July 27, 2012
Judicial appointment committee told of sex-scandal photos
By Dean Pritchard QMI Agency
WINNIPEG -- A judicial appointment committee was aware sexually compromising pictures of Lori Douglas had been previously posted on the Internet when it recommended Douglas be named a judge, an inquiry was told Friday.
Court of Appeal Justice Martin Freedman was chair of a committee that recommended Douglas’s appointment to the family division of Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench in April 2005.
Freedman said committee members were made aware of allegations that Douglas’s husband Jack King had solicited a client to have sex with Douglas and posted nude pictures of her on the Internet. Freedman said it was the understanding of committee members that Douglas was “an innocent victim” and that the pictures had been removed from the Internet.
Freedman said committee secretary Margaret Rose Jamieson was asked to interview Douglas, who confirmed the allegations.
Jamieson testified she had no recollection of being asked to interview Douglas but had a “flashback” memory of speaking to Douglas on the telephone.
“She said to me, ‘I should tell you about a situation and a settlement that has been reached,’” Jamieson said.
Douglas, Jamieson said, told her that King had taken nude pictures of her, posted them on the Internet, and given copies to “a friend.” Douglas told Jamieson the matter had been “completely resolved” and asked “if I should be concerned.”
“I said it’s up to you to decide, I can’t give you legal advice or any other advice,” Jamieson said.
Freedman said the committee agreed to recommend -- but not highly recommend -- that Douglas be appointed to the bench. The recommendation was “flagged” and forwarded to federal justice minister Irwin Cotler.
“We wanted to make sure he knew what we knew,” Freedman said.
Independent counsel Kirsten Crain said at least two committee members are expected to testify they had no memory of being told about the photo allegations.
“I have to say, with respect, that they are mistaken,” Freedman said.
On her paper application, Douglas wrote no when asked if there was anything in her past that would reflect negatively on her or the judiciary.
“My understanding was that Ms. Douglas considered it a dead and closed issue... that she was an innocent victim and nothing else would surface,” Freedman said.
“I and other members of the committee obviously accepted (the response). I didn’t think I was being misled.”
Freedman said he had heard rumours of the scandal when it surfaced in legal circles in 2003.
“I found out about it at the coffee table at the court house,” he said.