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New panel appointed for long-delayed investigation into judge's nude photos

OTTAWA – A long-delayed inquiry into a Manitoba judge whose nude photos ended up on the Internet may soon restart.

The Canadian Judicial Council has appointed a new committee to oversee the inquiry into Lori Douglas.

The new appointees include François Rolland, chief justice of the Superior Court of Quebec, and replace members who resigned en masse after Douglas’s lawyer complained they had shown bias.

Douglas, a justice with the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, faces a complaint that in 2010 she sexually harassed a man named Alex Chapman.

Chapman alleged that Douglas’s husband had shown him sexually explicit photos of the judge and asked him to have sex with her.

Douglas has denied the allegation — she and her husband have said he acted alone, without her knowledge, and was suffering from depression at the time.

The inquiry held hearings in 2012, but was put on hold after Douglas’s lawyer, Sheila Block, filed an application for a judicial review.

Block said aggressive questioning by a lawyer representing the five-member inquiry committee suggested the committee was biased.

The new committee will have just three members.

There is no word on when the hearings might resume.

The committee must first decide whether to start the hearings over again, or accept testimony given so far.