A recently appointed Court of Quebec judge has lent more than $9 million in loans over the past few years, according to an investigation by a French-language newspaper.
Judge Manlio Del Negro, who was formally inducted as a Court of Quebec judge yesterday during a ceremony held at the Montreal courthouse, allegedly provided more than 45 loans from 2006 to 2017 before being appointed as a judge this spring, according to the Journal de Montréal.
The revelations raise ethical questions, according to Véronique Hivon, a Parti Québécois member and a former Minister responsible for the Die in Dignity commission, a commission about the right for a terminally-ill patient to end their own life. The Conseil de la magistrature du Québec, a provincial body that supervises the conduct of judges, should investigate the matter to determine whether a lawyer who was a private lender is compatible with the role of a judge, added Hivon.
But Judge Del Negro’s “commercial activities” while he was a lawyer did not render him ineligible to be a judge, asserts the Court of Quebec in a press release. A lawyer appointed judge is legally required to refrain from any activity which is not compatible with his functions, added the Court of Quebec.
According to the Court of Quebec communiqué, Judge Del Negro “revealed his situation” at the first meeting he held with Chief Justice Lucie Rondeau and confirmed his commitment to “quickly take steps” to withdraw from his commercial activities and comply with the requirements of a judge.
“Aware that time must be granted to each new judge to take the necessary steps from the transition from his previous situation to his new functions, the Court is satisfied by those taken by Judge Del Negro,” said the press release.
But the Journal de Montréal reports that as of June 5, 2017, he was still a creditor in four dossiers, where allegedly the mortgage guarantees amounted to $800,000, with interest rates ranging from six to 12 per cent.
Judge Del Negro, who graduated from the Université de Sherbrooke, was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1984. He was a Montreal criminal lawyer who founded in 1989 the law firm Del Negro Polnicky Perron, which later became Del Negro et Associés. He was appointed a Court of Quebec judge on March 27, 2017.
In 2013 Judge Del Negro donated $50,000 to his alma mater, half of which was given towards modernizing the law library, the other half to create a scholarship fund bearing his name to help grad students studying criminal and penal law.
Judge Del Negro is overseeing a case in which former Montreal Canadien winger Zack Kassian is expected to testify in the case involving 22-year old Alison de Courcy-Ireland who is charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm.