Bad judgment: the case of Mr. Justice Leo A. Landreville
University of Toronto Press, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 232 pages
Bad Judgment is a quintessential fall-from-grace story about a man from humble beginnings who rose to the top of the legal profession, only to be removed from the bench in disgrace because of his poor judgment, the intolerant attitudes of the Tlite bar, and political necessity. What did Leo Landreville really do? And why were some of the most famous lawyers and politicians in Canada in the1960s Canada determined to end his judicial career?
Leo Landreville was appointed one of Her Majesty's justices in 1956. After moving from Sudbury to Toronto to take up his job at Osgoode Hall, he and his wife moved into the newly built and very fashionable Benvenuto Place and joined all the best clubs. His elevated status was to be short-lived. Landreville had accepted a stock option from Northern Ontario Natural Gas (NONG) when it obtained the gas franchise in Sudbury and he was its mayor. Soon after settling into his chambers at Osgoode Hall, he exercised the option and pocketed $117,000 without having laid out a cent.
Landreville was not the only politician to benefit from his dealings with NONG. The `Gas Scandal,' as it was called, brought an early end to the careers of three provincial Conservative cabinet ministers and bruised the reputation of the Liberal leader, another beneficiary. Landreville was charged with municipal corruption and conspiracy but he managed to beat the accusations. When the Law Society of Upper Canada convened a special committee, found the judge guilty of misconduct and called upon the minister of justice to have him removed, the Landreville affair began. The character assassination of Landreville soon became a national sport, and Landreville found himself under investigation by a royal commission. A joint parliamentary committee recommended that Landreville be removed from the bench. Instead, he resigned in disgrace.
Bad Judgment is a probing account of judicial independence, and of what should be done when the conduct of judges is brought into question. A veritable 'Who's Who' of Canadian legal and political history, it provides an inside look at the workings of the judiciary, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the Ontario and federal governments in their attempt to deal with a growing scandal that threatened to bring the administration of justice in Canada into disrepute.