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"Paging Dr Freud": family law judge's tirade turns viral

Judge Joseph Quinn clearly had one nasty divorce case too many – his 31-page rant is memorable for unusual reasons.

Image: David Michael Morris via Flickr

AN ONTARIO family law judge has found himself the unlikely centre of an internet sensation, after his bizarre – but hilarious – 31-page judgment roasting a child custody case went viral.

Judge Quinn, a long-time figure on the bench at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, issued his judgment in a case between a divorcing man and woman, both of whom were seeking custody of their daughter (13) and son (11).

“Paging Dr Freud, paging Dr Freud,” the judgment began. “Here, a husband and wife have been marinating in a mutual hatred so intense as to surely amount to a personality disorder requiring treatment.

“The source of difficulties is hatred: a hardened, harmful, high-octane hatred,” he went on, before launching into an epic tirade, quoted at length by the Toronto Globe and Mail:

The parties repeatedly have shown they are immune to reason. Consequently, in my decision, I have tried ridicule as a last resort.

So wide-ranging was Quinn’s aforementioned ridicule, that even the topic of family law itself came under attack.

In the case, Catherine Bruni was given sole custody of the children, though father Larry was ordered to pay just C$1 a month in child support.

“Catherine and Larry were married on October 7, 1995. If only the wedding guests, who tinkled their wine glasses as encouragement for the traditional bussing of the bride and groom, could see the couple now,” Quinn wrote.

The couple had begun to argue so much that they could not even attend sports matches involving their son without their relationship descending into roaring matches.

On one occasion, Catherine had tried to run over Larry with a van: “a telltale sign”, Quinn wrote, “that a husband and wife are drifting apart.”

From the sounds of it, it appears the court case – which was heard over eight months – was unmissable.

The courtroom energy in a custody access dispute spikes quickly when there is evidence that one of the parents has a Hells Angels branch in her family tree. Certainly, my posture improved.

The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘dickhead’ as ‘a stupid person.’ That would not have been my first guess.

The viral judgment – surely a first – is not even the first Quinn has raised eyebrows for his odd rulings. In June, he received attention for a 27-page ruling in which he said a defendant had been so poor at spinning lies, he would have sought membership in the Flat Earth Society if the defendant had said the world was round.

Read more at the Globe and Mail >

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Gavan Reilly

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