WINNIPEG – A Manitoba lawyer who once testified his own “bizarre sexual behaviour” was to blame for an inquiry into his wife’s ability to serve as a judge has died.
Jack King’s death creates another hurdle for a stalled Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Lori Douglas, whose sexually explicit photos were posted to the Internet a decade ago.
“It is with great sorrow that we confirm that our beloved husband, father and friend Jack King died peacefully early this morning after a short bout with cancer,” the 66-year-old’s family said in a brief written statement Tuesday.
“We would ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time.”
King had admitted to taking 100 to 150 nude photos of Douglas before she became a judge, some of them showing her in bondage gear or performing sex acts. King used the photos in 2003 to harass a former client named Alexander Chapman and asked him in conversations and emails to have sex with his wife.
The matter was kept private, under a confidential settlement between King and Chapman, until Chapman went public in 2010.
The inquiry is examining four allegations against Douglas, including a charge that she failed to disclose the existence of the photos when she was screened for a judicial appointment in 2005. It is also examining whether the mere existence of the photos has undermined Douglas’s ability to serve on the bench.
When he testified in 2012, King took the blame for the entire controversy. He said his wife had no idea he had uploaded the explicit photos to the Internet or had approached Chapman with the sex proposal.
“It was essentially in pursuit of some absolutely bizarre sexual behaviour on my part,” he told the inquiry.
King described his own behaviour as “bizarre, ridiculous, stupid, self-indulgent, grotesque and so on,” and said it was part of a sexual fantasy he had.
Douglas only found out the photos were online later in 2003, King testified. Chapman had promised to return all copies under the settlement agreement reached that year, and the photos were removed from websites, King added.
The inquiry quickly became bogged down by accusations of unfairness. Douglas’s lawyer complained that the five-member committee overseeing the inquiry displayed signs of bias by having its own lawyer aggressively cross-examine witnesses who were favourable to Douglas.
The hearing collapsed when Guy Pratte, the independent counsel leading the inquiry, resigned in August 2012 due to the same concern.
The Canadian Judicial Council has appointed a new independent counsel and a new panel, but Douglas is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to quash the inquiry altogether.
The judicial council could recommend Douglas’s removal from the bench, but any final decision would lie with Parliament.