A complaint has been filed against Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley after she made comments on a case involving a sexual assault victim who was shackled in court and imprisoned during her testimony.
Edmonton lawyer Scott Horne has filed the complaint with the Law Society of Alberta.
He says it was improper for Ganley, who’s a lawyer, to make statements on a case while it was before the courts.
The case involved an Indigenous woman who was forced to spend five nights in the Edmonton Remand Centre during her testimony at a 2015 preliminary hearing for Lance Blanchard, the man who attacked her.
Blanchard was found guilty in December 2016 and declared a dangerous offender last Friday.
Last June, Ganley raised concerns in the media about the treatment of the Indigenous victim and ordered an independent review.
Watch below: On June 5, 2017, Tom Vernon filed this report about Alberta’s justice minister launching an investigation after a victim of sexual assault was jailed while she was testifying against her attacker.
The subsequent report released last month found larger systemic problems, but noted there was no evidence anyone directly involved was motivated by racism or racist beliefs.
Ganley’s office declined comment on the complaint.
Horne said Ganley’s comments could have interfered in the outcome of the case.
“He was declared a dangerous offender,” he said in an interview. “It could, however, easily have had an effect on the case and held it up, caused delays, caused a mistrial — all kinds of things that would have been very inconvenient both for the accused and for the administration of justice.”
Watch below: On March 16, 2018, Kim Smith reported on a judge in Edmonton declaring a 60-year-old career criminal, whose violent attacks go back decades, to be a dangerous offender.
Horne added that Ganley improperly criticized Judge Raymond Bodnarek and Crown prosecutor Patricia Innes, who applied to have the woman detained.
“The rules of the law society forbid irresponsible comments about other lawyers or other jurists,” he said.
“Beyond that, I feel that the honour of the legal profession must be defended and maintained.
“Here we have someone who sits at the very pinnacle of the legal profession in Alberta — the minister of justice — who is making public statements that lack investigation and, in some cases, turn out to be false.”
The law society’s website says it is an independent regulator that works to protect the public interest and promote a high standard of legal services and professional conduct.
If it decides to hear the complaint, it could take months to investigate.