An experienced defence lawyer says a Saskatchewan judge’s attendance at an Indigenous demonstration after he ruled on it could expose the court to potential allegations of bias.

Michael Spratt says it’s unusual for judges to have contact with one of the parties in a case that either could end up before them, or has already. Judges act as independent arbitrators and a perception of bias may undermine a court decision and the principle of impartiality, which forms trust in the system, he said.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Graeme Mitchell appeared Sunday at a closing ceremony for a 24-year-old Métis man, whom he ruled was allowed to stay on the provincial legislature’s lawn to finish a hunger strike over high suicide rates.

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An experienced defence lawyer says a Saskatchewan judge’s attendance at an Indigenous demonstration after he ruled on it could expose the court to potential allegations of bias.

Michael Spratt says it’s unusual for judges to have contact with one of the parties in a case that either could end up before them, or has already. Judges act as independent arbitrators and a perception of bias may undermine a court decision and the principle of impartiality, which forms trust in the system, he said.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Graeme Mitchell appeared Sunday at a closing ceremony for a 24-year-old Métis man, whom he ruled was allowed to stay on the provincial legislature’s lawn to finish a hunger strike over high suicide rates.

[…]

Read Stephanie Taylor’s full article: Globe and Mail

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