WINNIPEG - A man who shocked Manitoba's justice community with claims that he was sexually harassed by a judge is asking for a publicly-funded lawyer to represent him.
Alexander Chapman says ever since he came forward with accusations against two lawyers, one of whom is now an associate chief justice, he has been unable to work.
"I lost my job ... I don't have much left," Chapman told an inquiry committee of the Canadian Judicial Council on Saturday.
"I've been diagnosed with chronic stress as a result of what happened to me."
Chapman came forward in 2010 with claims of being the target of a strange sexual plan seven years earlier. He claimed his divorce lawyer, Jack King, had given him nude photos of King's wife, Lori Douglas, and had asked him to have sex with her. Douglas was a lawyer at the time, and later became a judge and rose to the position of associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.
The photos, some of which show Douglas nude and in bondage gear, ended up on the Internet. The Canadian Judicial Council has launched an inquiry into Douglas's conduct, which could lead to her being removed from the bench.
The council committee held a preliminary hearing Saturday to determine, among other things, who will have standing once inquiry hearings begin later this year. Chapman urged the council members to give him a lawyer, saying he needed one to help him protect his rights.
The committee decided to schedule another hearing on Chapman's request, but ordered that Chapman be given a lawyer for that hearing. A date has not been set, yet, for that hearing.
Meanwhile, the committee rejected a request by Douglas's lawyer, Sheila Block, to have the inquiry moved to another province. Block said the publicity generated by the inquiry will hurt Douglas and her son.
But committee chair Catherine Fraser, who is also the chief justice of Alberta, said negative publicity will occur no matter where the inquiry is held. There would also be logistical challenges in getting people to testify in another location, she said.
"Almost all of the witnesses will be from the Winnipeg area," Fraser said.
The inquiry hearings are scheduled to start June 25. Before then, Guy Pratte, the independent counsel leading the inquiry, will spell out the exact allegations against Douglas.
King admitted in March of last year that he solicited Chapman to have sex with his wife and gave him the explicit photos. He also admitted that he arranged two meetings at a bar between himself, his wife and Chapman.
However, King said he acted without his wife's knowledge, and all parties have agreed that Chapman never had sex with Douglas.
At one point, King paid Chapman $25,000 in exchange for returning the photos and promising to not talk about what happened. Chapman came forward seven years later, saying he could not keep silent any longer.
The scandal has already taken a toll. Douglas has been removed from hearing cases pending the outcome of the inquiry. King was reprimanded by the Law Society of Manitoba for professional misconduct and ordered to pay $14,000 to cover the society's prosecution costs. He still retains his licence, however.