Deputy Judge Paul J Martial, of the Toronto Superior Court, is in a class all by himself, in the best tradition of the eminent members of the judiciary who have preceded him on the bench.
Absolutely inscrutable on the bench, no one – one either side – could have predicted where he would come down, after the longest and most important trial ever held in Canada concerning cultural property – specifically that dealing with safe-guarding the sanctity of the art of Canada’s First Nations People.
And that he would make such definitive rulings about the biggest art fraud ever to disgrace the Canadian art scene and involve the biggest and most diabolical act of cultural genocide in history, against the art of First Nations people in Canada.
In fact there were many, who sided with the Defence – “The Friends of Norval Morrisseau” – who were alarmed at the degree of tolerance he showed to the Plaintiff and her clearly vicious, malicious, seditious, and meretricious witnesses. It turned out he was only being judiciously fair, to allow them to make the “best case” scenario for their viewpoint.
In fact he was only giving them more rope to let them hang themselves.
If only there were more judges like him, willing to take a clear and public stand on principle – instead of cowering before the facetious con of conniving lawyers – the judiciary would be held in far higher regard than it often is.
In fact in Superior Court where his judgment was appealed, nine months later I heard the Hon. Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson commend Judge Martial for going far beyond what was required of him in his role as a judge, to assure the Plaintiff that he found her painting “Wheel of Life 1979” a 100% authentic Morrisseau, and authentically signed by him.
Incredibly it was NOT the result she wanted…
Three times I heard Sanderson loudly express her total incredulity to the Plaintiff’s lawyer, Jonathan J Sommer, that he and his client were unhappy with a decision that absolutely found their painting authentic without a shadow of doubt… Sanderson, I suspect, like the other members of the public, knew something else, diabolical, was going on behind the scenes with the Plaintiff and her handlers…
But Martial had done a commendable job she roundly supported with her own judgment issued only 11 (that’s 11, folks) days later. Surely a record for turnaround in a judicial proceeding. We can assume Sanderson was, not a little, angered by the fraud and the Plaintiff’s claims.
Martial’s landmark judgment was the first total and absolute knockout blow against the fraud, the fraudsters, and the biggest act of cultural genocide in Canadian history.
A LANDMARK COURT DECISION BY A COURAGEOUS JUDGE…
That exposes, and puts an end to a 13 year long Morrisseau forgeries Hoax…
In early 2009 discredited Art fraudster and cyber terrorist Ritchie Sinclair convinced retired school teacher Margaret Hatfield to launch a court case against Artworld of Sherway claiming that a Morrisseau painting it sold her, “Wheel of Life 1979,” was a “fake.”
In July 2009 Sinclair recruited lawyer Jonathan Sommer – who had earlier represented Sinclair’s previous lawyer in a court case – to file a Plaintiff’s Claim against Artworld.
The trial went on for five days from 2011 – 2012.
(Note: I had a front row seat for it all, as I was present in the courtroom for the entire time on all days, sitting only some seven or eight feet behind Plaintiff Hatfield and her lawyer Jonathan Sommer. I was the only journalist to come close to doing such diligent research. I have also read all the transcripts; in fact I am the only one to do so, having subsequently ordered transcripts that were NOT previously done and seen by no one else.)
Judge Martial ruled on Mar 25, 2013 in Hatfield v Artworld that:
- “Wheel of Life 1979” was a 100% authentic Morrisseau – without any caveat of doubt
- that “Wheel” was authentically signed by Morrisseau in BDP style on the back
- that there is “overwhelming evidence” that Norval made 1000s of such BDP signatures
- that there are probably thousands of other authentic BDP-signed paintings out there
- that Defendant Artworld was reputable and did nothing illegal or unethical or wrong
- that Defendant Artworld did everything right to verify that “Wheel” was authentic
- that Defendant Artworld was right to go to third parties for authenticating “Wheel”
- that Defendant Artworld’s witnesses (some seven) were all believable and trustworthy
- that the Plaintiff Hatfield’s only two witnesses were not believable or trustworthy
- that Plaintiff’s “expert” Robinson was not trustworthy with Morrisseau expertise
- that Plaintiff’s “expert” Robinson had no credentials requisite for what he was claiming
- that Plaintiff’s “expert” Robinson was compromised totally by “hopeless self-interest”
- that Plaintiff’s witness Sinclair was not trustworthy about his Morrisseau-related claims
- that Plaintiff’s witness Sinclair had no proof whatsoever for what he claimed
- that Plaintiff Hatfield was negligent for failing to do Due Diligence with proper experts
- that Plaintiff Hatfield was willfully negligent for relying totally and only on Sinclair and Robinson and scoffing off other more independent Morrisseau and art experts
- that the artist himself, Norval Morrisseau, nor his memory, was trustworthy
- that the artist could not remember, or vouch for, the authenticity of his own paintings
- that the artist’s so-called Affidavits of Forgery were shot-through with innacuracies
- that as a result, the Affidavits of Forgery he was led to sign were totally untrustworthy
- that Plaintiff lawyer Sommer failed to produce witnesses that Martial expected to be there
NOTE: This was the third time that a lawsuit successfully totally impugned Norval Morrisseau about being honest with regard to what he painted and what he did not. The first was Otavnik v Vadas (Morrisseau) when Otavnik got the duo to admit they lied about his so-called “fake” Morrisseaus and paid him off to “shut up and go away” in 2008. The second was Moniz v CTVglobemedia, who paid Moniz off with $25,000 to “shut up and go away” in 2009, after publishing false and fraudulent claims by Vadas, Morrisseau, and their lawyer Aaron Milrad, with claims his paintings were “fake.”
It is unprecedented in world legal history that an artist has been so repeatedly discredited and rebuked in lawsuits for falsely denouncing the authorship of his own past paintings, all in the name of financial gain for himself and his conspiring cronies hoping to boost prices of his “new” art.
In short, that:
- Artworld lawyer Brian Shiller presented a foolproof case & a 100% convincing Defence
- Hatfield lawyer Jonathan Sommer failed to present a convincing Plaintiff’s Claim
- that astonishingly the artist was incapable (Dementia etc.) or would not (a fraud and HOAX) recognize the authenticity of his own works, so rendering his Affidavits of Forgery totally worthless and completely untrustworthy
Sommer and Sinclair immediately went public – Sinclair on his malicious website and Sommer “cutting”loose with his notorious “Lawyer says” outburst, on Apr. 8, in an Ottawa Citizen article – together accusing Judge Martial of making some 35 judicial mistakes (Sinclair) and cautioning the public not to take seriously one small decision, by what was after all only a Small Claims Court judge, talking only about one painting.
That despite five days of trial and a judicial ruling which cost Artworld some $75,000 in legal costs and Margaret Hatfield some $50,000 in legal costs, it all amounted to proving nothing worthwhile for art collectors regarding Morrisseau “fakes.”
That the Morrisseau “fakes”were still out there by the thousands, in spite of the fact that a huge and very expensive court case had just totally and absolutely proven the opposite, that there WAS NO PROOF for what Sinclair said, and that Sommer had hugely failed to show proof for any of it.
Sommer said he would immediately Appeal.
That Appeal was heard in Ontario Superior Court by the Hon Madam Justice Mary Anne Sanderson, on Dec. 6, 2013.
She gave here ruling on Dec. 17, 2013 totally rejecting Jonathan Sommer’s Appeal and affirming in all respects the Judgment of Deputy Judge Paul J Martial.
(I again was a witness to the entire procedure, sitting immediately behind Appellant lawyer Jonathan Sommer and immediately beside Margaret Hatfield and Ritchie Sinclair.)
This makes it six judges in a row (Morgan 1996, Sexton 1999, Isaac 1999, Godfrey 2011, Martial 2013, and Sanderson 2013), as well as Toronto Globe lawyers in 2008, who have refused to accept Donald Robinson’s word as a believable or credible evaluator of Morrisseau paintings.
And some eight judges in a row (Lederer 2008, Godfrey 2011, McCrea 2012, Filkin 2013, Martial 2013, Lacavera 2013, Sanderson 2013, Kilian 2015) who have found Sinclair not to be credible or trustworthy on just about everything he claims.