A federal lawyer implicated in editing Blacklock’s Wikipedia page yesterday was named a Superior Court judge. The 2016 incident led to disciplinary measures against an unidentified courthouse clerk.
“I wish Justice Kaufman every success,” Attorney General Arif Virani said yesterday in a statement. Alexandre Kaufman, formerly with the Department of Justice civil litigation branch, was appointed to Ontario Superior Court.
As a federal lawyer in 2016 Kaufman successfully defended the finance department in one Blacklock’s copyright action in Federal Court. Access To Information records indicated Kaufman within minutes of receiving a court judgment emailed it to 22 people including two Ottawa bloggers, a Globe & Mail columnist, two private law firms, two federal communications officers, the University of Western Ontario and several federal lawyers. “Christmas came early,” wrote. Kaufman. “Please enjoy.”
Documents showed during Kaufman’s email blitz an unknown person using a Federal Court computer edited Blacklock’s Wikipedia page with a disparaging entry. Managers refused to identify the person or answer if the Wikipedia entry was made at Kaufman’s request.
“We strive to be exemplary in everything we do,” the Courts Administration Service wrote in its Annual Report to Parliament at the time. “Judicial independence is a cornerstone of the Canadian judicial system.”
Kaufman resigned from the Department of Justice prior to release of records in the matter. Then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould left an investigation of the Wikipedia incident to the Courts Administration Service.
“Disciplinary measures were taken against an employee,” the Administration said in a statement. “The measures taken took into consideration the employee’s wrongdoing.”
Justice Kaufman in a separate incident emailed Blacklock’s witnesses who filed sworn statements to suggest “you are free to withdraw your affidavit” to avoid cross-examination. The Federal Court in 2018 dismissed allegations of witness tampering in the case. “I’m just doing my job,” Kaufman told Blacklock’s reporters.