Judge Lori Douglas
Credits: MARCEL CRETAIN/QMI AGENCY
After a failed bid by Douglas' lawyers to have the inquiry dissolved due to bias, proceedings continued with a judge who chaired the hiring committee that recommended Douglas be appointed to the family division of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in April 2005.
The inquiry is tasked with determining whether Douglas is guilty of sexually harassing Alex Chapman, as he alleges, whether she failed to disclose the affair when she applied to become a judge, and whether the existence of the Internet pictures have made it impossible for Douglas to remain on the bench.
Court of Appeal Justice Martin Freedman said committee members knew about allegations Douglas's husband, Jack King, had solicited a client to have sex with Douglas and posted nude pictures of her on the Internet. Freedman said it was the understanding of committee members that Douglas was "an innocent victim" and that the pictures had been removed from the Internet.
Freedman said the committee secretary interviewed Douglas, who confirmed the allegations.
Freedman said the committee agreed to recommend (but not highly recommend) that Douglas be appointed to the bench. The recommendation was "flagged" and forwarded to then federal justice minister Irwin Cotler.
"We wanted to make sure he knew what we knew," Freedman said.
On her application, Douglas wrote "no" when asked if there was anything in her past that would reflect negatively on her or the judiciary.
"My understanding was that Ms. Douglas considered it a dead and closed issue...that she was an innocent victim and nothing else would surface," Freedman said.
"I and other members of the committee obviously accepted (the response). I didn't think I was being misled."