Canoe News

Monday, August 9, 1999

Controversial judge taken off the bench

FREDERICTON (CP) -- A controversial New Brunswick judge has lost her job a second time over comments she made more than a year ago questioning the honesty of Acadian residents.

An appellate-court judge ruled Monday that Jocelyne Moreau-Berube will stay off the bench and not collect any salary while the province appeals a decision to reinstate her.

Moreau-Berube was fired last April for questioning the honesty of people on the province's Acadian Peninsula.

Last month a Court of Queen's Bench judge set aside that decision.

Lawyers for the judicial council and the province of New Brunswick filed an appeal last week and argued that leaving Moreau-Berube on the bench would cause "irreparable" damage to the justice system.

They said if the government wins its appeal and the judge is removed permanently, any cases she would have heard in the interim would be invalid.

Moreau-Berube was fired for comments she made at a sentencing hearing in February 1998.

She said a poll on the Acadian Peninsula would reveal more dishonest people than honest ones. She also wondered in open court whether she was surrounded by crooks in her neighbourhood in Tracadie-Sheila, N.B. Monday's decision means Moreau-Berube forfeits her $125,000 annual salary.

The stage is now set for the government's formal appeal. Arguments could begin as early as October.

Copyright 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.