Saturday, February 24, 2024

UVic alum and Supreme Court Justice retires due to ‘unwanted touching’ misconduct allegations


On June 12th, a Supreme Court Justice announced his retirement in an effort to get his name out of the spotlight and allow the Supreme Court of Canada to continue its work with a full panel. 

57-year-old Russell Brown has deep roots in Victoria as he received his Bachelor of Laws degree from UVic in 1994, after getting his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1987 at UBC in his hometown of Vancouver. The Justice also interned for a time through his schooling at the BC Legislature beginning in 1988.

Though his career was long, Brown is now officially a former Supreme Court Justice. He and his lawyers have announced his retirement amid allegations of unwanted touching while on a business trip to Scottsdale, Arizona.

In early March, Brown was put on leave from his duties on the Supreme Court when the allegations against him became public.


His accusers say that in January, Brown allegedly was kissing and touching two women at a resort in Scottsdale who were accompanied by Jon Crump, a 31-year-old ex-Marine.

Crump and his companions claimed that Brown was heavily intoxicated and asked to join their group. The Scottsdale Police became involved as the complainants called them regarding the alleged unwanted touching and Brown kissing one of the women ‘once or twice’.

Brown’s accounts of the evening were drastically different from his accusers. 

He had his legal team publicly declare his recollection of what happened due to the scrutiny he was under on March 30th. 

The statement from Brown said that he was invited to join the group of strangers at the resort bar, but Crump was unhappy with his presence. 

He then claimed that Crump became violent with him and punched him in the head several times as the group was leaving the bar alongside Brown. 

Following the incident, Brown alleged that Crump fabricated his entire story in order to escape an assault charge for punching him. 

The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) is the organization that assumed the duty to investigate the allegations against Brown to determine whether he was fit to remain a member of the Supreme Court. 

On Monday, June 12th, Brown and his legal team announced he would be retiring given how long the CJC’s process is taking to either exonerate him or have him removed as a Supreme Court Justice. 

“Justice Russell Brown has made the extremely difficult decision to retire from the Supreme Court of Canada to allow a replacement judge to be named and so that the work of the Court will not be impacted during its busy Fall term, and for possibly another year,” said Brian Gover and Alexandra Heine, Brown’s legal representation. 

“He has made that difficult decision in an effort to serve the public interest and the best interests of the Court on which it was his privilege to serve.”

In the statement, Brown’s lawyers also claimed that Crump purposely weaponized the Canadian judicial system against the former Supreme Court Justice in order to defame him and ruin his reputation. 

“While my counsel and I are confident that the complaint would have ultimately been dismissed, the continuing delay is in nobody’s interests — the Court’s, the public’s, my family’s or my own,” said Russell Brown in his own public statement. 

“I have therefore decided that the common good is best served by my retirement, so that a replacement judge can join the Court in time for its busy Fall term.”

“It has been an honour to deliberate on the important issues facing our country and I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity that I’ve had to serve Canada,” he added. 

His statement claimed he had video evidence as well as police and witness accounts that prove his innocence, but none of the evidence was made publicly available. 

The CJC announced on June 12th, that in light of Brown’s announcement, they would no longer be investigating his incident because he is no longer a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Ultimately, the incident is now left in the Scottsdale Police Department’s hands to investigate the matter. 

Curtis Blandy

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