⚖️ Take as prescribed

To: Hearsay Readers

Happy 45th day following Thanksgiving — Black Friday eve or American Thanksgiving, if you prefer.

Elon Musk might be finding it difficult to give thanks. People are calling his “thermonuclear” lawsuit bogus. Even worse, a court said there’s evidence Musk personally contributed to consumers having an inflated view of Tesla’s self-driving functionality. The court’s decision lets a lawsuit over a fatal highway collision proceed to trial.

— Dylan Gibbs

TODAY’S DOCKET

  • Ethics: No proof that justice of the peace was high in bail court

  • Round up: Espionage conviction, lawyer disbarred for laundering, more action needed from McGill over potential unmarked graves

ETHICS

Justice of the Peace cleared of misconduct for taking prescribed medications

Prescription bottle on judge's bench with legal texts

Justice of the Peace Margot McLeod can get back to serving justice. She was facing disciplinary proceedings for working while impaired — including during bail court. But Ontario’s Justice of the Peace Review Committee dismissed the misconduct allegations this week.

What happened: Justice of the Peace McLeod had to attend mentorship meetings after she was sanctioned for misconduct back in 2021. That one wasn’t impairment-related — it’s just that she gave the impression she lacked integrity and objectivity. Justice of the Peace McLeod learned the hard way that you can’t tell an entire courtroom of (presumed innocent) people they’re only in court because they’ve done something wrong.

Then she took prescription back medications before attending one of the mandatory mentorship meetings. Everyone agreed — she was in rough shape and couldn’t really participate in the meeting.

According to the mentor, their next meeting was also eventful — she said Justice of the Peace McLeod disclosed that she recently delivered a bail decision while high. Justice of the Peace McLeod admitted using the word “high” but said she was talking about their prior mentorship meeting, not bail court.

Onward and upward: The Committee said Justice of the Peace McLeod didn’t commit misconduct. She shouldn’t have gone to the mentorship meeting impaired, but it wasn’t a court appearance and it didn’t cause any harm.

As for bail court, the Committee checked the receipts. Justice of the Peace McLeod sounded fine on court audio recorded during her bail days. One of her bail decisions was even upheld at the Superior Court of Justice. The Court called her reasons “thorough” and “clear” — try getting that kind of review when you’re high. 

HEARSAY ROUNDUP

Canadiana

🕵️ Ex-RCMP official Cameron Ortis is guilty of leaking sensitive information to police targets. A jury returned the guilty verdict yesterday in what was the first prosecution under Canada’s Security of Information Act. The Crown plans to ask for a sentence in the ballpark of 20 years.

🧺 A BC lawyer was disbarred for laundering over $31 million of his clients’ money. The clients retained the lawyer after they were already under investigation for securities fraud. The lawyer didn’t provide any legitimate legal services, but he did let the clients shelter their cash in his trust account. He also bought a bunch of burner phones to avoid being wiretapped — which wasn’t a great look. The hearing panel said the lawyer abandoned any pretense of ethical conduct and might have even made himself a party to his clients’ crimes.

🏗 McGill needs to cooperate with a panel of archaeologists on an ongoing basis while excavating the Royal Victoria Hospital site. An Indigenous group sued McGill earlier this year because of the potential for unmarked graves at the site. To settle the suit, McGill agreed to follow recommendations prepared by a panel of independent experts. The panel gave initial recommendations but said it needed ongoing access to data to chime in throughout the project. McGill argued it only had to follow the initial set of recommendations. The Superior Court of Quebec disagreed, ordering McGill to keep following the panel’s guidance.

Beyond the border

🔫 A court in Maryland said it’s unconstitutional to require extra training and background checks just to purchase a gun. The Court struck down a law that would have made prospective owners wait as much as 30 extra days to get a handgun.

🌏 An appeal court in South Korea held it has jurisdiction to order damages against the Japanese government. The Court ordered Japan to compensate 16 “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery during Japan’s wartime occupation of the Korean peninsula.

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