October 1, 2023

Canada: top judge investigated over alleged drunken fight steps down

1 min read

A Canadian supreme court judge under investigation for his alleged involvement in a drunken fight has resigned, marking the first time a member of the top court has resigned amid questions of misconduct.

Russell Brown, appointed to the nine-judge court in August 2015, had stepped aside in February after reports emerged of a confrontation with a US marine veteran in an Arizona resort in late January.

The veteran told reporters that Brown had been drunk and made women at the resort feel uncomfortable. Brown denied this, saying the veteran was intoxicated and had punched him several times in the face without warning.

Brown said the investigation, which showed no sign of ending, had imposed a significant strain on his family and was hampering the court.

“Because the allegations made against me are false, I had hoped the issue would be dispensed with quickly … sadly, that has not been the case,” he said in a statement on Monday.

Supreme court chief justice Richard Wagner thanked Brown for his service. The Canadian Judicial Council, an independent body investigating the allegations, said Brown’s resignation meant its investigation was over.

Brown was appointed by Conservative former prime minister Stephen Harper. In a statement, Wagner invited current Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau “to exercise promptly the necessary care and consideration in appointing a new justice.”

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