Zundel lawyer wants judge removed

Canadian Press, July 30, 2003

TORONTO (CP) – The Federal Court judge overseeing Ernst Zundel‘s detention review hearing is biased against the Holocaust-denier and should be removed from the proceedings, Zundel’s lawyer said Wednesday.

In a submission to the court, Doug Christie accused Judge Pierre Blais of “badgering and accusing the witness of lying” and of exhibiting “open hostility” towards his client. Citing a “reasonable apprehension of bias,” Christie said: “It appears in our respectful submission to any reasonable observer . . . that the decision cannot be partial.”

“Your lordship’s interventions have actually been more aggressive than the prosecutor’s.”

Blais, who told court a day earlier that he didn’t buy much of Zundel’s testimony about a Web site he says is run by his wife, listened intently as Christie made the submission but showed no emotion.

After taking a break to consider whether to continue with the hearing, Blais decided to proceed.

“I think it’s more appropriate to go on,” Blais said, despite federal government lawyer Donald MacIntosh’s request to have the hearing put over.

“I will reserve my decision on this allegation of bias,” said Blais, adding that he would wait until the transcripts from Tuesday’s hearing were available within the next 12 days to assess the situation.

On Tuesday, Blais said: “I have said for the record I don’t believe everything I’ve heard from the witness.”

Zundel’s hearing, which resumed Monday after a two-month break, continues in September. Zundel will remain in isolation at Metro West Detention Centre until then.

But Christie said Wednesday he may not be able to continue as Zundel’s lawyer because his wife was recently diagnosed with cancer.

During cross-examination Wednesday, MacIntosh focused on whether Zundel was associated with well-known right-wing extremists.

Zundel denied personally knowing the vast majority of them, or said he couldn’t remember specific details about their activities.

“My memory has really gone to pieces,” he said.

Zundel said he “wasn’t aware” that Wolfgang Droege, former head of white supremacist group The Heritage Front, was associated with other such groups.

He also said he knew Nationalist Party of Canada head Don Andrews “not very well,” although he met him at a birthday celebration for Hitler in 1986 at Andrews’ home.

Zundel’s Web site was at the centre of a Canadian Human Rights Commission ruling in 2000 that ordered anti-Semitic material removed. Zundel fled to the United States shortly before the ruling came down. Now 64, he has been in detention since February after being booted out of Tennessee because of U.S. immigration violations.

Zundel is seeking freedom pending a review of a federal government security certificate issued earlier this year, based on reports by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, that says he’s a security risk.

The certificate could send him back to Germany to face charges of suspicion of incitement of hatred.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 31, 2003.
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