The Justices of the Peace Review Council is holding a formal hearing into a complaint about the conduct of Justice of the Peace Adele Romagnoli of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Pursuant to section 11.1(1) of the Justices of the Peace Act, the Honourable Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve, Chair of the Review Council, has 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.
On February 26, 2018, the Hearing Panel received an Agreed Statement of Facts as an exhibit.
Presenting Counsel, Mr. Owen Rees, and Responding Counsel, Mr. Sandler, put forward a joint position that a finding of misconduct should be made on one allegation: Her Worship failed to know and maintain competence in the law, and imposed a sentence not permitted by law; the legal errors made by Her Worship cumulatively amount to misconduct. Counsel submitted that the other allegations should be dismissed.
Counsel jointly submitted that the appropriate disposition is a reprimand and further education.
The Hearing Panel was of the view that the Agreed Statement of Facts should be accompanied by the court transcripts referenced in it. The Panel ordered that counsel are to provide the transcripts to the Hearing Panel and the matter is scheduled to return on March 19 when the Panel will provide its view on whether it accepts the position set out in the Agreed Statement of Facts. The Panel said after its review of the transcripts, it may seek further submissions from counsel. The Panel also indicated that there is a possibility of a written decision in advance of March 19th if no further submissions are required.
The hearing is scheduled to continue on Monday, March 19, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at Neesons, 77 King Street West, Suite 2020, TD North Tower,Toronto.
On January 8, 2018, the Hearing Panel granted a motion in writing brought by Presenting Counsel with the consent of Mr. Sandler, counsel for Her Worship Romagnoli, requesting an additional date to file an Agreed Statement of Facts and to make a joint submission addressing the findings with respect to the allegations of misconduct and the disposition that should be imposed under section 11.1(10) of the Justices of the Peace Act.
A pre-hearing conference took place on May 11, 2017.
On Monday, July 10, 2017, dates were set for the hearing. The hearing was scheduled to commence at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 19, 2018. Additional dates were scheduled for March 20-23, March 26-29, and April 3-6, 2018. Pending the outcome of the February 26th proceeding, all of these dates are preserved in the event that they are needed.
The allegations include:
Her Worship failed to know and maintain competence in the law, imposed a sentence not permitted by law, and continued to misapply or refused to follow the law even after a higher court made clear the correct application of the law. She failed to dispose of cases promptly. Her Worship demonstrated bias, or a reasonable apprehension of bias, against the prosecution and police, by socializing with defence paralegals in the court houses during recesses, treating prosecutors differently from defence paralegals in the courtroom and denying natural justice and procedural fairness to prosecutors.
Pursuant to section 11.1 of the Act, the Hearing Panel may dismiss the complaint, with or without a finding that it is unfounded, or if it finds that the justice of the peace engaged in judicial misconduct, it may decide upon any 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 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.
Presenting Counsel is Mr. Owen Rees, Conway Baxter Wilson LLP, Telephone: 613-780-2026.
For general information, contact: Ms. Marilyn E. King, Registrar, telephone 416-327-5672.