McCorkill Appeal Delayed as Judge Recuses Herself for Having Accepted Leonard Foundation Scholarship 40 Years Ago

McCorkill Appeal Delayed as Judge Recuses Herself for Having Accepted Leonard Foundation Scholarship 40 Years Ago

Just 48 hours before the New Brunswick Court of Appeals was to hear CAFE’s appeal against the decision of Justice William Grant, one of the three member panel Madame Justice Margaret E. Larlee recused herself. Her reason was that some 40 years ago she’d received a scholarship from the Leonard Foundation which offered assistance to White Protestant applicants.

The appeal is crucial as Justice Grant of New Brunswick’s Court of Queen’s Bench overturned the will of Robert McCorkill who willed the bulk of his estate of old coins ans artefacts to the National Alliance in the U.S. The appeal is vital to freedom of belief and property rights.

In May, 2013, after the anti-free speech U.S. group the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) protested the bequest, the long estranged sister, Isabelle McCorkell came forth and made an application (nine years after her brother’s death) to have the will overturned, as the bequest to a White nationalist organization was, she argued, “contrary to public policy.” This property rights cancelling argument was raised by Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman who echoed the SPLC complaint. Ms McCorkell was supported by some high powered and well financed interveners, the Attorney-General of New Brunswick, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith.

CAFE intervened on behalf of the executor of the estate, “This is a vital freedom of speech, freedom of belief and property rights issue,” says CAFE Director Paul Fromm,.

The decision came down the same week three Mounties were gunned down in Moncton. Mr. Justice Grant nullified the bequest. “He put a shotgun blast through freedom of belief and property rights when he overturned the will,” Mr. Fromm added.

CAFE appealed.

This morning (March 17) the parties were advised: ” The Honourable Madame Justice Larlee has decided to recuse herself from the panel for the Appeal, which is scheduled in the above-noted matter on Thursday March 19, 2015. The matter will therefore need to be rescheduled by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal.”

Somewhat earlier the Court Registrar advised all parties: “This is to inform the parties in this case that in the early 1970’s while a student at UNB Law School Madam Justice Larlee received a Leonard Foundation Scholarship. The Foundation was challenged some 10 years later in The Leonard Foundation Trust case, a case that will be cited in the one under appeal.
If any of you have any misgivings about Madam Justice Larlee sitting on this case because of an apprehension of bias, please inform me immediately so that appropriate steps may be taken.”

CAFE’s lawyer received no notice of any objection.

Lieutenant Colonel Reuben Wells Leonard (1860-1930) was a civil engineer, mine developer, soldier and philanthropist. He saw action in the Northwest Rebellion in 1885 and in World War I. In 1916, he established the Leonard Foundation.

Wikipedia explains: “Under the Leonard Foundation terms, bursaries were made available to students who were white, British subjects, andProtestant and no more than one-quarter of the moneys could be awarded to females. The goal was to provide financial assistance to needy students who showed the promise of becoming leading citizens of the British Empire. A complaint filed against the Leonard Foundation under the Ontario Human Rights Code in 1986 prompted litigation. The Ontario Court of Appeal held in 1990, that the trust’s exclusionary terms relating to race, religion, nationality, and gender were contrary to law.”

CAFE lawyer Andy Lodge of St. John called the decision and timing “extraordinary.”
The appeal will be rescheduled to May or June.