Appeal Court to decide on contempt of court ruling against former justice minister

The Court of Appeal of Alberta is to release its decision today on a contempt ruling against a former provincial justice minister.

Last month, a judge found Jonathan Denis in contempt of court over a letter a junior counsel in his office sent to the lawyer for a former chief medical examiner.

Dr. Anny Sauvageau was testifying in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the Alberta government for lost wages and benefits after her contract was not renewed in 2014.

Justice Doreen Sulyma said in her decision on April 13 that the letter threatening to sue Sauvageau made her fearful of testifying plainly and honestly, and prompted another witness to beg off testifying altogether.

Denis is not a defendant in the lawsuit, but he was justice minister at the time of the allegations being fought over in court.

Sauvageau is suing the province for $7.6 million in damages for loss of income and benefits. An earlier version of the suit named Denis as a defendant in his capacity as justice minister, but his name was dropped from it after he resigned from politics in 2015.

Sauvageau alleges she was forced out of the job as punishment after raising concerns over what she saw as political interference in cases and over billing on body pickups.

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