Judge's nude photos ordered returned
Husband files countersuit alleging privacy violated
Justice Joan McKelvey of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench ruled that Alex Chapman must immediately return "all documents, emails and photographs" ever sent to him by Winnipeg lawyer Jack King.
McKelvey's ruling also compels Chapman, of Winnipeg, to ask that any of the material held by someone else be returned. He is forbidden to distribute the material to anyone else.
The photos show King's wife, Justice Lori Douglas, associate chief justice of the family division of the Court of Queen's Bench, naked and in various forms of bondage, with sex toys and performing oral sex.
Another hearing will be held Sept. 9 for Chapman to have an opportunity to oppose the motion. Chapman told McKelvey he doesn't know if he can trust any lawyer in the city to handle his case, so he may be forced to retain counsel from another province.
"Right now, I am under a lot of psychological stress," Chapman said. "I will seek counsel because there are some very important points ... with respect to the public's interest in this matter."
On Wednesday, Chapman filed separate lawsuits against King, Douglas and the Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, where King and Douglas were once partners.
In the statements of claim in the lawsuits, which are seeking $67 million in damages, Chapman claims he was harassed and suffered emotional distress when he was allegedly coaxed by King to have sex with Douglas in 2003.
Chapman alleges King pressured him to have sex with Douglas while he was handling his divorce and directed him to check out pictures of his wife posted on a website dedicated to interracial sex. Chapman is black.
McKelvey also ruled that Chapman, a computer specialist, must not tamper with his computer or delete any emails regarding the case.
Photos of Douglas were removed from the website in 2003 but Chapman still has copies.
Internet distribution feared
King's lawyer, Bill Gange, argued at Thursday morning's hearing that his client fears Chapman will take those copies and disseminate them on the internet.
He asked for and won the court order for Chapman to return all copies of the photos, as well as emails and voice mails related to the case that he has in his possession. But the order compelling Chapman to ask anyone in possession of the materials to return them may trigger more litigation.
Should any of those parties not comply, Gange can file separate motions asking the courts to compel them to return the material.
Gange said after the hearing that he's relieved McKelvey granted the order.
"What if these things wind up on the internet?" Gange asked. He said the effect that would have on Douglas's reputation would be "devastating."
"There was a promise these documents were destroyed."
Privacy violation alleged
King has also launched his own lawsuit against Chapman, seeking financial compensation of an undisclosed amount in connection with a settlement reached in 2003.
Chapman was paid $25,000 in return for a promise that legal action would not be taken against King and his partners.
As part of the settlement, Chapman was required not to speak about the matter and to destroy all emails, photos and other materials sent to him by King.
In a recent interview with CBC News, Chapman said he signed the document, but kept the material.
King's lawsuit alleges Chapman breached the terms of the agreement and "substantially" violated his privacy.
In an affidavit filed in support of the order granted by McKelvey, King said he acknowledged he and Chapman had a number of "inappropriate" discussions about Douglas, but the photos he sent him by email were meant to be private and never shared.
"The photographs were private photographs that I had taken of my wife that were intended to be private between my wife and myself," King stated.
King also admits posting photos of Douglas on a website and telling Chapman sometime between April and June of 2003 that he could view them there.
"The photographs were posted without my wife's knowledge or consent," King's affidavit said.
Judicial investigation delayed
Chapman also complained about Douglas to the Canadian Judicial Council in July.
However, Chapman told McKelvey on Thursday that the CJC hasn't yet received the documents and pictures, meaning the council would have to fight in court to obtain them. As such, the complaint investigation will be delayed. To what degree is unclear.
He also filed a complaint against King that same month with the Law Society of Manitoba, providing the materials in that instance as well.
Douglas, who has declined to comment, saying it's a private matter, remained a partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman until 2005, when she was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.
At her request, she has been temporarily relieved of her duties as a sitting justice of the Court of Queen's Bench.
Queen's Bench Justice Marc Monnin said Wednesday that Douglas will "remain in her position in an administrative capacity" while the CJC investigates the complaint against her.
Douglas asked to be relieved "in the interests of the judiciary and of the court," Monnin said in an emailed statement.
Norman Sabourin, CJC executive director, said Wednesday it would take about three months to investigate Chapman's allegations.
A chief justice from outside Manitoba will be in charge of the investigation, Sabourin said, but if the case is deemed serious enough, it could result in a public inquiry.
- An earlier version of this story said Justice Joan McKelvey ordered Alex Chapman to retrieve all sexually explicit pictures of a prominent Manitoba judge, but didn't order him to return them to the judge's husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King. To clarify, McKelvey did order Chapman to hand over all such materials to King.Sep 02, 2010 4:50 PM CT
With file from The Canadian Press