Canadian Judicial Council completes its review of the matter involving the Honourable Graeme Mitchell
A Judicial Conduct Review Panel, constituted by the Canadian Judicial Council, has completed its review of the matter involving the Honourable Graeme Mitchell.
A Review Panel was constituted following complaints filed relating to Justice Mitchell’s visit to an Indigenous protest camp on the grounds of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building. Specifically, after deciding a matter, but before completing his reasons for judgment, Justice Mitchell attended the protest camp, posed for photographs and accepted ceremonial gifts. After his publicized visit, he announced his decision not to provide supplementary reasons. Following media reports, the Council received five complaints.
The Review Panel, comprised of Associate Chief Justice Shane Perlmutter (Chairperson), Chief Justice Tracey DeWare, Associate Chief Justice Eva Petras, Madam Justice Jennifer Duncan, and Mr. Andre Dulude, concluded that, while they agreed with Chief Justice Hinkson as Chairperson of the Judicial Conduct Committee that Justice Mitchell’s conduct was inconsistent with the ethical obligations that all judges are sworn to uphold, the matter was not serious enough to possibly warrant his removal.
In considering the matter, the Review Panel expressed concerns that through his actions, Justice Mitchell put himself in a position that was inconsistent with the obligation to remain and appear neutral. While the Review Panel indicated that judicial reconciliation with Indigenous people is and will remain an important goal of the judiciary, it can only be pursued and achieved while respecting judicial independence and impartiality.
The Review Panel considered favourably Justice Mitchell’s efforts, following the referral of this matter to the Review Panel, to educate himself further and gain a deeper understanding of the need to be and appear to be impartial with respect to his decisions and decision-making. The Review Panel also accepted Justice Mitchell’s sincere expression of remorse, his undertaking that he never put himself in a similar situation in the future, and the comments from Justice Mitchell’s Chief Justice as to the sincerity of Justice Mitchell’s understanding of the importance of judicial independence on public confidence in the judiciary.
As the Review Panel fully considered the matter and decided not to refer to an Inquiry Committee, Chief Justice Hinkson directed that the matter be closed with no further action.
Director of Communications