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Judicial council takes next step in review of complaint against Supreme Court's Brown

Supreme Court of Canada Justice Russell Brown responds to a question during a question-and-answer session at Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg Wednesday, September 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

OTTAWA — The Canadian Judicial Council is taking the next step in its review of a complaint against Supreme Court of Canada Justice Russell Brown concerning alleged events at an Arizona resort.

Christopher Hinkson, chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and chairperson of the council's judicial conduct committee, has decided to refer the matter to a judicial conduct review panel. 

In turn, the five-member panel can decide that an inquiry committee should be established if it determines the matter might be serious enough to warrant the removal of the judge.

Brown insists he did nothing wrong prior to an alleged altercation at a Scottsdale resort lounge in late January.

In a police report, Jon Crump accuses Brown of being intoxicated and hitting on Crump's female companions. 

Crump told police he punched the judge "a few times."

Brown, who has described Crump's version of their encounter as "demonstrably false," has been on leave from the court since Feb. 1 pending the outcome of the council's investigation.

He was taking part in an awards ceremony and banquet at the resort ahead of the encounter, which happened in the hotel lounge later that same night.

In a statement Thursday, Brown acknowledged the judicial council's decision to convene a panel. 

"My approach throughout this process has been to respond as expeditiously as possible. I will do so again in relation to this latest step and look forward to resuming my duties at the Court," the statement said.

Brown also reiterated comments released by his counsel earlier this month taking issue with Crump's account of the events.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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