OTTAWA (Reuters) - A senior Canadian judge has been formally reprimanded for swearing during a courtroom clash with
a prosecutor earlier this year, officials said on Friday.
British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Peter Leask’s behavior
was “improper and tarnished the reputation of the court and the judiciary,” concluded an investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council.
Leask resorted to expletives in March at the trial of a man
charged with trafficking cocaine. The judge disagreed strongly
with the prosecutor’s premise that the accused had hidden the
drug in his own storage locker.
“He’d have had to have been out of his f------- mind to store it in his own locker, all right?” the judge told the prosecutor. He also referred to “the whole f------ thing” and used the words “god------” and “s----.”
A group of schoolchildren on an educational tour witnessed the exchange.
The council decided not to take more severe action against Leask, noting he had called a special session of court the day after the outburst to apologize unreservedly for his behavior.
“Certainly this is not normal. To my knowledge it’s a very unique and unprecedented situation,” the council’s executive director, Norman Sabourin, told Reuters.
“Presumably it’s something that happened once and will never happen again.”