WINNIPEG - Manitoba’s justice minister says he’s filing a complaint with the province’s law society, calling for an investigation into the actions of lawyers who hired a private investigator to follow a judge presiding over their case.
“It is gravely concerning that a private investigator was hired to conduct surveillance of a member of the judiciary, ostensibly to embarrass or intimidate the judge,” Cameron Friesen says. “As Attorney General, I have written to the Law Society of Manitoba to request that it initiate an investigation into the conduct of lawyers associated with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.”
Lawyers for the Calgary-based Justice Centre have been in Manitoba’s Court of Queen's Bench since May, with Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal presiding, in an effort to prove that measures intended to contain the spread of COVID-19 are unnecessary, and violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought in under Pierre Trudeau in 1982.
The board says their president, lawyer John Carpay, informed them that he’ll be on "an indefinite period of leave from his responsibilities at the justice centre” beginning this week after taking “full and sole responsibility” for the hiring of a private investigator to tail Joyal.
Human rights lawyer Richard Warman has filed a professional misconduct complaint against Carpay and two other JCCF lawyers in response to the judge being followed. The Justice Centre says its board members weren’t aware of the decision, and condemn it “without reservation."
Another JCCF lawyer in the court challenge, Jay Cameron, says while he wasn’t involved in the decision, he had known about it for weeks.
The Law Society of Manitoba says it’s investigating.