National Post article
Thursday, Jul. 10, 2014
MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge facing possible removal from the bench over allegations he bought cocaine during his days as a lawyer has gone to court in an attempt to halt a disciplinary procedure before hearings are even held.
In an application for judicial review filed with Federal Court, Justice Michel Girouard is challenging the Canadian Judicial Council’s powers to investigate complaints against judges.
Among other arguments, Judge Girouard is saying the council has no business examining his behaviour when he was practising law before his 2010 appointment to the bench. “Only the provincial authority has the jurisdiction to investigate and draw conclusions on the conduct of a lawyer,” his lawyers write in the application.
The Council, whose members include Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and all superior court chief and associate chief justices, announced in February that it would hold a public inquiry into Judge Girouard’s conduct.
“After a careful review of the matter, the members of the [review] panel decided that the issues in question are serious enough that they could warrant the judge’s removal from office,” the council said at the time. A three-person inquiry committee was named last month, but proceedings are on hold until the Federal Court case is resolved.
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