The board of inquiry into a complaint of racial discriminationfiled by Kirk Johnson against Halifax Regional Police has ruledthat two-thirds of his legal expenses should be reimbursed by thepolice. Mr. Girard convened a special hearing on April 19 to considersubmissions regarding legal costs. In making his ruling, hefound that the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act gives him theauthority to award legal costs in the matter. “The whole point of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act is to tryand facilitate redress for victims of discrimination, and itsprovisions should be interpreted so as to achieve that end,”wrote Mr. Girard. “While the complainant should not be able to transfer his or hercosts of counsel automatically to the respondent in case ofsuccess, neither should the ability to recover costs be set atsuch a low level that complainants are discouraged from seekingindependent counsel,” he said. Mr. Johnson’s legal counsel has been instructed to submit thebill for legal costs to a taxing master who will determine thefinal amount of the bill. The police department will then berequired to pay two-thirds of the amount, subject to a five percent interest charge from the date of the taxing master’sdetermination. In December 2003, Mr. Girard ruled that Kirk Johnson was thevictim of racial discrimination at the hands of Halifax RegionalPolice and Const. Michael Sanford during a traffic stop in April1998 in Dartmouth. He held the police department liable for theactions of the officer. Boards of inquiry are the final stage in the human rightscomplaint process. They are independent, public hearings intocomplaints of discrimination. Decisions by boards of inquiry maybe appealed within 30 days of the date of the decision. The decision is available on the commission’s website atwww.gov.ns.ca/humanrights/.
The province has appointed Roberta Clarke as a full-time member of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. “Ms. Clarke’s significant experience in the practice of law and commitment to public service made her an ideal choice for this position,” said Graham Steele, Minister of Finance. “Ms. Clarke is widely respected, and we are confident in her ability to serve the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.” The appointment results from a rigorous selection process similar to that used for provincial judicial appointments. Ms. Clarke is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Dalhousie University Law School. She was admitted to the bar in Newfoundland in 1976 and to the bar in Nova Scotia in 1977 and received her Queen’s Counsel appointment in 1997. As a partner with Blois Nickerson & Bryson, Ms. Clarke’s current practice includes estate planning, wills and trusts, residential and commercial real estate, and litigation in various levels of courts in Nova Scotia. Ms. Clarke was awarded the 2003 Distinguished Service Award by the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board is an independent quasi-judicial body created under the Utility and Review Board Act. It reports to the legislature through the Minister of Finance. The board consists of up to 10 full-time members and up to eight part-time members appointed by the Governor in Council. Each full-time member holds office on good behaviour until the age of 70.
Shirley Madill, director of Brock’s Rodman Hall Art Centre, has been appointed executive director at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.Madill will take over leadership of the K-W gallery in early May.In addition to Brock, she has previously worked at galleries across Canada. She has degrees in art and history and has taught at Brock, the University of Victoria, Mohawk College and the University of Manitoba.