Trump hat-wearing judge suspended

Ontario judge who wore Trump hat in court suspended without pay for 30 days

An Ontario judge who wore a hat in court bearing a slogan used by U.S. President Donald Trump has been suspended without pay over the incident.

The Ontario Judicial Council says Justice Bernd Zabel’s conduct warrants the most serious reprimand possible short of removing him from the bench.

The council, which heard Zabel’s case last month, says the incident marks a “single aberrant and inexplicable act of judicial misconduct” from an otherwise respected judge.

Zabel will be suspended for 30 days. The Hamilton-based judge has not been assigned cases since January.

Related: Ontario judge who donned Trump hat faces disciplinary hearing

At his hearing last month, Zabel said he meant to lighten the mood by wearing a baseball cap with the slogan “Make America Great Again” while walking into court on Nov. 9, 2016 — the day after Trump won the U.S. election.

He testified that it was only after his actions made headlines that he realized some believed he was showing support for the controversial American president and his policies.

“Justice Zabel’s conduct that day gave rise to a perception by many that he was a Trump supporter and that he agreed with Trump’s views and policies. In doing so, he violated a fundamental principle of judicial ethics and, particularly in view of the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign, engaged in serious misconduct,” the council panel wrote in a decision released Tuesday.

“His conduct on Nov. 9, 2016 was completely at odds with the exemplary judge he has been for the past 27 years. We are satisfied that Justice Zabel does not hold any of the discriminatory views that the complainants attribute to Donald Trump,” it said.

“We are satisfied that members of vulnerable groups need have no fear about the treatment they would receive from Justice Zabel.”

Zabel’s actions prompted 81 complaints to the council.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Red Cross Workers to visit Bella Coola January 23 – 25

Red Cross workers will be at the Moose Hall Jan 23-25 to meet one-on-one with individuals

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

School District 49 to re-open Nusatsum Elementary in September 2018

SD49 says increasing enrollment is driving its decision to re-open the school

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Most Read