Canadian Judicial Council completes its review of complaints against Justice Peter Leask
OTTAWA, 20 September 2007 – The Canadian Judicial Council has announced today the results of its review of complaints made against the Honourable Peter Leask of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Justice Leask was the subject of complaints as a result of his use of coarse language during proceedings in March 2007.
The complaints against Justice Leask were reviewed by the Honourable Richard J. Scott, Chief Justice of Manitoba and Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee of Council. Chief Justice Scott sought and reviewed comments from Justice Leask in this matter. Justice Leask indicated that he is aware that his use of language was improper, and pointed out that he immediately made a formal public apology to convey his genuine regret about the incident.
Upon a review of the entire matter, including the publicly available record, Chief Justice Scott found that Justice Leask's use of language at certain times during the trial of Regina v. Glen Hehn was indeed improper and tarnished the reputation of the Court and the judiciary. Chief Justice Scott formally expressed his concern to Justice Leask with regard to the gravity of his actions. He advised Justice Leask that his language was offensive, that it brought discredit on the judiciary and showed disrespect toward the Court. He pointed out that judges have an obligation to foster, at all times, respect for the public and the institution of the Court, and to ensure that decorum is maintained in the courtroom. Chief Justice Scott reminded Justice Leask that all judges must lead by example in this regard.
However, in light of the judge's clear and unambiguous apology, his recognition that his use of coarse language was improper, and his commitment that such actions would not be repeated in future, Chief Justice Scott concluded that the matter need not be considered further. The file is therefore being closed and the complainants advised accordingly. A copy of the letter to the complainants is available on the Council's website.
General information about the Canadian Judicial Council and the complaints process can also be found on the Council's website at: www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.
Executive Director and General Counsel