(CN) – A Canadian judge was suspended for 30 days without pay and given a formal reprimand for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat in court following the presidential election in the United States.
Justice Bernd Zabel apologized for his actions, saying he only wore the hat as an “ill-considered” joke, according to Canada’s National Post newspaper.
The suspension came after an Ontario Judicial Council panel held a hearing last month to review complaints about Zabel the judge for wearing the hat bearing President DonaldTrump’s campaign slogan in court on Nov. 9, 2016, the day after Trump’s victory.
“What would a reasonable member of the public think upon seeing Justice Zabel enter the courtroom wearing Trump’s signature red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and state that he did so ‘in celebration of an historic event’?” the panel asked.
“A reasonable member of the public would think that Justice Zabel was making a political statement and endorsing Donald Trump’s campaign.”
Before handing down Zabel’s punishment, the panel said the case presented it with a “stark contrast between the perception create by the November 9 incident and the reality of an experienced and fair-minded judge.”
Zabel engaged in “serious misconduct,” the panel said, but added that his actions were “completely at odds with the exemplary judge he has been for the past 27 years.”
The panel went on to say that while it felt it had to punish the judge given the seriousness of his actions, he nevertheless has a well-deserved reputation and a “fair-minded and impartial judge who is dedicated to the highest ideals of his calling.”