A Toronto man was charged following the publication of a photograph of an Alberta judge taken during a court hearing for COVID-19 rule violators.
On Tuesday, Donald Smith admitted to posting the images online and apologized to the judge.
A Toronto man has been charged with posting photos of the Alberta judge who recently sentenced four anti-mask, COVID-19-denying men to prison for repeatedly violating public health restrictions and court orders.
This is the second instance of a judge's privacy being violated in as many weeks. It follows news earlier this month that Manitoba Chief Justice Glenn Joyal — who is presiding over a court challenge to the province's lockdown measures — was followed to his home and cottage by lawyers with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
Justice Adam Germain of the Court of Queen's Bench has been tasked with investigating all Alberta pandemic-related violations of judges' orders. The objective is to rein in repeat offenders who disobeyed public health restrictions and encouraged others to do the same.
Donald Smith, a pro-mask, pandemic-denying supporter of Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston, admitted in court Tuesday that he photographed Germain and AHS lawyer Mark Jackson.
He was arraigned on a charge of contempt of court.
Smith refers to the judge as 'crooked.'
The images were captured during WebEx-hosted virtual court hearings. WebEx is a video conferencing software similar to Zoom. Germain warned at the start of each hearing that no images or recordings would be taken during the proceedings. "Crooked #LiberalCalgaryJudge/Former MLA making his decision on Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston on Friday to see if Kevin gets out of jail," Smith wrote on June 28.
"I am aware that posting this image of the judge may land me in hot water, but I could care less because it is past time to expose these corrupt judges for what they are doing."
The contempt charges are for both taking and posting the photos, as well as allegedly recording and posting uncertified transcripts of the proceedings.
Smith apologized for his behavior during Tuesday's WebEx hearing.
"It will never, ever, ever happen again," he stated emphatically.
"I apologize profusely. What I did was incorrect, and it will never occur again."
Prison time is a possibility, warns judge
Smith stated his willingness to pay a fine, but Germain warned him that he could face jail time and urged the Ontario resident to hire a lawyer.
Germain also mentioned changes to WebEx video court hearings, which he referred to as the "Donald Smith security enhancements."
Smith is identified as a "associate" of disgraced Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston, who pleaded guilty to criminal harassment of an AHS employee earlier this month.
Johnston threatened the woman's family members on his social media channels.
Johnston was also convicted of causing a disturbance at Calgary's Core shopping centre when he became belligerent with employees when they asked him to wear a mask.
AHS is suing Johnston, and he is also facing criminal charges in British Columbia and Ontario.
In 2019, an Ontario judge ruled in a libel suit filed against Johnston, describing his actions as a "heinous example of hate speech at its worst, targeting people solely on the basis of their religion," after he made Islamophobic remarks about a Muslim man.
Tuesday's court session was held to consider sentencing submissions for Johnston, pastor Art Pawlowski and his brother Dawid, as well as Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott, who were found guilty of contempt for violating various orders prohibiting gatherings in violation of public health restrictions.
All of the men's attorneys requested adjournments and will now make submissions next month.
AHS has indicated that it intends to seek jail sentences and cost recovery.