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Justice minister asks for investigation of lawyers after they admit to tailing Manitoba judge

John Carpay, the now former president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is shown in this 2012 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Graveland

Manitoba’s justice minister has written to the provincial law society requesting it investigate the conduct of lawyers working with an organization that hired a private investigator to follow a judge.

“It is gravely concerning that a private investigator was hired to conduct surveillance of a member of the judiciary, ostensibly to embarrass or intimidate the judge,” Cameron Friesen said in a statement Thursday.

Read more: Group fighting COVID-19 restrictions admits tailing Manitoba judge

Friesen said that as attorney general of Manitoba, he has asked the Law Society of Manitoba to initiate an investigation into the lawyers with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

The centre is representing a group of churches in Manitoba that are challenging COVID-19 public health orders.

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Click to play video: 'Group fighting COVID-19 restrictions admits tailing Manitoba judge' Group fighting COVID-19 restrictions admits tailing Manitoba judge
Group fighting COVID-19 restrictions admits tailing Manitoba judge – Jul 12, 2021

John Carpay stepped down as president of the Justice Centre this week after admitting in court to hiring a private investigator to follow the judge presiding over that case.

Friesen said he is gravely concerned by the actions of the centre and wants the lawyers involved to be held accountable.

Read more: Head of Justice Centre taking leave after hiring investigator to trail Manitoba judge

“This is an obvious invasion of privacy and it is difficult to believe that these actions were not intended to influence the outcome of the court case,” he said.

 

Click to play video: 'Head of Justice Centre taking leave after hiring investigator to trail Manitoba judge' Head of Justice Centre taking leave after hiring investigator to trail Manitoba judge
Head of Justice Centre taking leave after hiring investigator to trail Manitoba judge – Jul 13, 2021

In a statement, Lisa Bildy, the centre’s interim president, said “these efforts to damage the professional reputations of our lawyers are groundless and unjustified.”

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Bildy says none of their staff lawyers or outside counsel had knowledge of involvement in the surveillance of officials and the decision was made by one person in the organization.

Read more: Using Manitoba judge for political agenda disgraceful, says local lawyer

The Law Society of Alberta, which would be Carpay’s regulator, would not say whether there’s an investigation into his actions.

An Ottawa human rights lawyer confirmed he had filed a professional misconduct complaint with the society against Carpay, as well as against two other lawyers with the Justice Centre.

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Bar Association reacts to private investigator hiring – Jul 12, 2021

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