altOCTOBER 27 - CHARLES DUBIN (pictured), a former top Canadian judge who was best known for heading an inquiry into Ben Johnson after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, has died at the age of 87, it was announced today.


The former chief justice of Ontario died earlier today of pneumonia after being admitted to hospital a week ago, said his longtime friend, Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Robert Armstrong.


Dubin was appointed to the province's top court in 1973 and was tapped to head several inquiries, most notably the high-profile commission that was formed after Johnson was stripped of his gold medal for testing positive for anabolic steroids at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.


Dubin had vast legal experience, but also happened to be a "huge sports fan," Armstrong said.


He said: "Basically, his approach was to leave no stone unturned - to go out and get the evidence and then put it before him."


Dubin's groundbreaking report exposed one of the darkest secrets in the sports world and helped restore Canada's reputation on the world stage, said Dick Pound, the former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.


The inquiry also broke the "code of omerta" about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, said Pound.


At the time, doping was particularly prevalent in the former East Bloc countries, but few realised how common it was among western athletes, he said.


Pound said: "Nobody talked about it and it was just ignored, but certainly everybody was doing it.


"I mean Charlie Francis, who was Ben's coach, said, 'Listen, if I'm not giving my athletes this stuff, they start a metre behind in a 100-metre race."'


Francis said today that while he did not agree with all of Dubin's recommendations, he believes he was treated fairly during the inquiry.


He said: "He wanted to get both sides of the story."


Dubin's inquiry report recommended a broad range of anti-doping measures and criticised coaches, doctors, Athletics Canada, the Olympic Movement and the International Amateur Athletic Federation, as they were then called, world governing body of track and field for the series of events that led to Johnson's disgrace.


Before the Johnson scandal, there was no real evidence that some athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong said.


Armstrong said: "What the Dubin inquiry did, in my view, is it broke the conspiracy of silence and laid it all out.


"That information was never before available on the public record.


"It was never before available under oath. And clearly, it was all true."


Dubin was born in Hamilton in 1921 and called to the bar in 1944.


At 29, he was made Queen's Counsel - then the youngest person in the Commonwealth to receive the honour.


His wife Anne died three years ago.


The couple had no children.