun while the issue of the legality of the "complaint" is still to be
decided on. JP initiates motion seeking an interim publication ban on the
allegations in the Notice of Hearing etc. until the issue of the legality of the
complaints are adjudicated. This motion is argued on November 4th, 2013
before a panel composed of Justice Livingstone, H.W. Cuthbertson and high
profile management human rights lawyer and Law Society Tribunal adjudicator,
Ms. Margot Blight;

6.   November 19th, 2013 - Ms. Margot Blight discloses that she sat on a
Complaints Committee involving a complaint brought by the Registrar and
Counsel for the Justices of the Peace Review Council alleging that he provided
false evidence before the Vallencourt Hearing Panel.  As a result of this
disclosure and the issues arising from it, Presenting Counsel made the following
statement in support of an adjournment of the proceedings:

"However, I think, in fairness, this has just been brought to the attention 
of Mr. Guiste and Justice of the Peace Massiah.  I can indicate that if I 
were in his position I would want the opportunity to review all those 
materials and to make proper submissions before the panel.

You appreciate how strongly I have been opposed to the adjournment on the basis
that the abuse of process should have been going, but things arise through 
no fault of anyone. This has arisen. I hesitate to take an aggressive 
position and push this matter forward without allowing you the 
opportunity to have not only Mr. Guiste's submissions but my 
submissions and the law on this area, because my position will be no 
recusal is appropriate, and I want to be able to give you the law, because 
there is law on this" (at p.44-45)

7.   H.W. Cuthbertson stated on November 19th, 2013:

"We are asking counsel to assist us where the jurisdiction is under the Act 
or through any case law for us to sit in judgment of decisions made by the 
complaints committee.  As as Her Honour just stated we think this must be 
answered before the abuse of process issue is put before the Panel.  If we 
have no jurisdiction we cannot hear the abuse of process motion.

So we want to focus your minds to the same place we are as to the importance
of this issue and the sequence, in our view, that should be followed to address it.
Is that helpful, sir ?

8.   On November 19th, 2013 the proceedings were adjourned to April 9th, 
2014* @ 10: A.M. and the parties along with the Hearing Panel scheduled 
the following future hearing dates: April 9th, 28th, 29th, 30th, May 27th, 
29, June 3, 4, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, July 15, 16, 17, 18, 28, 29, 30, 31.  

Presenting Counsel stated the following at p.80 line 23:

MS. HENEIN:  Those dates are all agreeable. I'd ask for what it's worth, 
that the hearing dates be marked preemptory.  

The transcript at p.69 line 22 shows the following:

JUSTICE LIVINGSTONE:  All right.  So the first dates that we're looking at 
are in April. Do you have dates in April, Mr. Guiste ?

MR. GUISTE:  I have the whole of April available.

JUSTICE LIVINSTONE:  Anything else ?  Thank you all very much.  And we will
see you in 2014.

---Whereupon the proceedings adjourned at 1:38 p.m.

Margot Blight Recusal:

9.   By way of letter to the Hearing Panel dated February 12th, 2014 Presenting Counsel
stated, inter alia:

"Although the Complaints Committee concluded that there was no basis for proceeding
with the complaint, His Worship's credibility and previous testimony in 
relation to evidence given during that hearing was considered by the 
Complaints Committee of which Ms. Blight was a member....

   ...I want to be clear that as Presenting Counsel, we take the unequivocal position that
Ms. Blight has displayed no actual bias, nor has she acted inappropriately in any manner
whatsoever.  However, in my role as Presenting Counsel, I must also be 
mindful of the principle that justice must be seen to be done.

   In light of these concerns and issues, coupled with the fact that there is a grave concern
that both this motion by Mr. Guiste, and any outcome of the motion may serve to
protract the hearing unduly and thereby undermine the public in the complaints process,
it is counsels' joint respectful submission that the appropriated manner to deal with this
circumstance, which was not known to the Hearing Panel r to counsel until it was
properly raised by Ms. Blight, is to allow Ms. Blight to recuse herself and have her
position replaced immediately by another JPRC community member."

*The parties agreed on their availability for April 9th,

10.  In and around May 23rd, 2014 the Hearing Panel retained high profile lawyer, Brian
Gover, to provide them legal advice on two jurisdictional questions they raised. Mr.
Gover submitted an opinion dated Mary 23rd, 2014 and the Hearing Panel invited
counsel for the parties to comment on his opinion to them by way of written submissions.

11.  On May 27, 28th and 29th, 2014 the Hearing Panel heard the JP's motion seeking to
quash the Notice of Hearing issued by Presenting Counsel, on among other grounds,
the Hyrciuk Error on the face of the Notice of Hearing

12.   In its Decision on Threshold Jurisdictional Questions dated June 6th, 2015 the
Hearing Panel decided it had jurisdiction to grant the relief sought in the JP's motion.

13.  Following the release of the Decision on Threshold Jurisdiction Questions the
Hearing Panel invited the parties to provide them further submissions on the impact
of the Divisional Court's decision on a judicial review decision involving the JP's
first case.

14.  On July 7th, 2014 the Hearing Panel ruled that it would consider and adjudicate the
abuse of process and jurisdiction motion on the full evidentiary record.

NOTE:  This piece is published here a community service in keeping with the
fundamental principle that Justice Must Be Seen to Be Done. The removal of a
judicial officer is a matter of public importance in the free world. It has been
suggested that the proceedings were delayed by the JP or his counsel, the
author, and the evidence does not support this contention.  

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