NWT judge investigates 2nd misconduct complaint

Yellowknife Courthouse.  Judge Donovan Molloy has scheduled a misconduct hearing in May to consider a complaint filed against him in June 2021.  (Natalie Pressman/CBC - photo credit)

Yellowknife Courthouse. Judge Donovan Molloy has scheduled a misconduct hearing in May to consider a complaint filed against him in June 2021. (Natalie Pressman/CBC – photo credit)

A NWT district judge is being investigated over a second misconduct complaint that “substantially overlaps” with an already ongoing complaint, according to filings filed by federal prosecutors.

Details of the complaint were discussed Monday at a preliminary hearing on Judge Donovan Molloy’s conduct.

The first complaint, filed by Martha Chertkow, a former Chief Counsel in the NWT, with the Territory’s Judicial Council for Territorial Judges led to a hearing now scheduled for May 15-19.

The second complaint, filed by the Canadian Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPSC) on May 10, 2022, is still under investigation to determine whether it merits further action. According to the investigation, no details are available.

A five-member subcommittee of the Judicial Council for Territorial Judges, chaired by Justice Karan Shaner, investigates written complaints against judges and may suspend a judge or recommend that the territory’s Minister of Justice remove a judge from office.

Chertkow filed the original complaint in June 2021. She claimed Molloy launched personal attacks from the bench that at times left Crown’s lawyers in tears and in physical distress. Molloy is also accused of similar misconduct towards defendants.

Chertkov no longer practices on the territory. She is currently working as a legal adviser to the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The second complaint against Molloy was discussed in Monday’s preliminary motion, as the PPSC applied to be admitted as a party at the forthcoming hearing.

According to the PPSC’s request, a number of incidents described in Chertkow’s complaint “may give rise to an investigation or deliberation of both the PPSC’s internal operations and specific interactions between other PPSC prosecutors and Judge Molloy.”

PPSC attorney Chris Bernier argued in the preliminary filing that the PPSC had an interest in participating because the incidents and staff involved were similar.

However, the motion was denied because Shaner said the committee determined there was no reason to support it given that there were no plans to interview PPSC officials at the hearing.

unable to participate

The appointment of the forthcoming hearing in May comes after Molloy requested that the trial be stayed indefinitely for health reasons.

According to a transcript of committee meetings on Jan. 16 and 17, Molloy requested that the hearing be adjourned indefinitely because a doctor determined he would not be able to attend “anytime soon.”

The committee ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support an indefinite adjournment, including the fact that no adjustments for a new date were submitted.

photo submitted

photo submitted

“The danger to Judge Molloy is significant, but fairness is not limited to Judge Molloy. The process must be fair to the complainant, who has a legitimate interest in having their complaints addressed and resolved within a reasonable time,” Shaner said of the transcript.

However, Shaner said the committee had no objection to a brief adjournment and the hearing scheduled for May.

CBC News contacted Molloy to comment on the decision, but he referred the issue to his legal counsel, Robert Bradbury. CBC News contacted Bradbury via email but did not immediately receive a response.


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