New Brunswick. Royal Commission to Inquire into Charges of Active Partisanship in Elections Against James Friel, Clerk of the Peace and Registrar of Probate.

Abstract: Report of Royal Commission to Inquire into Charges of Active Partisanship in Elections Against James Friel, Clerk of the Peace and Registrar of Probate, 1912

In the Autumn of 1912, a commission of enquiry was established to investigate charges that James Friel, a public official for Westmorland County, acted as "an offensive political partisan" in the provincial election of 3 March, 1908.

Represented by Allan Chapman, the complainants charged that on the day of the election in 1908, Friel had engaged in the campaign effort to get the Liberals re-elected. It was alleged that he attempted to persuade certain ineligible voters to cast illegal ballots and tried to dissuade other qualified citizens from voting.

The most damning evidence came from John C. Landry, a Barrister of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, having been personally privy to Friel's unethical campaign practices. Commissioner W. C. Hazen Grimmer felt Landry to be a compelling witness and stated that he was "unable to come to the conclusion that the testimony given by Mr. Landry is absolutely untrue."

Grimmer ultimately found Friel guilty of political partisanship and recommended he be dismissed. An interesting sidebar to the case involved Allan Chapman, the complainant's counsel. Grimmer found that Chapman was guilty of forging documents related to the case. But, as the case against Friel did not hinge on documentary evidence, the forgery had no effect on the outcome of the case. Nevertheless, Grimmer recommended that Chapman too should be relieved of his public appointment, Clerk of the Circuit Court of the County of Westmorland.

h.c.

Commissioner:
W.C.H. Grimmer.

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