|Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas. (QMI Agency files)
The inquiry into Manitoba associate chief Justice Lori Douglas’ sex scandal is again facing dissolution.
A motion filed by Douglas’s lawyer, Sheila Block, calls for the Federal Court of Canada to quash the inquiry over “reasonable apprehension of bias.”
Block alleges George Macintosh, a lawyer asking questions on behalf of the inquiry’s five-member oversight committee, has engaged in “aggressive and argumentative questions, sexist and insulting references, misstatements and distortions of the evidence and attacks on (Douglas’) character and credibility” during the probe.
She has made similar complaints about Macintosh’s questioning of Michael Sinclair, a former managing partner of a law firm that Douglas worked for in 2003 at the time of certain events leading to the scandal.
A separate motion filed Monday by Guy Pratte, a lawyer leading the inquiry, called for Macintosh to be banned from further questioning.
Macintosh cross-examined lawyer Jack King, Douglas’ husband, for an hour, questioning him about nude photographs he had taken of his wife and what she knew or did not know about them. Pratte had already asked King similar questions.
Macintosh is directly attached to the inquiry, while Pratte is an independent lawyer appointed to represent the public.
The five-member inquiry committee released a ruling on Monday, re-affirming its opinion that there is no appearance of bias.
The inquiry is already on hold until late September due to scheduling issues, after several witnesses -- including King and alleged sexual harassment victim Alex Chapman -- were on the stand to testify for periods longer than initially planned.
The inquiry is tasked with determining whether Douglas is guilty of sexually harassing Chapman, as he alleges, whether she failed to disclose the situation when she applied to become a judge, and whether the online existence of risque pictures has made it impossible for Douglas to remain on the bench.