ST. JOHN'S, Nfld.–A Labrador lawyer who was recently named a provincial court judge says he is stepping down from the appointment because of an impaired driving conviction 20 years ago he had "completely forgotten about."
It's not the first time questions surrounding Donald Singleton's appointment to the bench have been raised. Last week, the provincial government said Singleton pleaded guilty on a completely different matter – to two charges of possession under the Customs Act in 2005 after a federal probe into the sale and distribution of duty-free goods at a military base in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
For that, he was granted an absolute discharge, meaning his guilty plea didn't create a criminal record.
However, in an email sent late yesterday to The Canadian Press, Singleton said he wrote Newfoundland Justice Minister Tom Marshall informing him that he was withdrawing from the appointment.
Singleton, 48, wrote that he had received a call Friday advising him that a reporter had contacted the provincial court asking for his criminal record. A search was conducted and the reporter was told there was no record.
But a subsequent search on another system revealed an impaired driving conviction in the late 1980s, Singleton wrote in his note to The Canadian Press.
"I had completely forgotten about it and hence, had not disclosed it in my application to be a judge," he wrote.
"I did not wilfully hold that information back. I have always been a `warts and all' kind of guy. What you see is what you get. But that was a whole other lifetime ago before I met my wife and I had genuinely forgotten about it."
Still, Singleton said the revelation made him change his mind about accepting the appointment.
"Although I did genuinely forget about the impaired conviction, it nevertheless amounts to nondisclosure," he wrote.
"And I could not seek to have my appointment maintained for fear that it would impact the perception of the administration of justice. The public's view of the criminal justice system is already low (for reasons that have nothing to do with me)."
Marshall confirmed he received Singleton's resignation letter yesterday. He said another judge tipped him off to the impaired driving conviction.
"My only comment would be that it (the conviction) ought not to have been forgotten," he said.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Donald Singleton made some "mistakes" earlier in his life, his legal ability is only exceeded by his conceited arrogance that he was beyond the law and that he could do anything he wanted and he could cover his rear end and all those around him would do the same. The real problem is most judges are a lot smarter, not more honest, not more ethical, SMART judges know how to be corrupt , how to deprive citizens of the right to a trial and how to pursue their war on men and in particular self represented litigants and or anyone who dares to call a spade a spade. Our Ontario Judiciary is a collection of the worst of the worst examples fiduciary abuse on the planet. Check out the Roscoe report at the ottawamenscentre on judicial bias against men. Its a real eyeopener.
Go to any northern Ontario community and any frank speaking police office will tell you stories of police officers and judges who were caught drinking and were never charged. Singleton claims he "forgot", sure he might have, but its far more likely that it was a very self serving memory loss that can only be described as unbelievable. At least drunk drivers get a trial if they are charged. If you are a father asking for access, expect to be thrown in jail on trumped up charges and Family Court Judges orders to prevent you ever having a hearing. See the Roscoe files on judicial bias.