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In Quebec, 'Hot Mic' Gaffe Reveals What Judge Really Thinks

The truth, the whole truth ... and exactly what he thinks — but should never say out loud.

In Quebec, 'Hot Mic' Gaffe Reveals What Judge Really Thinks
Anne Sophie Goninet

We all know the risks of teleworking and what can happen when someone accidentally forgets to turn off a camera or mute a microphone. Just last week a Canadian member of Parliament was caught naked during a Zoom conference when his laptop camera switched on as he was changing into his work clothes.

Doh!

Turns out the exposed lawmaker isn't the only high-profile Canuck to make a faux pas in the daunting new world of digital workplaces. This week, a Superior Court judge in Joliette, Quebec had an embarrassing "technical incident" of his own, one that would end up costing him the high-stakes bankruptcy case he'd been handling.

As the daily Journal de Québecreports, Judge Michel A. Pinsonnault was presiding over the $1.7 million case when, on April 20, he was heard saying during videoconference proceedings: "They lie, they lie, they lie."

The far-too-candid comments were in reference to a pair of witnesses who are under investigation for alleged fraud in a parallel case. The judge had forgotten, it turns out, to mute his microphone during his lunch break.

So much for impartiality.

A lawyer for the witnesses told the newspaper that it was "quite a deep shock" for his clients, especially since it was only the second day of the hearings.

The embarrassed judge said his microphone was left on without his knowledge because of a "malfunction." He then apologized for his "unfortunate comments' and recused himself from the case, which is being delayed pending Judge Pinsonnault's replacement by another magistrate.

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Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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