Panel recommends removal of Thunder Bay, Ont., justice of the peace found guilty of misconduct

·2 min read
A judicial panel has recommended that a Thunder Bay, Ont. judge be removed from the bench after committing professional misconduct.   (Peter Scobie/CBC - image credit)
A judicial panel has recommended that a Thunder Bay, Ont. judge be removed from the bench after committing professional misconduct. (Peter Scobie/CBC - image credit)

A judicial panel has recommended that a Thunder Bay, Ont., justice of the peace be removed after they found she engaged in misconduct related to a traffic incident involving a family member.

The majority of the three-person panel — Justice Timothy Lipson; John Tzanis, a member of the public; and justice of the peace Holly Charyna — concluded Anna Gibbon "has become incapacitated or disabled from the due execution of her office by reason of conduct that is incompatible with the due execution of office."

It was earlier determined Gibbon engaged in misconduct by acting as an advocate for her son after he was charged with failure to yield under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act in 2019.

During hearings last year, the panel was told GIbbon called the prosecutor to discuss her son's case, and asked the regional senior justice of the peace to have the charge against her son dismissed or stayed.

In February, the panel unanimously found Gibbon's actions constituted misconduct. On Thursday, its recommendation for Gibbon's removal from office was made to Ontario's attorney general.

Panel member offers dissenting opinion

In a dissenting opinion, Charyna agreed Gibbon's conduct was serious, but felt remediation was possible.

She wrote Gibbon's conduct stemmed from a misguided sense she had a responsibility to help her son navigate the justice system after he was charged.

Charyna said the action was out of character for Gibbon and she would learn from this mistake and could still fulfil her duties going forward.

Charyna recommended a 30-day suspension without pay, a reprimand, monitoring from a senior jurist from the Ontario Court of Justice, that Gibbon participate in a healing circle and apologize to those she wronged.

Gibbon was appointed a justice of the peace in 2013. Prior to that, she was the City of Thunder Bay's Aboriginal liaison.