Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ignorant judge gets off lightly...

It's been almost a year since news of Justice Jon-Jo Douglas's appalling ignorance about HIV/AIDS made the news. I was livid when I heard about this last January.

It now appears that Justice Douglas has quietly received what mainstream media are reporting as a "dressing-down" from the Ontario Judicial Council, led by Chief Justice Anne-Marie Bonkalo. According to the Globe: "The council said Judge Jon-Jo Douglas has conceded his actions were wrong, and he has been given a thorough education in the reality of HIV-AIDS at a renowned treatment facility in Toronto, Casey House."

All well and good. It may be that Douglas was rare among Ontario judges in his extreme ignorance of issues related to HIV. It's encouraging that Bonkalo has asked her educational committee to consider a session on HIV/AIDS in future Council programs on "pandemic management in the courtroom." Reps from groups that launched the complaint against Justice Douglas have called that a "step in the right direction," reports the Toronto Star.

I'm still shocked that someone as learned as a judge would've been as ignorant as Douglas in 2007. No doubt for people with HIV, this case has undermined their confidence in the justice system. It does seem that Douglas has gotten off lightly.

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