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Notice of a Hearing into a Complaint about the Conduct of Justice of the Peace Richard Bisson

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The Justices of the Peace Review Council held a formal hearing into a complaint about the conduct of Justice of the Peace Richard Bisson of the Ontario Court of Justice.

The Hearing Panel found that the conduct summarized below constituted judicial misconduct:

In the context of the routine duties of a justice of the peace, His Worship demonstrated a pattern of legal errors and disregard for procedure that showed a lack of awareness of, or an incompetence in, the law and a failure to respect the rights of defendants. He acted in a manner that gave rise to a perception of bias and unfairness in the administration of justice. His Worship made inappropriate comments in the courtroom that lacked the dignity and level of professionalism expected of a justice of the peace.

On July 10, 2018, the Hearing Panel issued its Decision on Disposition and Compensation for Legal Costs Following a Finding of Judicial Misconduct. The Hearing Panel concluded that the only appropriate sanction that will restore public confidence in the judiciary is a recommendation to the Attorney General that His Worship, Justice of the Peace Bisson, be removed from office, on the basis that he has been incapacitated in his ability to perform the duties of his office by reason of conduct that is incompatible with the standard of conduct required to discharge the responsibilities of that office.

Justice of the Peace Bisson requested that the Hearing Panel make a recommendation for compensation of the legal costs incurred by him in the hearing. The Hearing Panel is recommending that His Worship be compensated for part of the legal costs incurred by him in the hearing. His Worship requested compensation in the amount of $34,769.54. The Panel is recommending compensation in the amount of $20,000.00.

The decision is posted on the Public Hearings Decision webpage.

Background:

Pursuant to section 11.1(1) of the Justices of the Peace Act, the Honourable Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve, Chair of the Review Council, established a Hearing Panel of members of the Council consisting of a judge who shall chair the panel, a justice of the peace, and a community member.

Pursuant to section 11.1 of the Act, a Hearing Panel may dismiss the complaint, with or without a finding that it is unfounded, or if it upholds the complaint, it may decide upon any of the following sanctions singly or in combination:

  1. warn the justice of the peace;
  2. reprimand the justice of the peace;
  3. order the justice of the peace to apologize to the complainant or to any other person;
  4. order the justice of the peace to take specified measures such as receiving education or treatment, as a condition of continuing to sit as a justice of the peace;
  5. suspend the justice of the peace with pay, for any period; or,
  6. suspend the justice of the peace without pay, but with benefits, for a period up to thirty days.

The Council may also make a recommendation to the Attorney General that the justice of the peace be removed from office. This sanction cannot be combined with any other sanction. Under section 11.2(1) of the Act, a justice of the peace may be removed from office only by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

For general information, contact: Ms. Marilyn E. King, Registrar, telephone 416-327-5672.