OTTAWA - A judicial review is the only way a Manitoba judge whose nude photos were posted on the Internet will get a fair shake in what has become a lengthy and embarrassing legal drama, her lawyer says.
A separate review undertaken by the Canadian Judicial Council is flawed and biased against Manitoba Queen's Bench Justice Lori Douglas, and a judicial review is the only way to ensure fairness, lawyer Sheila Block said Thursday.
"The Federal Court is the only court for a just solution," Block told a Federal Court hearing.
"The (Canadian Judicial Council) cannot continue this process until it fixes it."
A committee of the council is looking into the conduct of Douglas, whose husband uploaded sexually explicit photos of her to the Internet in 2003, when the couple were lawyers at a Winnipeg firm.
But the inquiry has been mired in procedural delays and court challenges.
Last week, the entire committee resigned, saying that was the only way to move forward with what has become one of the lengthiest inquiries in its history.
The inquiry has been on hold since July, pending a judicial review of an allegation of bias by Douglas' lawyer.
On Thursday, Block made extensive reference to independent lawyer Guy Pratte, who was leading the inquiry until he abruptly quit in August 2012.
Pratte resigned after filing a motion with the Federal Court arguing that the committee hearing the inquiry had overstepped its bounds by becoming involved in a hearing while also presiding over it.
Block has asked the Federal Court to quash the inquiry, arguing questioning by the lawyer acting for the committee members was too aggressive and showed bias against Douglas.
Pratte had publicly shared those concerns, saying the inquiry committee cannot act as both a referee of the proceedings and an active participant.
The complaint against Douglas goes back to 2010, when a man named Alex Chapman filed a complaint with the council, accusing Douglas of sexual harassment. Chapman alleged the judge's husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, sent him nude photos of Douglas and wanted Chapman to have sex with her.
King was Chapman's divorce lawyer at the time. Chapman complained to King's law firm and King tried to settle the matter by paying Chapman $25,000 to return all the photos and to not talk about it.
Douglas, who became associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, denies all the allegations, saying King acted alone without her knowledge. Both she and King say he was suffering from depression at the time.
Douglas is now on paid leave and she is still married to King.