There was a mystery haunting our Supreme Court throughout February. Justice Russell Brown wasn’t showing up for work. Last week the mystery was solved. The judge has been suspended with pay for getting into a fracas in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The judge was in Scottsdale to speak at a ceremony honouring former Supreme Court Justice Louse Arbour with the prestigious Sandra Day O’Connor Justice Prize.

According to his story, he was enjoying a drink in the bar after the ceremony, and a group invited him to join them. When he left with them, one of the party, 31-year old Jon Crump, took offence at his presence. Brown claims there were words, a bit of shoving and then Crump sucker-punched him.

Crump claims Brown was drunk, boasting of his importance, and hitting on the women in the group.

Crump’s girlfriend said she called the police and was told “being creepy isn’t a crime, so you don’t have a case. Just avoid him.” Nonetheless, the cops showed up and reported that even though they found Crump argumentative, hostile, and under the influence, his use of force “appeared reasonable and necessary, and no crime was determined.”

The police also said that another woman in the group claimed Judge Brown “was creepy and made her feel very uncomfortable.”

Not surprisingly, Judge Brown denies being creepy and suggests that Crump contacted the police “in an apparent attempt to avoid facing the consequences of assaulting me” and that he “falsely described me as the instigator.”

That this should occur at an event honouring Louse Arbour is indeed unfortunate. She was one of our better supremes, and has done commendable service in various roles. She served as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She deserved better from the court’s representative than a drunken brawl.

Whether Judge Brown started the fight or not, it was clearly injudicious allowing himself to be involved in that sort of situation.

Following a complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council by Mr. Crump, the judge is now under investigation. According to Johanna Laporte, director of communications for the council, “The council takes allegations of harassment and inappropriate public behaviour very seriously and investigates them accordingly.”

Judge Brown is a Harper appointee from Alberta. I’m sure that has nothing to do with it, but a Supreme Court Justice appointed by the law and order prime minister being investigated on a complaint to the Judicial Council is ironic.

In any case, this will be very interesting to follow. Should Brown be found at fault, what is the fate of a Supreme Court Justice who behaves inappropriately in public?

One thought on “Joltin’ Judge Brown lasts one round”
  1. “Judge Brown is a Harper appointee from Alberta.”
    Harper fast-tracked this obscure U of A legal prof and right wing-blogger onto the court in just three hops on the benches over a few short years.

    Just like Nadon, he never deserved it or belonged there.

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