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Canadian judge suspended over wearing Trump’s red cap

A ‘Make America Great Again’ hat sits on a table ahead of an election night party for 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in New York, on November 8, 2016. (Photo by Bloomberg)

The Canadian authorities say a judge who wore a cap with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” is no longer allowed to hear cases, local media report.

The Ontario Court of Justice confirmed that Judge Bernd Zabel “stopped being assigned to preside in court December 21, 2016,” the Canadian broadcaster, CBC News, quoted Kate Andrew, a spokeswoman for the court, as saying on Friday.

The court spokeswoman did not elaborate on Zabel’s future as a judge and whether the suspension was temporary or permanent.

The decision to suspend Zabel was made after the court received many complaints about his vocal support for the US president-elect on November 9, a day after he won the election, when he walked into a courtroom in the Lake Ontario port city of Hamilton donning a scarlet baseball cap emblazoned with Trump's campaign slogan.

The complainants had cited a law that requires Canadian judges to display political neutrality.

Zabel, who was appointed in 1990, however, wrote an apologetic statement on November 16, a few days after an investigation was launched into his actions, and acknowledged that he had made a mistake by wearing the cap.  

“What I did was wrong. I wish to apologize for my misguided attempt to mark a moment in history by humor in the courtroom following the surprising result in the United States election,” he further said, adding that he had been alone in supporting Trump among his colleagues, who all had backed Hillary Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival, and that the move was a response to criticism from his colleagues.

Zabel’s apology, however, did not halt the investigation process. Shortly after the apology, Matthew Green, a city councilor in Hamilton, said Zabel’s regret “does not give him impunity from the remainder of the process.”

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