As a result, the bias complaint was never heard on merits in a court of competent jurisdiction and the allegedly tainted rulings stand, even the rulings made by the judge after he recused himself for actual bias moving forward.
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association released THIS response:
Release: Supreme Court of Canada refuses to address judicial bias loophole
(OTTAWA, March 6, 2014) – The Supreme Court of Canada has refused today to close a loophole that allows judges to circumvent their duty to address complaints of bias made against them by litigants.
Three judges of the Court dismissed a leave to appeal regarding an egregious case of apparent bias. A judge of the Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa had a financial and emotional connection with a party in a lawsuit, and a family connection with the law firm representing that party. When the defendant in the lawsuit requested to bring a motion regarding the judge’s appearance of bias, the judge threatened him with contempt of court, then abruptly withdrew from the case. Previous decisions made by the judge still stand and have never been reviewed in light of the bias allegations.
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) intervened both by providing material witness evidence about the judge’s in-court conduct, and by seeking intervener status to address the national importance of the matter before the Supreme Court. Its motion for leave to intervene was denied, as was the applicant’s leave to appeal.
This opens a new era within the Canadian legal system, where judges can circumvent their duty to directly address bias accusations against them, making it possible for a complaint of bias to never be heard on its merits before a court of competent jurisdiction.
OCLA is taking the necessary steps to make a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee for violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees an impartial court to every litigant in signatory countries.
About the Ontario Civil Liberties Association
OCLA is an organization formed to defend civil liberties at a time when fundamental freedoms are subjected to systemic erosion in all spheres of social life. OCLA opposes institutional policies and decisions that remove from the individual his or her personal liberty or exclude the individual from participation in the democratic functions of society.
Background: An Ontario superior court judge had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party intervening for the plaintiff in the case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court, and did not disclose any of these ties. This party was also the employer of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and funded the plaintiff’s litigation. The judge was tasked with determining the propriety of the party’s funding of the plaintiff, which was done with public money. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the party. When the defendant discovered the judge’s ties and presented the evidence, the judge lost decorum, threatened the defendant with contempt of court, and recused himself, but refused to consider whether there was an appearance of bias, and continued to release decisions. The judge’s in-court reaction and walkout further confirmed his ties with the party in the lawsuit. The defendant raised the matter with six more judges, up to the court of appeal, but all of them refused to duly consider and properly apply the facts. As a result, all the decisions of the judge in the impugned motion to end the action stand to this day, even the decisions he released after recusing himself. [From: the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of Dr. Denis Rancourt]