Conrad Black loses bid to address Order of Canada review body
Advisory council to consider revoking honours
Former media baron Conrad Black's request to Federal Court for a hearing before a panel examining whether he should be allowed to remain an officer of the Order of Canada has been rejected.
Black's 1990 appointment to the Order of Canada is under review because of fraud and obstruction of justice convictions in the U.S. related to his tenure as head of the Hollinger newspaper empire.
Black, now living in Toronto, served 37 months of a 42-month sentence in a Florida prison. Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration granted the Montreal-born Black a one-year temporary resident permit, valid until May 2013. He had renounced his Canadian citizenship 11 years ago to take a seat in the British House of Lords.
In July, Black submitted an application to the Federal Court for an oral hearing to address the advisory council looking into whether he can keep his Officer of the Order of Canada appointment, and give his side of the story.
Court cites 'natural justice' for denying request
The Federal Court "reached the conclusion that the application ought to be dismissed," Justice Yves de Montigny wrote in a ruling this month.
"While I am prepared to accept that the application is not premature and that the council’s decision to deny the applicant an oral hearing is not immune from judicial review, I find that procedural fairness and natural justice do not require an oral hearing in the circumstances of this case," he wrote.
Black was found guilty by a U.S. jury in 2007 of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, but he was acquitted on nine other charges, including mail fraud, wire fraud, racketeering and tax fraud.
An Appeals Court later overturned two of his fraud convictions, but allowed a single fraud conviction and the obstruction of justice conviction to stand.
Lawyers argued written submissions not enough
The regulations say the council shall consider "the termination of a person's appointment to the Order of Canada if the person has been convicted of a criminal offence."
An 11-member advisory panel, led by Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin, is reviewing Black's membership in the Order of Canada.
The panel's recommendation will go to the Governor General, who has the final say on whether to revoke Black's membership.
Black's lawyers had argued in their Federal Court application that the decision was "complex" and written submissions were not enough to examine the issue.
"The facts relating to the issue of terminating the applicant's appointment to the Order of Canada are complex and lengthy and cannot be appropriately dealt with in written submissions only," reads the filing.
"Only an oral hearing will ensure that the recommendation of the advisory council is based on 'evidence and guided by principles of fairness.'"
U.S. court fines Black $6.1M for securities laws violations
Meanwhile, an American court recently fined Black $6.1 million US for violating securities laws.
The fine relates to Black's tenure at Hollinger International Inc. based in Chicago.
In his judgment earlier this month, Judge William Hart of the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois blasted Black as "intransigent." Hart was especially unhappy with Black's denunciation of the courts and justice system in a book he has written.
"Black has advanced no reason to believe that he now has any respect for the securities laws or any regret for the losses or costs his violations have caused," Hart wrote. "He is intransigent in his denunciation."
Black has requested a stay of the judgment while he appeals related convictions.
With files from the Canadian Press