Divisional court stays the decision that booted the mayor out of office, pending an appeal.
Today, Mayor Rob Ford won a big—albeit temporary—legal victory.
At Osgoode Hall, a divisional court judge granted Ford a stay, which is a type of temporary pause on last week’s Superior Court judgment that saw him thrown out of office. Ford can now stay mayor until his appeal has been decided.
Divisional Court Justice Gladys Pardu granted the temporary reprieve after hearing arguments from Ford’s lawyer, Alan Lenczner, who maintained that his client has a case that meets what he described as the three-part legal “test” for a stay: part one is the potential for the case to be argued successfully on appeal, part two is the potential for the judgment to cause Ford “irreparable harm” if it is appealed without a stay, and part three is the potential for the judgment to harm the public interest if it is appealed without a stay.
Clayton Ruby, lawyer for Paul Magder—the citizen who started the legal case against Ford by suing him for conflict of interest—did not oppose Ford’s bid for the stay. This was expected: on Monday, Ruby issued a press release saying that Magder had consented to allow Ford to receive his stay, to prevent some of the chaos that might result if the mayor were to be turfed before the case is completely settled.
The judge, in her endorsement, agreed that Ford’s situation meets all three of Lenczner’s legal tests—even the third one, about whether the stay is in the public interest. The judge said allowing Ford to remain mayor for the time being will benefit the public, because the appeal process is only expected to take a few weeks.
The judge suggested that she would have been reluctant to grant the stay if it would have allowed Ford to remain in office for a very long period of time before the courts could decide his fate. That, she said, “would not be in the public interest.”
Ruby, in his remarks to the judge, also articulated this point of view. “It is our submission,” Ruby said, “that it would be inappropriate for the City to start down the complicated and perhaps expensive road of replacing Mayor Ford, when this court has enabled us to set an appeal date within a month and a half of the date of judgment.”
Both lawyers said that they hope to submit their appeal materials to the court in December. An appeal hearing is scheduled for January 7. It’s not clear how long it will take for the court to arrive at a decision on the appeal, but many (including, apparently, Judge Pardu) expect that to happen within a few weeks of the hearing.
Confused by Ford’s legal travails? Here is some background.
And here is the full text of today’s decision:
Rob Ford Conflict of Interest Case: Stay
The post now has some additional quotes and details, and with the full text of the decision.