Pursuant to section 11(15) of the Justices of the Peace Act, R.S.O. 1990, C. J.4, the Justices of the Peace Review Council is holding a formal hearing into two complaints about the conduct of Justice of the Peace Alfred Johnston of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Exhibits were filed on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 9 a.m. including transcripts of the court proceedings that gave rise to the complaints and an Agreed Statement of Facts in which His Worship Johnston admits that his actions constituted judicial misconduct. The hearing will continue on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 10 a.m. with oral submissions by Presenting Counsel, Ms. Marie Henein, and Counsel for His Worship, Mr. Peter Brauti, as to the appropriate disposition. The hearing is taking place at Neeson & Associates, 141 Adelaide Street West, Suite 1108 – Room 6, Toronto, Ontario. 141 Adelaide Street is located at the south-west corner of Adelaide and York Streets in Toronto.
The decision to order a hearing was taken following the investigation of the complaints in accordance with the Review Council’s complaints process. A three-person complaints committee, consisting of a judge, a justice of the peace, and a community or lawyer member, investigated the complaints and ordered that a formal hearing be held.
Pursuant to section 11.1(1) of the Justices of the Peace Act, the Honourable Chief Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo, Chair of the Review Council, established a hearing panel from the members of the Council, composed of a judge who shall chair the panel, a justice of the peace, and, a community member, to hear the matter.
The allegations are summarized below:
When presiding on November 22, 2012, His Worship breached his duty to assist a self-represented defendant and ensure a fair trial, resulting in a possible miscarriage of justice. On December 4, 2012, where there was no legal authority to do so, His Worship dismissed an entire list of cases including 68 charges under provincial or municipal legislation against 63 defendants.
Hearings of the Review Council are normally held in public and the dates and times of the hearings are posted on the Council’s website. After concluding its hearing of the matter, pursuant to section 11.1 of the Justices of the Peace Act, the 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 one of the following sanctions singly or in combination:
- warn the justice of the peace;
- reprimand the justice of the peace;
- order the justice of the peace to apologize to the complainant or to any other person;
- 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;
- suspend the justice of the peace with pay, for any period; or,
- 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 stands alone and cannot be combined with any other sanction. Under section 11.2(1) of the Justices of the Peace Act, a justice of the peace may be removed from office only by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Presenting Counsel is Ms. Marie Henein of Henein Hutchison LLP, Telephone: 416-368-5000.
General Contact: Ms. Marilyn E. King, Registrar, Telephone: 416-327-5672.
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