You know I’ve been following a case in Canada’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. The white collar defendant has been cooling his heels for 61 days in prison limbo in Toronto, denied bail.
If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thinks he’s got problems with Donald Trump, and with China, he should take a look at his judicial system. As I’ve said before, the case– going on for five-and-half-years — reads like a John Grisham novel.
Ontario’s Doug Ford just did a major shuffle in his own government, abruptly demoting the Ontario Attorney General, Caroline Mulroney, to the Dept. of Transportation. Mulroney has quite a background, too: She’s also the daughter of former PM Brian Mulroney. Her father in law is the great Lewis Lapham, former editor of Harper’s magazine in the U.S.
But before she was removed as Attorney General of Ontario, Mulroney received an urgent letter from a famed and highly respected Canadian defense attorney. He advised her that a judge in the Superior Court refused to recuse himself from a wildly out of court trial in which the judge had been dating a friend of a defendant’s ex wife. The trial has now been going on for five-and-a-half years. The defendant has spent 61 days in jail, in court limbo, since being found guilty after his crazy trial.
The attorney wrote to Mulroney: “The trial judge was confronted with the fact that he shortly before the trial commenced had an intimate relationship with the best friend of my client’s wife. A recusal motion was refused. This situation created a reasonable apprehension of bias.” In other words, pillow talk is an issue in Canada’s top court.
The fact that Mulroney ignored the letter, which contained other allegations of judicial misconduct, could be indicative of why she was relieved of her more important position last week.
Trudeau is on the record as saying if the rights of any Canadian are violated, Canada will not stand idly by and Canada will pay a steep price.
In this case, there’s a huge irony: In 2015, the defendant in this case was invited by the Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, to attend a state dinner in honor of the President of the Philippines held at the General Governor’s Residence at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Canada only invites its best and brightest to these state dinners (just as the White House did in previous administrations). The defendant — who had then been jailed for two weeks for contempt of court– went directly from prison to the State Dinner.
After 61 days, it’s time for Trudeau’s court system to let bail be posted for this defendant, and to review the possible misconduct that has occurred.