Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown continues to insist he did nothing wrong prior to an alleged altercation in Arizona that triggered a complaint to the Canadian Judicial Council.
A lawyer for Brown says the justice has nothing to add after a police report alleged “unwanted touching” of a female guest during a Jan. 28 encounter at a Scottsdale resort lounge.
That report included the complainant, Jon Crump, accusing Brown of being intoxicated and “hitting on” his female companions before he punched the justice “a few times” in the face.
One of those companions told police Brown kissed her on the cheek “once or twice,” placed his hand on the small of her back and touched her on the leg.
The police report says she denied being touched in a “sexual way” but answered “yes” when the officer asked if Brown’s alleged behaviour constituted “unwanted touching.”
In a statement Friday, Brown described Crump’s version of events “demonstrably false” but did not specifically address the woman’s allegations.
“Justice Brown has nothing to add to his statement of March 10,” Alexandra Heine, who is one of Brown’s lawyers, wrote in a statement Tuesday.
“The evidence provided to the Canadian Judicial Council confirms his account of the incident.”
Brown, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2015 by then-prime minister Stephen Harper, has been on leave from the court since Feb. 1 pending the outcome of the council’s ongoing investigation.
He was taking part in an awards ceremony and banquet at the resort ahead of the encounter, which occurred in the hotel lounge later that same night.
The police report said that at the invitation of one of the women, Brown joined their group and spent a portion of the evening with them. It was during that period the “unwanted touching” allegedly occurred.
Crump told the investigating officer that when the group’s members later tried to return to their hotel rooms, Brown followed, despite Crump’s efforts to tell him he was unwelcome and to stop following them.
“Once they got to their hotel room all the females walked inside, followed by Crump, then followed by (Brown),” the officer wrote.
“However, to protect the women and to prevent the drunk, creepy, unwanted male from entering the hotel room uninvited, Crump punched (Brown) a few times.”
The police report said Crump was “argumentative, hostile (and) antagonistic” during his interview with the officer, who wrote he believed that he was “under the influence of alcohol.”
It also said the officer was unable to reach Brown to interview him, but he concluded Crump’s “use of force appeared reasonable and necessary, and no crime was determined.” There were no arrests.
Neither Crump nor other members of the group identified in the media report immediately responded to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Details of the altercation have emerged as Parliament considers new legislation designed to change the process by which the council handles allegations against judges.
If passed, Bill C-9 would create a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that are not serious enough to warrant a judge’s removal.
The bill, which is currently being considered by the Senate, would also clarify the circumstances under which a judge can be removed, and change the way the council reports its recommendations to the federal justice minister.
The Canadian Judicial Council has authority over federally appointed judges and it receives, reviews and deals with complaints. It works at arm’s length from the executive and legislative branches of government.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2023.