Former Alberta justice minister Jonathan Denis found in contempt of court

A former Alberta justice minister has been found in contempt of court for threatening to sue a plaintiff in the middle of her testimony in a civil trial.

Justice Doreen Sulyma says a letter sent last week on behalf of Jonathan Denis was an attempt to intimidate Dr. Anny Sauvageau while she was testifying in her lawsuit against the Alberta government.

Sauvageau is accusing the government of wrongfully terminating her contract as chief medical examiner in 2014.

Denis was the justice minister at the time but is not a defendant in the lawsuit.

He was not in court Wednesday morning when Sulyma rendered her contempt finding, but was listening in electronically.

The parties are scheduled to meet in court again next Thursday to set dates to decide punishment for the contempt and who should pay costs.

Denis’ lawyer, Brendan Miller, told CBC in an emailed statement Wednesday that Denis plans to appeal the decision. 

“Our client maintains that the statement was not directed at testimony but rather towards comments to the media,” Miller said.

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