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 Judicial Corruption

It has become my perception that Canada’s once renowned Justice System is falling well short of what it claims to be, degenerating from providing a legitimate and much-needed service to the social well being of the people of Canada, to becoming a self-serving entity.  Poor judicial decision making undermines public faith in the rule of law.  With respect, a dominant regime of unaccountability prevails, fostering an endemic culture of complete immunity and impunity engendering an institutional bunker and siege mentality whenever evidence of declining standards or basic errors of fact come to light.  

More due diligence, elementary regulatory oversight to maintain basic standards proves more effective.  I gain the perception of a complete lack of accountability. The greater the power; the greater the need  for transparency and independent oversight. 

Whenever the Justice system fails us, society becomes diminished and all Canadians lose confidence in the political process, allowing populist leaders to win.

Each new generation seems to have to learn for themselves the limitations and ephemeral nature of their power.  Some Judges feel that somehow they are exceptional; immune or resistant to core guiding principles of the past. 

 They reflexively shrug off their oath of office to serve the greater public, to serve vested interests. 

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1881 in The Common Law 46 wrote: …”The first requirement of a sound body of law is, that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community, whether right or wrong.”

A recent contest of a Will  dealt a fatal blow to our family's perception of basic democratic principles that Judicial decisions ought to be justifiably made, based on law and fact, rather than spite or political vendettas.

Stephen Colbert defines truthiness as  the quality of seeming to be true according to one's intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like: the growing trend of truthiness as opposed to truth.  Truthiness is "truth that comes from the gut, not books," .

Accuracy and credibility are important values that enhance the reputations, image and authority of self- respecting institutions.  Responsible Institutions prize their reputations because they underpin their legitimacy. With due respect, any reputational damage is entirely self-inflicted; they appear capable of disgracing themselves with some atrocious decision making.  The question is whether it is ineptitude, conscious ill-will or simply a hubristic powerplay.

Any Institution is only as strong as those entrusted to uphold its founding principles.  The dance remains the same; only the dancers change.  Respectable, prestigious institutions climb to great heights, but then incipiently, incestuously and insidiously the pathological rot complacently sets in.  No one dares to question why?

Poor representation and negative portrayal of any profession becomes a quagmire; the threatened, dominant culture becomes defensive, where farcical small time politics and a self-serving idiocy play out, serving only to exacerbate media criticism and public disillusionment, creating a closed, unremittingly, self-perpetuating, toxic public image.  

Someone needs to press the reset button and reboot the system to avoid the perception of unyielding corrupt behavior becoming the norm. 

The British adversarial system spread throughout its empire, America, Canada, India, Australia and even South Africa as opposed to the inquisitorial system favored by European countries.  Either can be corrupted by will.   The British system was largely forced to transform during the 1980's and 90's.  

Evan Whitton claims that rather than a Justice System, we have a Legal System  "and ne'er the twain shall meet".   A Justice System works for the public good; to improve the net worth of social capital.  A  Legal System is self-serving, working for the good of the legal profession; as Richard Posner, a US economist and judge, said "lawyers and judges have always been ‘a cartel’ aiming ‘to secure a lustrous place in the financial and social status sun".  


Charles Dickens observed in 1852: "The one great principle of English law is to make business for itself."   Judge Rothwax: ‘ … we have a system that is run entirely by lawyers for their own interests and for their own benefit.’ Yale law professor Fred Rodell: ‘The legal trade is nothing but a high class racket.’  Apart from everything else, the rules for concealing and manipulating evidence enable lawyers and judges to engage in endless technical discussion on whether evidence can be admitted.  When you get paid by the hour, why wouldn't you?

Geoffrey Robertson insists no one should become a lawyer for pecuniary reasons.  If you just want to make money, become a real estate agent, a hedge fund manager or a property developer.  Lawyers and Judges should endeavor to serve the general good and enhance society.

Broadly defined, corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for any ulterior reason. It can be classified as grand, petty or political, depending on its motivation.  It becomes glaringly obvious when courts flagrantly flout community expected norms of a reliable and trusted justice system; instead they game a flawed and toxic legal system by arbitrary decision making.  Times change, but corruption is unfortunately a constant.

First we should acknowledge that there are many very good, highly principled, legal practitioners about, but that systems are vulnerable to shysters, who can smear the image of the whole profession, placing the entire System into disrepute.  Systemic failures occur when the received wisdom from Solon, Plato, Shakespeare, Dickens or Michael Kirby is flouted by ignoring the fundamental, inherited and guiding principles in all judicial arbitrating; public office demands public trust for the public good.  Public servants fail us when they shamelessly shrug off their vowed oaths of office.  The good guys must stand up to the baddies.

Occasional golden ages shine through from time to time when as Hegel writes, "the owl of Minerva takes flight"Theodore Parker assured us in 1810, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”  Sometimes it appears interminably long, especially when the legal world intervenes.

Australian Justice seems to be lighting a beacon of hope, replacing Canada's dimming. Robust criticism of the courts met with fierce opposition, but the right of people to criticise Judgments appears to have prevailed and the courts are much more aware of the limitations to their awesome bulwark discretionary power.  The greatest danger facing Australian Judges today is the threat of being declared a National Treasure or nominated for Australian of the year.

For a laudable, exemplary Judge see.

In stark contrast is one of many questionable Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench decisions; an extraordinary case with many surprising aspects; was the contesting of a Will, known as the Heinrichs-Hoffman file.  It appears to epitomise all the surreal hallmarks of a rigged judgement; an outstanding case study of Systemic failure of unscrupulously resisting crucial facts, resulting in degraded standards of arbitrary decision making. It has become my distinct perception that most of its curious conclusions were determined by an obvious ulterior small time political agenda.  Judicial defiance doesn't come much more brazen than this case.  

What astounds me is the sheer audacity of Judges who recklessly assert knowable falsehoods to audiences who have a firm grasp of the facts.  It proclaims its ill informed conclusions with unwarranted certainty treating well informed family members with utter contempt.  This is risible and insufferable in any mature democracy.

Further, failures also don’t come much more spectacular than this court's uncanny processing and vacuous findings. It flagrantly plucks evidence out of thin air, fabricating it, ensuring that real facts do not intrude to unduly influence its desired determinations. Depreciating solid material evidence by amplifying airy assertions of beneficiaries appears consciously credulous and willfully naive. Culpably ignoring crucial evidence does not inspire confidence.  I allege that this, by  definition, constitutes corrupt conduct. Corrupt conduct needs to be investigated, interrogated and if demonstrable; censured. The devil is in the detail. 

It is my distinct and considered contention that the Appeals Court was guilty of professional misconduct, failing to conduct proper investigations.

In a case like this, the thing that always worries people, and that includes me, is how someone who is working in an Appeals Court, where there is supervision, how Judges can engage in shoddy conduct over a period of time without it coming to the attention of people further up the tree.  Any unsatisfactory professional conduct should trigger internal concerns that the quality of decision making is determined by facts that can be validated.  This needs to be interrogated.

Further I contend that it is fraudulent for the court to charge outrageous court costs for services they did not in good faith provide.

Generally we should not criticise Judges or judgments because they have a difficult job and can not publicly respond, however in this unusual case, since it has been referred to the Canadian Judicial Council without sufficient response, I feel fully justified in doing so.  If the system is wrong, it is the sovereign duty of all responsible citizens to attempt to correct it. Orwell urges a moral effort; an urgency, even an imperative to fight injustice and tyranny.  To do less would be unpatriotic. Camus urges us to pull back from the brink of despair. 

It has also become my impression that the CJC lacks the capacity or the will for adequate Judicial oversight and regulatory deterrents.  Realistic community expectations demand certain levels of professional standards be upheld. It is my considered view that the CJC has turned itself from a public watch dog, into an institutional guard dog, with a self-interest in protecting wayward judges from public scrutiny.  This fosters an endemic culture of unaccountability, immunity and impunity.  Faith, confidence and trust in the Legal System founders.  We expect more exacting standards of decision making.  For Judicial Reform, there is only the forlorn hope of more effective corrective regulatory influence.

By another definition, corruption indicates a system that is broken or not fulfilling its founding purpose because of ulterior self-serving agendas.

“The possibility of corruption exists wherever a dishonest public official has power or authority ..., and dishonesty is a common human flaw.”  Tony Fitzgerald QC, - The Saturday Paper.

I invite readers to consider the facts and respond to any errors of perception.

My concerns center on THE COURT OF APPEAL OF MANITOBA,  Mr.Justices: Alan D. MacInnes, Marc M. Monnin, William J. Burnett.  Judgement delivered July 2, 2013  -  Applicant: Rudy Hoffman v Respondent: Warren Heinrichs.

A complaint was submitted to the Canadian Judicial Council in 2014 (File: 14-0393).  The CJC, in defiance of a Statutory  Act of the Canadian Parliament, has never meaningfully responded to my serious concerns about perceptions of a perversion of Justice.  By sovereign birthright, I am entitled to a respectful, credible and substantive response.  Yet our politicians, of all persuasions appear to lack the will or spine to enforce their own laws.

In my opinion, both the original and the Appeal Court are in blatant Jurisdictional Error.  36 out of 46 surviving descendants challenged a Will due to perceived suspicious circumstances.  The first court case failed us crucially, by ignoring vital evidence. Our subsequent appeal questioned the original Judgment's grasp of the facts citing palpable and overriding inferential error as well as findings against substantive and ascertainable evidence.  Nobody bothered to check or consider the facts.  It appears they were prejudiced against the facts and reality.

The Appeals Court failed to undertake "reasonable efforts" to ensure that factual material was "supportable as being accurate".  More Judge Judy, than Sherlock Holmes.  

Instead of testing, verifying, validating disputed errors of fact, the Appeal court was content with posturing; merely stridently and stolidly compounding these errors in a vain attempt at establishing known misconceptions as irrefutable fact, by simply emphatically restating them.  This appears a stark abuse of privilege - an unforgivable abuse of vaunted power.  It also seems like consummate denialism. Only Donald Trump trumps it. Blind arrogance, rampant charlantry and willful remarkable ignorance go hand in hand.  But then it is difficult to defend the indefensible.

Although courts retain discretionary powers, there is no sound reason for most findings. The facts are beyond reasonable doubt.”

Instances of perception management is further reinforced by the vehement tone and tenor of the Appeal Court.  Voicing its own threatened fears and inadequacies of procedure, it resorts to towering bluster, bombast and bravado betraying its insecurity, defensiveness and covering up its lack of factual foundations.  In my view i is a complete negation of empirical consideration of evidence.  It belies its professed oath of office.   No one is above the law.

Do these not offend your sensibilities?  It surprises me, does it not amaze you?  Its shameful tactics were executed shamelessly.  We should be astonished by extraordinary methods – a gross neglect of proper procedures.  How is this possible?  Utterly crucial evidence remains shockingly unexamined; vital disputations not tested.  Where is the judicial oversight?

This is totally unacceptable in any mature democracy.  It should not be tolerated by our elected responsible representatives.  It needs to be re-examined.  Yet all we get is silence and inaction.

A cross party parliamentary investigation is an appropriate way to reassure the public in these starkly divided and cynical times whether judges are answerable to a higher authority.

Displaying classic symptoms of what is known as the "backfire effect", the court is impervious to facts or reality. It defies both logic and reason.  Counter-evidence, far from changing its views, actually strengthens them.  A study by Brendan Nyhan of the University of Michigan and Jason Reifler of Georgia State University concluded, "Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions ....corrections actually increase misperceptions among the groups in question."

The backfire effect is a kind of self-protection mechanism. When you are confronted with data that threatens your convictions, your mind works overtime to defend you. It reorganizes information and re-establishes arguments allowing you to continue believing what you already believed.

It seems that most of us do not let the facts get in the way of a strong belief; no one is immune to the buried power of self-deception and the backfire effect.

A fundamental guiding principle of all decision making is that a lawyer or Judge cannot make assertions or findings that do not have reasonable, substantial, factual foundations.  The two courts manage recklessly to commit at least five breaches of this code.

Here are some dubious findings of the courts proclaimed with unwarranted certitude:  

1) That Anne and her twin brother had a close relationship throughout their lives.  

2) That Anne did not have a close relationship with her other siblings.   

3) That Anne's land had been farmed by Jake until 1982.  

4) That when her husband died, Anne went immediately to live with Jake and his family. 

5) That Anne's Schizophrenia had no impact on her testamentary capacity as it was treated by medication.  The court fudged all probative evidence and found that Anne was merely eccentric, and accused all and sundry of "embellishing her eccentricities".   These are simply untenable.

Failing to verify any of the five appears an extraordinary feat.  Getting all five facts wrong was only accomplished with supreme studious and strenuous effort; a coordinated calculated, contrived and concerted effort to overlook, duck, dodge, weave around crucial material evidence.  Inconvenient evidence was even suppressed.  This is a complete negation of the duty and obligations of conscientious forensic appraisals.  Not to test conflicting claims appears professionally negligent.  Should a doctor, scientist, architect, or pilot, recklessly disregard vital evidence, instant dismissal, would result

With apologies to Oscar Wilde, for the court to get one wrong might be considered unfortunate, two appears careless, three, inept, four professionally negligent but all five seems purposefully perverse.  

As a brother Ernst claims, "truth may be free but spin, obfuscation, commands increasingly higher premiums".  Our erstwhile, assiduous talented and conscientious lawyer's work was cavalierly disregarded.  Instead of landing a windfall, together with us, he was made to pay exorbitant court costs for what I consider a crock of codswallop. 

Because they are not sourced, and conflict with solid material evidence, the five findings lack credibility, seriously inviting scorn, derision and contempt of court.  To see actual sourced, substantial and sustainable evidence available to the court, click here.

Appeal courts, which rubber stamp poor decisions, do no one any favors. Respectable Systems should be designed to self-correct. This case contributes to profoundly diminishing the credibility, authority and the very legitimacy of the entire judicial system. Its clueless conclusions invite derision but demand interrogation because they produced no findings that would warrant faith in the system.

I derive the distinct impression the courts clearly had another agenda that required each to reach such a desired but questionable result.  The time honored adage "my mind is made up, don't confuse the issue with the facts", prevails

My speculative theory centers around both court's sheer determination that our lawyer was not to win his case. It had nothing to do with his rigorously researched presentations of substantial evidence or our well documented family facts; we were merely cannon fodder in a proxy war; collateral damage, caught in the terrifying cross fire on "no man's land" of petty politics.  Fortunately none of us suffered any major casualties, except of course shell shock, horror and grievances regarding the calumny toward our honorable ancestors, but it does not bode well for any lawyer, not protected by powerful law firms.  

Our lawyer left his law firm a month before the case and took his file with him.  I do not know what the correct protocol in such cases should be, but to use a civil family case to "get him" does not seem appropriate.  It appears like not only ill-will, but an actual vendetta; malice aforethought. If you need to settle private scores, do it somewhere else.
In many parts of the world there is a widespread acceptance of the small time corruption made to protect self -serving institutions or its members. People know it’s corruption, of course, but it’s just a part of life and nothing can be done about it.  This is defeatism, giving in to despair.  Canadians can ill afford for our Judicial system to become so easily corrupted.

The Canadian Justice system seems finally to be careering towards the logical extension of the disastrous American system where might is right; Judges prize their unyielding privilege over their sworn duty to the public.

Another feature of corruption becomes evident whenever everyone in the organisation begins to think alike.  Collegiality becomes conformist and a team mentality stifles, stultifies and stupefies independent thinking, evolving into an incestuous bubble world, doubling as an echo chamber with no one daring to raise divergent views. Group think or mono think is rewarded.  You are expected to protect your institution at all costs.  Resistance, dissidence or independent thinking results in demotions or even exclusion In this case the perception persists that the entire system is designed to close ranks against the barbarian hordes - us, the great unwashed.

In the Appeal case above, it it obvious the main Judge makes all the running and the two remaining appear to be a herd of sheep mindlessly going in the same direction, merely slavishly signing the last page by ticking a box to indicate their compliance.  Not too inspiring of independent thinking!

Retired Australian High Court (Canadian born) Judge Dyson Heydon fired a parting salvo at his fellow High Court judges in an essay that categorises them as overbearing personalities and weaker spirits, with a herd mentality that poses a threat to judicial independence.

In a thinly veiled critique of the dynamic on the High Court, the most solitary figure on the bench in recent years attacked the tendency of some judges to dominate others, in an essay subtitled ''The enemy within'', published in the Law Quarterly Review.

''Stronger judicial personalities tend to push the weaker into submission,''

''They stare out from their judgments with the superb elegance of noblemen in Renaissance portraits - utterly confident of their own ability, pretty sure that no other judge has yet grasped the key points and that some may never do so, certain that the parties have not, glorifying in their self-perceived terribilita.''

Another highly esteemed, Retired High Court Justice Michael Kirby recommended that protocols be developed to deal with judges who bully counsel or witnesses.

''In serious and repeated cases, bullying by judicial officers should be recognised as an abuse of public office warranting commencement of proceedings for the removal of the offender from judicial office,'' he said.

''A judge is a servant of the law and is commissioned by the Queen and the community to do their duty, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

''They have to be held to that, in my opinion, because if they're not, they're going  to go on [bullying others].''

The rudeness of judges trickles down to junior lawyers in a cycle of bullying and stress that is rife within the legal profession.

While it was difficult for bullying victims - particularly junior lawyers - to take action, Justice Kirby said that bad behaviour should not be tolerated.

“It is a truth wearily demonstrated by history that acts of tyranny condoned against some will finally become a tyranny visited on all.”  Richard Flanagan

"When the people fear their government, (courts) there is tyranny; when the government  (court) fears the people, there is liberty.  Thomas Jefferson

Contempt of Court

According to Richard Ackland writing in The Guardian, precise definition of “Contempt of Court” in a robust democracy is a complex matter.  Ideally it should not exist.  In practice it should only apply to defiance or non-compliance of an enforceable direction of a court or to a matter sub judice.  To merely express an opinion on a court decision is a birth right of anyone living in a fully democratic society. To suggest that a member of the public could be guilty of causing reputational damage, placing the court in disrepute or scandalising the court is absurd.  Any reputational damage is generally totally self – inflicted by the professionals themselves and any input from us amateurs is incidental.

In matters under the court’s consideration that are still sub judice, therefore prohibited from public discussion should only apply when juries are in place.

While the courts should not bow to public pressure, they do have to reflect public values and meet realistic community expectations.   They are public servants – not masters.

Some Judge believe their power should not be questioned. Tyrants utter such a statements and strike fear into those beneath them,  because they have installed enough fear.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1881 in The Common Law 46 wrote: …”The first requirement of a sound body of law is, that it should correspond with the actual feelings and demands of the community, whether right or wrong.”

All my attempts at holding Canadian courts accountable, have so far, spectacularly failed; but then liberty demands eternal vigilance and activism.  Politicians of all political persuasions, appear too craven to take on the seemingly invincible court system.  If only they could appreciate how arrogant, but ignorant they look.  They scuttle their own honor.  They become the real reason we look for false populist leaders like Trump.

There’s a certain level of Ozymandian arrogance at play, together with its “sneer of cold command”, a boastful, “look on my works, ye mighty and despair,” while nothing remains – arguments “Told by an idiot, Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.   We should not succumb to their thinly veiled threat to our freedoms, our power and despair.   The courts need to earn our respect and win back our trust.

We should fight them on the beaches, on the prairies, in the mountains, in the public domain, on social media, in the courts; we should never surrender.

No one appears to wear the consequences of questionable judicial procedures.  Although courts retain discretion, when the facts are beyond reasonable doubt, there appear no sound reasons for most of its findings.
No one appears to wear the consequences of questionable judicial procedures.  Although courts retain discretion, when the facts are beyond reasonable doubt, there appear no sound reasons for most of its findings.
No one appears to wear the consequences of questionable judicial procedures.  Although courts retain discretion, when the facts are beyond reasonable doubt, there appear no sound reasons for most of its findings.
No one appears to wear the consequences of questionable judicial procedures.  Although courts retain discretion, when the facts are beyond reasonable doubt, there appear no sound reasons for most of its findings.

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