Ontario Superior Court Judge Paul Cosgrove has resigned from office, Canada's Minister of Justice and Attorney General announced Thursday.
“A recent report to the Minister of Justice from the Canadian Judicial Council recommended Mr. Justice Cosgrove's removal. In view of the fact that Justice Cosgrove has resigned, there is no further action to be taken,” federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement.
The resignation is effective immediately.
Last month, the CJC had recommended Judge Cosgrove be removed from office, placing the former federal cabinet minister one step away from being the first judge ever voted out of office by Parliament.
“We find that Justice Cosgrove has failed in the execution of the duties of his judicial office and that public confidence in his ability to discharge those duties in future has been irrevocably lost,” said a inquiry report from 22 members of the CJC who presided over the case.
“We find that there is no alternative measure to removal that would be sufficient to restore public confidence in the judge in this case,” they said. “Therefore, we hereby recommend to the Minister of Justice, in accordance with section 65 of the Judges Act, that Justice Cosgrove be removed from office.”
Judge Cosgrove ran into trouble after he made 150 findings of misconduct by the Crown and police at the 1997 first-degree murder trial of Julia Elliott, in Brockville, Ont.
After the Crown successfully appealed a stay of proceedings in the case, Ontario's attorney-general at the time, Michael Bryant launched a CJC complaint against Judge Cosgrove.
Ms. Elliott's was a circus-like proceeding in which the defence embarked on numerous allegations of conspiracy and evidence fabrication. It ended on Sept. 7, 1999, when Judge Cosgrove stayed proceedings as an abuse of process.
Judge Cosgrove told the CJC that, during and after the Elliott trial, he was criticized so much for his actions that he became “desensitized” to it.
He implored the CJC to allow him to work until he retires on his 75th birthday next December, and offered to avoid sitting on any case involving the Ontario government.
A former federal cabinet minister and mayor of Scarborough, Ont., Judge Cosgrove was appointed to the bench in 1984.
Figured it out yet?
ht/ Halls of Macadamia.