A three-member Inquiry Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council recommends the removal of Justice Girouard, with one dissenting view
Ottawa, 19 November 2015 –The Inquiry Committee constituted to review the conduct of the Honourable Michel Girouard has concluded its work and has submitted its Report to the Canadian Judicial Council.
During public hearings held in Quebec in early May 2015, the Inquiry Committee carefully considered a number of questions based on a Notice of Allegations to the judge. In pursuing its mandate to search for the truth, the Committee gathered all relevant information and heard from a number of witnesses, including the judge.
On the basis of the evidence introduced at the Inquiry, the Committee could not conclude that the judge had participated in a transaction involving an illicit substance. The evidence presented to the Committee was insufficient for it to draw any conclusions about the judge’s use or purchase of cocaine. As such, the Committee agreed that there was no basis to pursue further inquiry relating to the other allegations.
However, the Committee did find it disturbing that, in their final submissions, counsel for Justice Girouard suggested, in veiled terms, that police forces may have interfered in the case, as is to retaliate against Justice Girouard.
Another issue emerges from the Committee’s report. Two of the three members of the Committee found that the judge’s testimony contained several contradictions, inconsistencies and implausibilities. As a result, they expressed the view that this raised serious questions about the judge’s credibility and integrity. These two members concluded that the judge's apparent deliberate attempt to mislead the Committee by concealing the truth has placed him in a position incompatible with the due execution of the office of judge. Such conduct weakens and undermines public confidence in the judiciary.
The third member of the Committee did not agree with his colleagues’ conclusions that the judge deliberately attempted to mislead the Committee. He expressed a dissenting view, to the effect that the inconsistencies were not of such a nature to warrant the judge’s removal from office.
Council will now consider the Inquiry Committee’s report, after giving the judge an opportunity to make written submissions. If the judge makes submissions, Independent Counsel in this matter will also be invited to present written submissions. Because this matter was commenced before the coming into force of the July 2015 Bylaws, the previous bylaws apply.
After considering all the issues, Council will decide on a recommendation to make to the Minister of Justice in this matter.
Information about the Council and the process by which complaints about the conduct of judges are reviewed can be found on our website at www.cjc-ccm.ca
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