Prof apologizes for complaint against B.C. judge hearing sexual assault case

By , on April 12, 2017


A law professor who filed a complaint against a British Columbia Supreme Court judge hearing a sexual assault case has issued an apology, saying there were no grounds for the claim. (Photo: Tony Donnelly/Flickr)
A law professor who filed a complaint against a British Columbia Supreme Court judge hearing a sexual assault case has issued an apology, saying there were no grounds for the claim. (Photo: Tony Donnelly/Flickr)

VANCOUVER — A law professor who filed a complaint against a British Columbia Supreme Court judge hearing a sexual assault case has issued an apology, saying there were no grounds for the claim.

Benjamin Perrin of the University of British Columbia filed a complaint last month with the Canadian Judicial Council based on comments attributed to Justice Peter Leask in a media report from a court hearing on March 20.

“I have since learned the full context for the remarks and concluded that they do not support the claims I made in the complaint or my public statements,” Perrin said Tuesday in an email to The Canadian Press.

“I have therefore formally withdrawn my complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council in its entirety,” he said.

“I wish to offer my full and unreserved apology to Justice Leask. I regret both the issuing of the complaint and the public comments I made at the time.”

At the time, Perrin said he was concerned about public confidence in the administration of justice.

He declined comment on Tuesday.

A transcript of Leask’s comments were released by the court after the complaint was filed. It shows the judge was discussing scheduling issues with lawyers at the trial and whether the case would require the court to hear evidence over the course of two weeks.

“Full disclosure. I live in Vancouver,” he says in the transcript. “I come here because it’s my duty. Kamloops is a wonderful place, but I like sleeping in my own bed. So, going home early this week anyway, so I’m due to come back here next week anyway, so to do the second half of this case, not a big problem.”

Leask goes on to say he thinks British Columbia is nine judges short of a full complement.

“I do have this general concern. I don’t know how it has impacted on Kamloops, but the Supreme Court of British Columbia is at the moment very short handed,” he said.

Charges in the case were stayed by the Crown. A spokesman for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch has said the Crown’s decision was not influenced by any comments made by the court in the course of scheduling discussions by the judge.

Attorney General Suzanne Anton said at the time the remarks attributed to Leask were “ill-considered” but they did not impact the outcome of the case. No one from the Attorney General’s Ministry was available to comment on Tuesday.

The Canadian Judicial Council is a federal body that reviews complaints or allegations against superior court judges. It is chaired by the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and consists of 38 other council members who are chief justices and associate chief justices of the country’s superior courts.