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Brauti urges council not to suspend JP for misconduct

An Ontario justice of the peace, who admits to two counts of judicial misconduct, shouldn’t face a 30-day suspension without pay, Toronto criminal lawyer Peter Brauti told a review council, reports the Toronto Star.

Brauti’s client, JP Alfred “Budd” Johnston, appeared before a Justice of the Peace Review Council where he apologized for his actions in late 2012 that gave rise to the complaints. According to an agreed statement of facts, Johnston threw out a docket of cases because a Crown attorney was 71 seconds late to court and he mocked a self-represented defendant, says the Star story.

In a letter to the council Johnston said, “At the time of the incidents which bring me before this council, I was simply not myself.”

He blamed his crumbling 35-year marriage and poor health as “context” for his conduct, the Star article says.

“I was rude and sarcastic and showed you far less patience than you were owed as a self-represented litigant,” Johnston admitted in the letter, reports Michele Mandel in the Toronto Sun.

Brauti, partner with Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP, asked that Johnston receive a warning, a reprimand on his record, be ordered to continue counselling and make an official apology, says the Star article.

According to the Star, “Brauti argued that suspending Johnston would not uphold faith in the justice system for any ‘fully informed member of the public.’”

Brauti said the complaints were the “worst things” in Johnston’s life, except for his “family issues.” He noted his client plans to retire next summer, says the Star. The presenting lawyer, Marie Henein, has asked the council to suspend Johnston without pay (but with benefits) for 30 days, says the Star report.

The council will deliver its decision Aug. 19. Read Law Times


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