Conrad Black Tells Court He Wants to Look Order of Canada Panel 'In the Eyes'

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Black wants to look Order panel 'in the eyes'

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OTTAWA - Conrad Black says it would heap "insult upon injury" to strip him of membership in the Order of Canada over U.S. criminal convictions when no Canadian court would have found him guilty of the same charges.

In an affidavit filed in the Federal Court of Canada, the former media magnate argues he must have an oral hearing -- complete with witnesses -- and look the Order of Canada's advisory council representatives "in the eyes" as they decide whether to recommend revocation of the prestigious award he received in 1990.

Supporters including former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a long-time friend and former business associate, have also made written pleas on Black's behalf, court records show.

Black, 67, stands convicted in the United States of fraud and obstruction of justice while he was head of media giant Hollinger International.

He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence, but contends he was unfairly maligned by the U.S. justice system.

He recently returned to Canada on a temporary resident permit following his May release from a Florida prison, as he renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to become a member of the British House of Lords.

The Order of Canada's advisory council, chaired by Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, may recommend to the Governor General that an appointment be rescinded when a member has been convicted of a criminal offence, or if their conduct strays significantly from recognized standards of public behaviour.

Black went to the Federal Court this month after the advisory council rejected his request for a chance to make oral arguments in his defence, saying he could file only written representations.

A half-day court hearing is set for Aug. 24 in Toronto to determine whether Black can appear in person before the advisory council.

"I remain fully convinced of the legal and moral propriety of my actions," Black says in the court affidavit sworn last week. …