10/25/2012 09:35 EDT | Updated 12/25/2012 05:12 EST

Conrad Black Order Of Canada Hearing Rejected By Federal Court; Illinois Court Levies $6.1M Fine


TORONTO - Former media baron Conrad Black lost his bid Thursday to make a personal pitch to keep his Order of Canada honour, which is threatened because of his fraud conviction in the United States.

In its ruling, Federal Court said the Order of Canada advisory council was under no obligation to hear oral submissions from Black.

"Procedural fairness and natural justice do not require an oral hearing in the circumstances of this case," the court ruled.

In a separate matter related to his convictions, Black was seeking a stay of a $6.1-million fine levied against him for violating American securities laws.

In ordering the fine earlier this month, Judge William Hart of the District Court of the Northern District of Illinois blasted Black as "intransigent."

Hart was especially unhappy with Black's public attacks on the American courts and justice system.

"Black has advanced no reason to believe that he now has any respect for the securities laws or any regret for the losses or costs his violations have caused," Hart wrote.

"He is intransigent in his denunciation."

Black, who spent three years in an American prison for fraud and obstruction of justice, has requested a stay of the judgment while he appeals related convictions.

He could not immediately be reached for comment on either matter.

The 11-member advisory council is currently deciding whether to recommend he be stripped of his appointment as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1990.

The council has told Black there were "reasonable grounds" to do so in light of his 2007 convictions as head of the Hollinger International media empire.

Black refused the option of resigning from the order voluntarily. He has always maintained he was victimized by the American justice system, and that Canadian courts would never have convicted him.

The council, without giving reasons, refused his request for a personal hearing, prompting him to go to Federal Court.

Among other things, Black maintained the case was too complicated to be dealt with solely in writing and a personal hearing would allow the council to decide on his credibility.

In his ruling Thursday, Judge Yves de Montigny said Black had "ample opportunity" to offer his side of the story and make in submissions he wants in writing.

"Contrary to his assertion, credibility is not the key factor or the primary consideration for the council," Montigny said.

The judge also said the council had no obligation to give Black reasons for its refusal to hear him in person.

If the council recommends he lose his honour, Gov. Gen. David Johnston is obliged to act on the recommendation. Only four people have lost their Order of Canada honours.

Black served 37 months of a 42-month sentence in a Florida prison and returned to Canada in May under a special temporary permit given that he is no longer a citizen.

In a highly publicized battle in 2001, he renounced his Canadian citizenship so he could accept a peerage in the British House of Lords.

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