Colin Perkel | The Canadian Press
A senior Manitoba judge has won a temporary 11th-hour ban on the use of graphic sex photographs taken of her from being used at her disciplinary hearing next week.
The stay will be in effect until the admissibility of the images of Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas can be determined at a later date, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ruled Friday.
Mosley’s reasons were not immediately available.
Lawyers for Douglas had pleaded with him on Thursday to grant a stay against the decision by an inquiry committee of the Canadian Judicial Council that the photographs should become evidence.
They argued allowing use of the images, taken by her husband and posted on the Internet without her consent, would revictimize her.
Mosley also ruled that Douglas’s motion for a permanent injunction against the photographs would be heard Dec. 9 in Ottawa.
The committee is slated to begin its hearings into Douglas in Winnipeg on Monday, but it was not immediately clear how the ruling would impact the schedule.
The panel’s independent council, Suzanne Cote, had said a temporary stay would put the hearings themselves on hold given the central importance of the images.
The Canadian Judicial Council did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
Mosley also granted Cote leave to intervene in the stay hearing, but not to appeal the court’s ultimate ruling.
In court on Thursday, Douglas’s lawyers made an emotional plea to permanently seal the photographs, saying the disciplinary committee, which could recommend Douglas be booted from the bench, does not need to see the photographs.
The committee already knows what the pictures are about, Block said.
“These are pictures of people having sex,” the lawyer said. “They’re highly prejudicial.”
Douglas sought the stay after the panel ruled last month that the photographs were relevant.
“It is difficult, if not impossible, to consider these allegations without a concrete first-hand appreciation of their nature and what they depict,” the panel stated.
Cote, who had opposed the requested interim stay, said the two male judges and female lawyer on the disciplinary panel needed to view the photographs given that the “main dispute” about Douglas is the “effect” of the images.
The committee did promise to keep the images out of the public record.
The photographs, some of which depict bondage, were taken by Douglas’s now-late husband Jack King before she became a judge.
Block called it a classic case of “revenge porn” and said any judge could become a victim.