What a shock to see yet another star appointment of the notoriously meritocratic Harper judiciary (yo, Vic Toews!) land in the merde.
I speak of the Hon. Ontario Superior Court Justice Kelly Gorman, the former drug prosecutor plunked on the bench by the Tories in ’08. Judge Kelly appears to be en route to another date with the Ontario Court of Appeal over an innocent late-night assignation this summer with Windsor assistant Crown Tom Meehan.
The jury had just returned a guilty verdict in the second-degree murder trial of Andrew Cowan last August when Gorman, the presiding judge, hooked up for collegial refreshments at local booze can, Fourteen.
Joining him at the pub was Meehan, the trial’s prosecutor, one of his articling students and OPP Det. Const. Joan Wilson, the case’s lead investigator. Meehan had two beers and a shot, Her Honour two vodka and water.
The fun foursome adjourned around 11:10 pm, and Kelly and Tom thence repaired to Her Honour’s hotel for a late dinner and another bottle of wine, as you do.
Cowan’s defence legalist, the coruscating Patrick Ducharme, who was not invited to any post-verdict festivities, and had found Her Honour consistently congenial to the prosecution throughout the case, later learned about the cozy evening and applied for a mistrial. He was denied by Justice Gorman, who shrugged that the jury had spoken, gave his client life with no prospect of parole for 10 years, and told him to take it up with the appeal court.
Meehan has admitted to a close friendship with Kelly, and has attended family shindigs at her house. Courthouse gossips being what they are, speculation is rife as to just how close that friendship might have been. Was dancing involved?
It takes so very little, after all, to arouse the tightassed Windsor crowd. Readers of a certain age may recall the sartorial saga of local defence lawyer Laura Joy. Back in 2002, Justice Micheline Rawlings handed press weasels across the country three days of blonde cover fodder by bitching Joy out for excessive cleavage in the courtroom.
Ms. Joy had been appearing in court wearing clothing so outrageous that the tone, texture and topography of the upper slopes of her hulking hogans were well known to anyone who spent any time in the Windsor courts.
Rawlins, the local administrative judge, refused to hear Ms. Joy’s case after issuing at least a half dozen warnings about her attire—warnings which in fact had been requested by many lawyers, including several male judges. The jugs of Joy were simply too distracting to judge and jury.
Small world, the brittle-haired barrister was the ex of Windsor MPP Dwight “Spanky” Duncan, whose ’96 campaign for the provincial Grit leadership had been frequently derailed by his inopportune disappearances with the tireless Joy. Anywhere, anytime.
As campaign appearances were put on hold and supporters cooled their heels waiting for their candidate to make his entrance, they were invariably told, “The candidate is caucusing with Mrs. Duncan.”
But je digresse. As pointed out by the Windsor Star court hack Sarah Sacheli, this latest trial wasn’t the first the honourable justice had pooched with Meehan at the bat. In voiding a 2012 conviction of first degree murder and ordering a new trial on la second-degree charge, the appeal court found Her Honour had erred by failing to reign in Tom’s massaging of the jury.
Meehan was replaced on the Cowan case, and awaits the stern judgment of Lowell C. Hunking, the bible-bashing director of Crown operations for the region. The onetime SWAT-team member and born-again preacher, who in the 90s used to warn his flock down in Florida of the evils of homosexualism and, er, credit cards, can be trusted to vigorously defend the honour of the Crown, amen.