CJOB's Keith McCullough reporting
The man who says he was sexually harassed by a Manitoba judge will be able to play a roll at the judge's public inquiry.
Alex Chapman was given limited standing at the inquiry into the conduct of Justice Lori Douglas today. That means his lawyer will be able to question key witnesses including Justice Lori Douglas and her husband, Jack King about the sexual harassment allegation.
His lawyer will also be able to make final submissions. He will receive funding to pay for the lawyer.
The inquiry is being conducted by the Canadian Judicial Council and could see Douglas removed from the bench over allegations her and King sexually harassed Chapman in 2003, before she was a judge.
Both independent council and Douglas' lawyer had opposed Chapman getting any standing, but the chair of the judicial committee ruled it was only fair in such an unusual case.
Douglas is also facing allegations she did not properly disclose the alleged harassment when applying to be a judge. But Douglas says several people knew about the existance of the photos. Her lawyer says she is the true victim.
In her opening statement today, Douglas' lawyer Sheila Block said Douglas is the victim of massive betrayal by King who she claims solicited Chapman to have sex with Douglas and sent him nude photos of her without her knowing.
She said Douglas should not be punished because of her husbands "madness". King has already admitted guilt in a hearing before the Manitoba Law Society.
Also being considered by the committee is whether the very existance of the photos has damaged the public confidence in the justice system. Block said that shouldn't be an issue.
She told the committee, "Judges have sex both before and after their appointment to the bench."
She added the photos were taken as a result of her husbands "strange tastes" and the release of the photos by Chapman was "malicious."
Independent counsel Guy Pratte said Chapman would testify Douglas flirted with him and touched him during a meeting between the three, even saying she hoped to see him at her house.
Block said that was a "fabircation" and Douglas had no interest in Chapman. She said no touching ever happened and Douglas had no interest in extra-marital sexual relations.
She said punishing Douglas would be akin to punishing a rape victim whose attack was videotaped and shared.
Pratte started his opening statement by noting the intense public scrutiny Douglas has been under.
He said, "This will not be a witch hunt or a white wash."
He did say that it would be an "unprecedented" look into the very core of a judge's private life.
The inquiry will begin hearing evidence on July 16th. Chapman will be the first of 14 witnesses to testify, Douglas the last.