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Notice of Hearing into a Complaint about the Conduct of the Honourable Justice Donald McLeod

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Pursuant to sections 51.4(18) and 51.6 if the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.43, as amended, the Ontario Judicial Council (the “Council”) will conduct a hearing into a complaint about the conduct of the Honourable Justice Donald McLeod.

The complaint was investigated by a two-person Complaint Subcommittee, consisting of a judge and a community member. The hearing was ordered by a Review Panel that included two judges, a lawyer member and a community member.

The Hearing Panel will be composed of a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, who will chair the Panel, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, a lawyer member and a community member.

Hearings of the Judicial Council are normally held in public and the dates and times of the hearings are posted on the Council’s website. The hearing will commence on November 30, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. at Victory Verbatim, 222 Bay Street, Suite 900, Toronto.

The Hearing Panel will consider whether the alleged conduct, as summarized below and set out more fully in the Notice of Hearing, occurred and constituted judicial misconduct:

While presiding full-time as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, His Honour founded, led and served as Chair of the Steering Committee for the organization called the Federation of Black Canadians (“FBC”), a national, non-profit organization that meets with government representatives to advocate for legal and social reform on behalf of Black Canadians. His Honour failed to uphold the integrity, impartiality and independence of the judiciary when he communicated with and met with politicians on behalf of FBC, inappropriately used the power and prestige of his judicial office to advance the interests of the FBC and lent the prestige of the judicial office to FBC fundraising.

After concluding its hearing of the matter, pursuant to section 51.6(11) of the Courts of Justice 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 judge;
  • reprimand the judge;
  • order the judge to apologize to the complainant or to any other person;
  • order the judge to take specified measures such as receiving education or treatment, as a condition of continuing to sit as a judge;
  • suspend the judge with pay, for any period; or,
  • suspend the judge without pay, but with benefits, for a period up to thirty days.

The Hearing Panel may also make a recommendation to the Attorney General that the judge be removed from office. This sanction stands alone and cannot be combined with any other sanction. Under section 51.8 of the Courts of Justice Act, a judge may be removed from office only by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

A judge whose conduct is being investigated in proceedings before the Council may be represented by counsel and is given the opportunity to be heard and to produce evidence.

Please note that photographic and audio-visual or recording devices are not permitted in the hearing room.  For information on the use of electronic devices in the hearing room, please review the Council’s Protocol Regarding the Use of Electronic Communication Devices in the OJC Hearing Proceedings.

Presenting Counsel is Mr. Benjamin Zarnett, Goodmans LLP; telephone no. 416-597-4204.

Counsel for Justice McLeod is Mr. Mark Sandler, Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP; telephone 416-585-9191.

For general information, contact: Ms. Marilyn E. King, Registrar; telephone no. 416-327-5672.