WINNIPEG — Winnipeg Lawyer Jack King said he was sorry for pressuring a client eight years ago to have sex with King’s wife, now a judge, as he pleaded guilty Monday to professional misconduct.
But he directed most of the apology at his wife, Queen’s Bench Justice Lori Douglas, who is being investigated by the Canadian Judicial Council over the incident and is no longer hearing cases.
“My behaviour was disgraceful,” he said at a hearing in the large meeting room of the Law Society of Manitoba, which was filled with reporters as well as the complainant and former client, Alexander Chapman, and members of his family.
“To my wife, I can never apologize enough.”
He said all his wife did was privately indulge him in his strange tastes. He posted naked photographs of her on a website and gave some to Chapman.
The three-person panel which heard the case was expected to rule later in the day on what punishment he should face.
Lawyers for the Law Society and King agreed he had taken steps years ago to atone for the misconduct, so disbarring him or suspending him now wouldn’t be warranted.
King paid Chapman $25,000 and didn’t practise law for 10 months while he underwent treatment.
Lindsay MacDonald, the Alberta lawyer brought in to act for the society, asked for a fine and wanted King to repay more than $13,000 in costs.
Bill Gange, King’s lawyer, suggested a reprimand and between $1,000 and $1,500 in costs was enough of a penalty.
The case has generated lurid headlines virtually around the world since it first broke last year, when Chapman decided to sue King, Douglas and their former law firm for $67 million. Eventually all the lawsuits were dropped or dismissed.
King admits soliciting Chapman to have sex with Douglas, sending him nude photos of her that he had taken and arranging two meetings for drinks which all three attended.
Nothing happened and Douglas was appointed to the bench two years later. King returned to law and became a partner in a new firm he helped found.
Then Chapman went to the CBC to publicize his case, sued and filed the complaint with the law society.
“Seven years went by and nothing happened and then out of the blue a complaint was made to the law society,” Gange said.
When he accepted the $25,000, Chapman wasn’t prevented from complaining to the law society, but he was to have handed over or deleted from his computer any incriminating photographs or emails. And he was supposed to keep the matter confidential.
He has since been sued for the return of the $25,000 . He told the hearing Monday that when he tried to hand the money over, it was refused. It was all he got to say since the panel said they had his written comments and didn’t want to hear more from him.
In a victim impact statement he filed, which was criticized by both lawyers for straying too far from what such statements are supposed to deal with, he said the case has ruined his life.
He said he was fired from his job at Great-West Life after the story broke last year and has been unable to find comparable work since, he wrote.
“It haunted me,” he said of the incident.
“It is difficult for me to trust anyone in the legal profession and that has carried over into my personal life.”