Canada Supreme Court justice on indefinite paid leave after he had a fight in Arizona hotel over his alleged 'creepy' behavior toward female guests while drunk
Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert and Yelena Dzhanova
Mar 11, 2023, 12:42 AM
Justice Russell Brown of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Russell Brown, a justice of Canada's Supreme Court, is on indefinite paid leave following an altercation that occurred while he was on vacation after he is alleged to have drunkenly attempted to follow hotel guests back to their rooms, according to a police report reviewed by Insider.
On January 28, Brown was a speaker at a gala at the luxury Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia, celebrating a former colleague's receipt of the Sandra Day O'Connor Justice Prize from Arizona State University. Following the celebrations, the reportedly inebriated judge approached a group in the hotel lounge and sat with them.
Among those in the group was a man identified in the police report as Jonathan Crump, who told the Vancouver Sun that Brown began bragging about his importance as a Supreme Court justice and read aloud from the speech he had delivered earlier in the evening.
Crump did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
"He said the male was creepy. Crump said the male 'was touching' his female companions, and kissing them on the hand," according to the police report, which included statements from witnesses who told police they'd asked Brown to stop his behavior. "Crump said when they all began to walk back to their hotel rooms the drunk male said he was going with them and followed them."
The police report continued: "To protect the women and to prevent the drunk, creepy, unwanted male from entering the hotel room uninvited Crump punched the male a few times."
Crump affirmed the contents of the police report to the Vancouver Sun, saying: "I told him: 'You're clearly intoxicated and the girls are creeped out by you. He shoved me …. I pushed him back, then punched him in the face twice and he fell to the ground."
The punching, according to the police report, "appeared reasonable and necessary," given the circumstances, and no crime was determined to have occurred and no arrests were made. Though police attempted to contact Brown at the time of the incident, he did not respond when they knocked at his hotel room and his version of events was not included in the report.
The Canada Supreme Court received a complaint from Crump on January 31, according to a statement released by the court, and placed him on paid leave the following day, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation by the Canadian Judicial Council.
Representatives for the Council declined to answer Insider's request for comment about the incident while the investigation remains ongoing.
Brown said in a statement to the Vancouver Sun that he originally intended not to comment on the incident "while the Canadian Judicial Council's process runs its course," but in light of the "false statements in the media" by Crump he felt "compelled to respond."
Brown's statement indicated that he had left the lounge at the same time as the group he was accompanying and Mr. Crump "suddenly, without warning or provocation," punched the Justice "several times in the head," adding that he did not defend himself and that the incident caused him "embarrassment" and "created complications for the court."
"I am hopeful that the council will resolve this matter expeditiously," he added.
Representatives for Paradise Valley Police Department, which handled the complaint, declined Insider's request to comment on the case.