THUNDER BAY - A former Justice of the Peace in Thunder Bay who was facing a conduct hearing for allegations of inappropriate behaviour with staff, has retired.
According to documents released by the Justices of the Peace Review Council, a hearing that was to be held on June 18 for Justice of the Peace John Guthrie was vacated after he announced his intention to ‘completely and irrevocably retire’ from office effective on June 14.
A Notice of Hearing was issued in January 2019 after the Review Council received two complaints regarding Guthrie’s conduct. It is alleged he engaged in inappropriate behaviour with women in the workplace.
“His worship engaged in a course of conduct, including inappropriate and/or offensive comments to, and touching of, female persons working in the justice system resulting in a poisoned worked environment that was not free of sexual harassment,” the Notice of Hearing reads.
With Guthrie’s retirement, jurisdiction to proceed with the hearing was lost and all future dates were vacated.
Guthrie requested compensation in the amount of $22,368 for legal services and presenting counsel took the position that ‘at least a portion of Mr. Guthrie’s costs were recoverable.’
Toronto lawyer Brian Gover, who was representing Guthrie, said the retirement was not planned and was due to personal circumstances involving the health of a family member.
Gover added that he had been working with presenting counsel, Marie Henein and Ken Grad, on an agreed statement of facts leading up to the planned hearing.
“We had been working with presenting counsel for some time in preparation for the hearing,” he said. “Many of the facts would have been the subject of an agreed statement of facts. (Guthrie) would have testified and would have had something substantive to say regarding the allegations.”
With the hearing no longer being held, Gover said he could not discuss what Guthrie may have said during his testimony.