THUNDER BAY - A panel of three judges has concluded that Justice of the Peace Anna Gibbon engaged in judicial misconduct when she intervened in proceeding involving a family member.
The three presiding judges consisting of Timothy Lipson, Holly Charyna, and John Tzanis handed down their ruling on Feb. 7, 2022.
The judicial conduct hearing was convened in January 2021 and evidence was presented throughout the summer of 2021 before concluding in November.
The panel ruled that Gibbon acted inappropriately when she intervened in her son’s Highway Traffic Act proceeding by calling the prosecutor to discuss the case, inviting two out of town Justices of the Peace to her home for dinner on the same day her son was to appear in conflict court, and asking the Regional Senior Justice of the Peace to have the charge against her son withdrawn or stayed.
“The Panel held that Her Worship Gibbon’s conduct in relation to the prosecution of her son’s legal proceeding was incompatible with her position as a justice of the peace and compromised the independence, impartiality and integrity of her judicial office,” the panel wrote in its ruling.
“The Panel further concluded that Her Worship’s failure, on more than one occasion, to respect the ethical and professional boundaries of her office and to act with impartiality, integrity and independence undermined public confidence in the administration of justice.”
Defense counsel for Gibbon argued during closing submissions that Gibbon’s action did not constitute misconduct, saying her experiences as an Indigenous person in the community resulted in her having concerns for her son and how he was being treated by the justice system.
The defense and prosecution will be given the opportunity to present evidence or submissions on the dispositions to address the findings of judicial misconduct and a future hearing date will be scheduled.
Potential consequences resulting from the findings of judicial misconduct could involve Gibbon facing a warning, a reprimand, be ordered to apologize, suspended with pay for any period of time, suspended without pay for 30 days, or a recommendation she be removed from office.
Gibbon was appointed as Justice of the Peace for the Ontario Court of Justice in 2013 and previously served as the city of Thunder Bay’s first Aboriginal liaison.