Man in judge controversy must surrender computer
Last Updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010 | 2:28 PM CST
The Winnipeg man at the centre of a controversy involving nude pictures of a lawyer who later became a Manitoba judge cried at a court hearing Thursday when ordered to surrender his home computer.
Alex Chapman lost his bid to block authorities from seizing his computer and broke into tears when he was told to provide his home address for sheriff's deputies to pick up the equipment.
Chapman, 44, said he has been living in fear for seven years and didn't want to disclose his address.
"You have no idea what I've been through. Please reconsider," he begged Justice Joan McKelvey of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.
He offered to bring the computer to the courthouse and hand it over to the sheriff's deputies, but McKelvey ordered the deputies to go to Chapman's residence sometime between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday.
As a concession, she said the court document would not contain Chapman's address, which would be given directly to the sheriff's office.
'You have no idea what I've been through. Please reconsider.'—Alex Chapman
The request to seize the computer was made by lawyer Bill Gange, who opposed Chapman's offer to drop off the computer.
"If one wants to take part in the legal process, you have to disclose your address," he said.
Gange represents Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, who is being sued by Chapman for $10 million.
Chapman alleges King harassed him in 2003 by pressing him to have sex with his wife, Lori Douglas, who was then a Winnipeg lawyer but was appointed a judge of the Court of Queen's Bench (family division) on May 19, 2005.
She was appointed as an associate chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench (family division) on May 14, 2009.
Douglas is being sued by Chapman for $7 million.
The Canadian Judicial Council is also investigating a complaint Chapman filed against Douglas. She has temporarily stepped aside from her duties as a sitting judge but remains with the court in an administrative capacity.
Chapman has also filed a $50-million lawsuit against the law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, where King and Douglas used to work.
Chapman said he first met King in 2002, when he retained him to handle his divorce.Lori Douglas was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in 2005. (CBC)
After a few months, King mentioned a porn website devoted to interracial sex, particularly between black men and white women, Chapman alleges, adding King indicated he wanted Chapman, who is black, to have sex with Douglas.
King also showed him about 30 sexually explicit photos of Douglas, showing her naked in various forms of bondage, in chains, with sex toys and performing oral sex, said Chapman, who noted in the lawsuit documents that he kept a diary of their conversations and meetings.
When his divorce concluded, Chapman said, he filed a complaint to the managing partners at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman. Soon after receiving the complaint, King left the firm.
Chapman received a $25,000 payment in return for a promise not to take legal action against King and his partners. As part of the settlement, Chapman said he was required not to speak about the matter and to destroy all emails, photos and other materials sent to him by King.
He said he signed the settlement papers but kept the material.
After seven years of silence, Chapman said he decided to come forward, saying he felt distraught about the matter.
Computer to be held, not accessed
On Sept. 2, McKelvey ordered Chapman to immediately return "all documents, emails and photographs" ever sent to him by King.Douglas's husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, is being sued by Chapman for harassment. King is countersuing on claims his privacy was breached. (CBC)
The ruling also compels Chapman to ask that any of the material that is in the possession of anyone else be returned. He was ordered to provide the court with names, addresses and emails of anyone else who has the material.
Gange told court Thursday that Chapman's computer also needed to be seized, because Chapman has proven he can't be trusted to refrain from further disseminating the pictures of Douglas.
Photos of Douglas were removed from the porn website in 2003, but Chapman retained copies.
"We know that he didn't live up to his word," Gange said, referring to the signed agreement made when Chapman was paid $25,000.
The only way to gain control over the court injunction is to seize the equipment, Gange told McKelvey.
Chapman told the court he had other confidential documents on the computer and that Gange doesn't have the right to see those documents.
McKelvey said the computer would just be retained and that Gange would have no access to it.
As a result of Chapman providing the pictures to other individuals, King has filed a lawsuit for invasion of privacy.
Chapman told court he has retrieved the materials from some people but has been denied by others.
He also said that many of the photographs have once again shown up on websites but that he has no control over that.
Adjourned to October
Chapman did win an adjournment of the hearing until Oct. 12 to find a lawyer.
He told McKelvey that he has tried to retain one in Manitoba but nobody wants to represent him because the case involves judges, lawyers and the Manitoba Law Society, which is investigating complaints Chapman filed against King.
Chapman told McKelvey he would have to try to find an out-of-province lawyer.With files from CBC's Marisa Dragani
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