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My statement stands, Supreme Court justice Brown says


Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown continues to insist he did nothing wrong before the alleged spat in Arizona, prompting an appeal to the Judicial Council of Canada.

Brown’s attorney says the justice has nothing to add after a police report on the alleged “unwanted touching” of a female guest during a Jan. 28 meeting at a Scottsdale lounge.

In the report, complainant John Crump accused Brown of being drunk and hitting Crump’s female companions. Crump told police he punched the judge in the face “several times.”

One of those companions told police Brown kissed her on the cheek “once or twice,” put his hand on the small of her back and touched her leg.

The police report said she denied being touched in a “sexual manner” but said “yes” when the officer asked if Brown’s alleged behavior constituted “unwanted touching.”

In a statement Friday, Brown described Crump’s version of events as “demonstrably false,” but did not specifically address the woman’s allegations.

“Justice Brown has nothing to add to his March 10 statement,” Alexandra Heine, one of Brown’s attorneys, wrote Tuesday.

“Evidence provided to the Judicial Council of Canada supports 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 attending an awards ceremony and banquet at the resort ahead of the meeting, which took place later that night in the hotel lobby.

According to the police report, at the invitation of one of the women, Brown joined their group and spent part of the evening with them. It was during that period that the “unwanted touch” allegedly took place.

Crump told the investigating officer that when members of the group later tried to return to their hotel rooms, Brown followed him, despite Crump’s efforts to tell him he was unwanted and to stop following them.

“When they got to their hotel room, all the women walked in, followed by Crump and then Brown,” the officer wrote.

“However, to protect the women and not invite a drunken, creepy, unwanted man into the hotel room, Crump punched (Brown) several times.

The police report said Crump was “argumentative, hostile (and) antagonistic during his interview with the officer, who wrote that he believed he was ‘under the influence of alcohol.’

It also said the officer was unable to reach Brown to interview him, but concluded that Crump’s “use of force appeared reasonable and necessary and no crime was committed.” There were no arrests.

Neither Crump nor other members of the group named in the media report immediately responded to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Details of the row have emerged as parliament debates new legislation designed to change the process by which the council deals with 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, currently before the Senate, would also clarify the circumstances under which a judge can be removed and change the way the council makes its recommendations to the federal justice minister.

The Judicial Council of Canada has jurisdiction over federally appointed judges and receives, reviews and hears appeals. It works at arm’s length from the executive and legislative branches of government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 14, 2023.

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