Trump hat-wearing judge suspended

Ontario judge who wore Trump hat in court suspended without pay for 30 days

An Ontario judge who wore a hat in court bearing a slogan used by U.S. President Donald Trump has been suspended without pay over the incident.

The Ontario Judicial Council says Justice Bernd Zabel’s conduct warrants the most serious reprimand possible short of removing him from the bench.

The council, which heard Zabel’s case last month, says the incident marks a “single aberrant and inexplicable act of judicial misconduct” from an otherwise respected judge.

Zabel will be suspended for 30 days. The Hamilton-based judge has not been assigned cases since January.

Related: Ontario judge who donned Trump hat faces disciplinary hearing

At his hearing last month, Zabel said he meant to lighten the mood by wearing a baseball cap with the slogan “Make America Great Again” while walking into court on Nov. 9, 2016 — the day after Trump won the U.S. election.

He testified that it was only after his actions made headlines that he realized some believed he was showing support for the controversial American president and his policies.

“Justice Zabel’s conduct that day gave rise to a perception by many that he was a Trump supporter and that he agreed with Trump’s views and policies. In doing so, he violated a fundamental principle of judicial ethics and, particularly in view of the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign, engaged in serious misconduct,” the council panel wrote in a decision released Tuesday.

“His conduct on Nov. 9, 2016 was completely at odds with the exemplary judge he has been for the past 27 years. We are satisfied that Justice Zabel does not hold any of the discriminatory views that the complainants attribute to Donald Trump,” it said.

“We are satisfied that members of vulnerable groups need have no fear about the treatment they would receive from Justice Zabel.”

Zabel’s actions prompted 81 complaints to the council.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Williams Lake named fourth “most dangerous” in Canada

Maclean’s Magazine rankings out today and Williams Lake is once again in the bottom five

Province steps up loan program for wildfire-affected Cariboo ranchers

Cariboo Bred Heifer Cooperative will have an extra $600,000 in loan amounts guaranteed by B.C.

Polar Bear Swim organizers want another non-profit group to take the plunge this year

Calling all community organizations looking to keep a Williams Lake tradition alive

Pedestrian in hospital after being hit by vehicle on Highway 97

Williams Lake RCMP and Emergency Health Services attend the scene at 9:12 pm Wednesday night

Peewee T-Wolves bring home gold

Coaches Pierce and Pinette steer team to victory in Winfield

Hula Hoops and Halos dancing to the stage

Maranatha Players will be onstage Dec. 7 to Dec. 16.

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

Quesnel to install needle disposal boxes in city-maintained washrooms

Between September 2016 and September 2017, at least 35,527 needles were handed out in Quesnel

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

Most Read