Canadian Judicial Council recommends that Justice Girouard not be removed from office

Ottawa, 20 April 2016 – Further to a public inquiry conducted under the Judges Act, the Canadian Judicial Council has now completed its review of the conduct of the Honourable Michel Girouard and has submitted its Report to the Minister of Justice. That Report recommends that Justice Girouard not be removed from office.

Council agreed with the findings of the Inquiry Committee that the allegations against the judge were not proven on a balance of probabilities. Two of the three members of that Inquiry Committee found that there were grounds for concern about certain inaccuracies contained in the judge’s testimony. They had concluded that the judge had tried to mislead the Inquiry Committee, thereby warranting a recommendation that the judge be removed from office. The third member disagreed on the basis that the inconsistencies were not surprising given, among other factors, the amount of time that had lapsed since the alleged event occurred.

Those Council members who did not participate in the earlier steps, carefully reviewed the Inquiry Committee’s Report. The decision was made not to consider the finding that the judge attempted to conceal the truth because the judge was not given advance notice of the majority’s concerns, and therefore could not respond to those concerns.

Council agreed with the Committee that there was no evidence to support the allegation that the judge had purchased an illicit substance approximately two weeks prior to his appointment. Council further agreed with the Inquiry Committee’s recommendation to either withdraw or not pursue the remaining allegations against the judge because they could not be proven. Accordingly, Council recommends to the Minister of Justice that the judge not be removed from office.

In accordance with Canada’s Constitution, a judge may only be removed from office through a joint resolution of Parliament. The Council’s mandate, under the Judges Act, is to make a recommendation to the Minister of Justice in that regard. The Council’s full Report, along with information about its function and mandate can be found on its website at www.cjc-ccm.gc.ca.

Contact:
Norman Sabourin
Executive Director and Senior General Counsel
(613) 288-1566 ext 313