The Honourable Michael J. Brundrett’s Questionnaire

Backgrounder

Under the new judicial appointment process introduced by the Minister of Justice on October 20, 2016, any interested and qualified Canadian lawyer or judge may apply for such appointment by completing a questionnaire. The questionnaires are then used by the Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada to review candidates and submit a list of “highly recommended” and “recommended” candidates for consideration by the Minister of Justice. Candidates are advised that parts of their questionnaire could be made available to the public, with their consent, should they be appointed to the bench.

Below are Parts 5, 6, 7, and 11 of the questionnaire completed by the Honourable Michael J. Brundrett.

Questionnaire for Judicial Appointment

[...]

PART 5 – LANGUAGE

Please note that in addition to the answers to the questions set out below you may be assessed as to your level of language proficiency.

Without further training, are you able to read and understand court materials in:

  • English: yes
  • French: yes

Without further training, are you able to discuss legal matters with your colleagues in: 

  • English: yes
  • French: no

Without further training, are you able to converse with counsel in court in: 

  • English: yes
  • French: no

Without further training, are you able to understand oral submission in court in: 

  • English: yes
  • French: no

PART 6 – EDUCATION

Name of Institutions, Years Attended, Degree/Diploma and Year Obtained:

  • University of Toronto, LL.B., 1991
  • UBC, B.A. (Honours), Political Science, 1988
  • Western University French Immersion School at Trois-Pistoles, 1991

Continuing Education:

  • September 2016: Osgoode Search and Seizure Conference
  • April 2016: CLE – Direct Examination Conference (Co-Chair)
  • April 2016: CBA – “At the Crossroads: When Personal Injury & Criminal Law Collide”
  • 1995-2016: Annual Crown Counsel Conferences
  • 2015: Kirsch Institute Conference – “Effective Use of International Law”
  • 2013: Crown Counsel Charter Clinic
  • 2012: CLE – Criminal Driving Offences
  • 2011: Osgoode Search and Seizure Conference
  • 2009: CLE – Criminal Law Bootcamp
  • 2006: Osgoode Written Advocacy Course
  • 1990-1991: French Language Courses, Alliance Française, Toronto

PART 7 – PROFESSIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

Please include a chronology of work experience, starting with the most recent and showing employers’ names and dates of employment. For legal work, indicate areas of work or specialization with years and, if applicable, indicate if they have changed.

Legal Work Experience:

  • 2005-present: Appellate counsel, Ministry of Justice (Attorney General), Vancouver
  • 1994-2005: Crown counsel, Ministry of Attorney General, Vancouver Region1992-1994: Federal Crown counsel, Department of Justice, Vancouver, Criminal Section
  • 1991-1992: Articling student, Department of Justice, Vancouver
  • Summer 1990: Summer student, McMillan Binch, Toronto
  • Summer 1989: Summer student, Killam, Whitelaw, and Twining, Vancouver

Non-Legal Work Experience:

  • Prior to law school, I worked at a shelving plant, an orange juice company, and a retail novelty store in order to put myself through school.

Other Professional Experience:

List all bar associations, legal or judicial-related committees of which you are or have been a member, and give the titles and dates of any offices which you have held in such groups.

  • CBABC Professional Development Committee – Chair (2016-2018 term) and Member (2015-2016)
  • Chair, Jury Trial Resource Counsel Group, Criminal Justice Branch, Ministry of Justice (2016 onward)
  • CBABC Legislation and Law Reform Executive Committee (2012-2016)
  • CBABC Judicial Advisory Executive Committee (2009-2012)
  • Member, CBA Appellate Advocacy Section
  • Member, CBA Criminal Sub-Section, Vancouver
  • Member, International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law

Pro Bono Activities:

  • UBC Moot Court Judge (2015 and 2016)
  • Presenter, “Careers at the Crown” – UBC Criminal Law Club (2015)
  •  Co-Editor (2016 onward) and Contributing Author (2007-2016), The Working Manual of Criminal Law – Procedure, Sentencing, and Charter chapters
    • All profits from this publication go to fund bursaries at the three B.C. law schools: UBC, UVIC, and TRU

Teaching and Continuing Education:

List all legal or judicial educational organizations and activities you have been involved with (e.g. teaching course at a law faculty, bar association, National Judicial Institute, or the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice).

  • Chair, CBABC Provincial Court Practice Conference, scheduled for January 27, 2017 (Richmond)
  • Co-Chair, CLE Introducing Evidence at Trial Conference, scheduled for March 31, 2017 (Vancouver)
  • Co-Chair, CLE Conference on Direct Examination, April 15, 2016 (Vancouver) and Moderator on the “Dealing with the Unexpected” panel
  • Conference Host and Organizer for Jury Advocacy, Informer Privilege, Trial Organization, and Legal Advice to Police sessions at the 2016 Crown Counsel Conference. Speaker at the Informer Privilege session. I also authored a paper entitled “Sentencing Suggestions and Reminders” for the Sentencing session.
  • Conference Organizer for the 2017 Crown Counsel Conference (scheduled for April 20-21, 2017). Host of sessions on Major Crime Trials, DNA Evidence, and Charter Fundamentals. Speaker at the sessions on Voir Dire Procedures and s. 24(2) of the Charter.
  • Presenter, “At the Crossroads: When Personal Injury and Criminal Law Collide,” CBA Webinar (April 2016)
  • Speaker, The Philippe Kirsch Institute Conference, Cross-Border and International Law Issues in Criminal Law (May 2015)
  • PLTC (Bar Admission Course) – Guest Instructor for the 2015 Direct Examination Exercise and the 2016 Mock Trial Exercise
  • Presenter, “Voir Dire Basics,” 2013 Crown Counsel Conference Charter Clinic
  • Presenter, “Section 24(2) of the Charter,” 2013 Crown Counsel Conference Charter Clinic
  • Presenter and Author, “Some Tips on Written Advocacy,” paper delivered to the Fraser Valley Bar Association (2012)
  • Presenter and Author, “Dangerous Driving and Criminal Negligence: Assessing Driving Behaviour along the Negligence Continuum,” Criminal Driving Offences – Continuing Legal Education Society (2012)
  • Presenter and Author, “Exclusion of Improperly Obtained Evidence in the Post-Grant Era” – Osgoode Symposium on Search and Seizure (2011)
  • Presenter and Author, “Dangerous Driving After Beatty: Thinking About the Absence of Thought,” Crown Counsel Conference (2010)
  • Presenter and Co-Author (with E. Gottardi) of “To Be or Not to Be (An Appellate Lawyer): Tips for Counsel Wishing to Appeal, and What You Need to Know to Get Started,” Criminal Law Boot Camp – Continuing Legal Education Society (2009)
  • Presenter and Author, “Sentencing Suggestions and Reminders from an Appellate Perspective,” Crown Counsel Conference (2009)
  • Presenter and Author, “Section 24(2) of the Charter – Some Factors to Consider,” Gun Crimes and Gangsters Conference (May 2009)
  • Presenter and Author, “Section 24(2) of the Charter Post-Grant: When Should the Exhibit Take the Blame for the Officer’s Misconduct?” Crown Counsel Conference (November 2009)

Community and Civic Activities:

List all organizations of which you are a member and any offices held with dates.

  • For the past seven years, I have been involved in community activities to raise money for the Oncology Department at BC Children’s Hospital.

[...]

PART 11 – THE ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY IN CANADA’S LEGAL SYSTEM

The Government of Canada seeks to appoint judges with a deep understanding of the judicial role in Canada. In order to provide a more complete basis for evaluation, candidates are asked to offer their insight into broader issues concerning the judiciary and Canada’s legal system. For each of the following questions, please provide answers of between 750 and 1000 words.

1. What would you regard as your most significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in Canada?

  • I regard my work on the R. v. Knott and D.A.P. case (2010 BCCA 386, affirmed 2012 SCC 42) as my most significant contribution to the law and the pursuit of justice in Canada. As a prosecutor, an irony of my work on this case is that it could actually result in lower jail sentences since sentencing judges now have an increased ability to impose probation as an alternative to incarceration and less incentive to impose longer jail sentences when a term of probation can adequately protect the public.
  • Before Knott, Canadian courts enforced something called the “Two Year Rule.” This rule was a long-standing practice of nullifying probation orders where an offender received more than one jail sentence on different occasions which resulted in a total cumulative sentence exceeding two years. It arose in two situations: (1) where an offender was already serving an unexpired jail sentence and subsequently received probation attached to an additional jail sentence resulting in the total period of incarceration exceeding two years; and (2) where an offender initially received a probation order attached to a jail sentence, then subsequently received further imprisonment resulting in a total combined jail sentence of greater than two years. The rule stemmed from what I thought were curious interpretations of the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which allowed jail sentences to be analytically blended for administrative purposes. The interpretation of these provisions in this way had originally been intended for the calculation of parole, but over time was applied by the courts to sentencing law as a justification for nullifying probation on combined sentences.
  • To me, the Two Year Rule allowed a well-thought-out probation order on one matter to be invalidated by the imposition of a jail sentence at a different time on a completely unrelated matter. Indeed, the Rule could lead to judges imposing longer jail sentences if probation was unavailable as a sentencing option or if probation was seen as likely to be invalidated by sentencing on an outstanding charge.
  • I had conduct of two files where the Rule ostensibly applied. R. v. Knott involved a repeat offender who received three year probation orders on two initial concurrent sentences of 24 and 16 months, as well as a one year probation order on a subsequent sentence. Under the Two Year Rule, the imposition of an additional six months’ incarceration, one week before his initial jail sentence was set to expire, would reach forward and back in time to nullify the probation orders imposed in the unrelated sentences.
  • R. v. D.A.P. involved an appellant who received a conditional sentence order for sexually assaulting his two step-children. Under the rule, a two year probation order imposed at the same time would be rendered invalid by a subsequent jail sentence imposed for his breaking into the home of his ex-spouse, the children’s mother.
  • In R. v. Knott and D.A.P., 2010 BCCA 386, for the first time by any court in Canada, a five-justice division of the BC Court of Appeal largely rejected the Two Year Rule. I then appeared for the Crown/respondent in the Supreme Court of Canada on the same cases.
  • In R. v. Knott and D.A.P., 2012 SCC 42, the Supreme Court completely overturned the Two Year Rule and 30 years of established precedent, deciding that a jail sentence imposed on one criminal matter is now a consideration, but not a bar, to the imposition of a probation order on another matter dealt with on a separate date. In doing so, the Supreme Court held that sentencing judges must retain as much flexibility as possible to craft individualized sentences, and that the policy considerations underlying probation orders are best promoted by an interpretation that preserves their availability. Agreeing with my position, it reasoned that probation orders intended to facilitate an offender’s rehabilitation provide an effective and efficient alternative to unnecessary institutional confinement.
  • As a result of the court’s decision, the Two Year Rule was put to rest and the Canada-wide practice of probation orders becoming unenforceable by combined jail sentences exceeding two years was ended. Sentencing judges now have a greater ability to impose probation to protect the public even in the face of overlapping sentences.

2. How has your experience provided you with insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians and their unique perspectives?

  • There are a number of ways in which my experience has provided me with insight into the variety and diversity of Canadians and of their unique perspectives.
  • Growing up in small interior towns as a young child, and then spending my formative years in North Vancouver, I was exposed to people from a variety of ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Through my school years, I became acquainted with many Aboriginal, Indian, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Ukrainian, French, and Chinese Canadians, among others. In my university years, I researched the horrendous treatment of Jews and Japanese Canadians in the Second World War, as well as the historical discriminatory treatment of Aboriginal people in Canada after contact with European settlers. I came to the understanding that while Canada benefits from being ethnically and culturally diverse, our Indigenous people and ethnic minorities have been historically vulnerable to discriminatory treatment and that multiculturalism has developed in Canada at a cost.
  • In my career as a lawyer, I have dealt with numerous individuals from ethnically diverse backgrounds. For many years, I worked in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver at the “Main Street” courthouse in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. I frequently had contact with victims, witnesses and offenders with Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian backgrounds. Many were poor, drug-addicted or suffered from mental illness. Countless victims and witnesses I dealt with had trouble just making ends meet, let alone coming to court to testify. Others had cultural obstacles or precarious immigration status that prevented them from cooperating.
  • I found that young women on the Downtown Eastside were particularly vulnerable to sexual predators due to a substance dependency and a climate of violence, degradation, and exploitation in their circumstances. For instance, many of the sexual offenders I prosecuted picked on women who were working on the street because such victims were more easily targeted or perceived as less likely to cooperate with authorities in the event the offender was caught.
  • I also came to appreciate the plight of new immigrants establishing a successful life for themselves in Canada. North Vancouver, where I worked as a prosecutor for several years in the 1990s, has a large South Asian population including many Iranian Canadians. I frequently dealt with people in the criminal justice system who experienced cultural and religious challenges (e.g. distrust of police) when going to court. Domestic violence cases with women of lranian, Filipino, and Spanish backgrounds were particularly challenging where cultural factors impacted witnesses’ trust of authorities.
  • Personal characteristics and circumstances of victims and witnesses often presented barriers to people becoming involved in the criminal justice system due to safety concerns, social isolation or poverty, barriers to communicating, and disabilities related to mental or physical health. It was my observation that Aboriginal witnesses were often particularly vulnerable due to historical factors and cultural differences, and circumstances related to their Aboriginal heritage. As language is the currency of the courtroom, I found that witnesses who suffered from disabilities or cultural fears about testifying were often adversely impacted in their communicative abilities. Often, such vulnerable witnesses could not effectively participate in the justice system without accommodation or support mechanisms being made available. I found that I had to make an extra effort to proactively establish and maintain communication from the earliest stages of a case in order to optimize outcomes.
  • In addition to victimization, however, it became apparent to me that certain immigrant and/or ethnic groups have access to justice issues more broadly. Such persons may not have the same range of mechanisms to get legal information, access legal services, and resolve disputes. These barriers mean that people cannot take advantage of rights, protections and entitlements under the law. In short, the functioning of civil society is undermined.
  • This experience has instilled in me the idea that it is important to understand that certain people require assistance in accessing the justice system, that people in the system come from a great variety of backgrounds, and that one needs a certain empathy and open-mindedness for people from other backgrounds in order to deal with them effectively. If one does not understand what the justice system participant is going through, you cannot effectively deal with the person. Beyond the victimization of immigrants and ethnic minorities, however, my experience has taught me that factors such as poverty, inadequate housing, lower levels of education, and language barriers can all undermine equal access to justice. And if discrimination and victimization impact the effective provision of legal services, the overall quality of the Canadian legal system suffers.

3. Describe the appropriate role of a judge in a constitutional democracy.

  • The typical role of a judge as an impartial arbiter of legal disputes between parties takes on much greater significance when that role is viewed through the lens of a constitutional democracy. The word “constitution” necessarily implies that society has a fundamental set of laws which establish the rules of a civil society while “democracy” denotes a system of government in which citizens have power through their elected representatives. Together, a constitutional democracy suggests a system of government in the liberal democratic tradition in which civil liberties are defended against the encroachment of governments, fair and free elections are held regularly, the rule of law is enforced, and power is separated in different branches of government. Within the Canadian constitutional democratic system, which is also a constitutional monarchy led by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, the judiciary acts as neutral and independent arbiters of disputes between citizens and the legislative and executive branches of the state; and since we have a federal system, between the provinces and the federal government. The appropriate role of a judge in this system is to objectively interpret and apply constitutional principles created by the founders of our constitutional democracy
  • Most importantly for the Canadian jurist are the Canadian Charter of Rights, enacted as part of the Constitution Act, 1982, and sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867. The Constitution Act, 1867 provides that federal and provincial governments can only legislate within their powers as set out in sections 91 and 92. The Charter of Rights adds a package of rights such as civil rights, human rights, and legal rights that guarantee fundamental freedoms to all Canadians subject only to demonstrably justified limits, and restrict the action the state can take against an individual. While the rule of law provides certain limits on the power of the majority in a democratic state and ensures that elected officials do not abuse their powers, the added element of a constitution allows judges to take on a more robust role in Canadian democracy by independently determining what the law is and applying it to legal disputes before the court. By settling disputes related to the division of powers, the propriety of state action, and occasionally the electoral process itself, judges protect both the legitimacy of the state and the rights of the individual in a constitutional democracy.
  • To accomplish this task, judges must be completely independent of other private and public institutions in society, including especially the executive and legislative branches of government. This judicial independence is entrenched in our constitution under various guarantees under sections 96 to 100 of the Constitution Act, 1867 respecting the selection of judges, tenure, and the determination of salaries. Judicial independence means that judges cannot align themselves with any particular interest group, organization, corporation, or political party. This independence of the judiciary is vitally important to the separation of powers, which itself is a fundamental tenet of democracy.
  • In addition to this structural independence, judges must act with integrity, impartiality, and in a manner that ensures equality before the law. Judges must discharge their duty as interpreters of the constitution according to applicable rules, legal traditions, in the context of decisions which are open to the public to see, and in judgments which are subject to appeal to higher courts in case of legal error. Carrying out this duty diligently, faithfully, and to the best of one's ability ensures respect for the rule of law and the rules of a constitutional democracy in which the power of the state is held in check. In doing so, the judiciary confers legitimacy on the state's exercise of power. This conscientious performance of the duties of judicial office is the best means to ensure respect for the rule of law.
  • One difference between the role of a judge and that of a legislator is that over time the mandate of judges to enforce the law and constitution rarely changes. However, governments and attitudes towards the law do. In the future, there are likely to be challenges dealing with the scope of the rights of Indigenous people, the limits of legally-assisted suicide, and the use of mandatory minimum sentences – to name a few impending issues. Judges have to be non-partisan when approaching these and other issues, and decide cases on the evidence before them with the aid of legal principles. In discharging this task, judges’ powers are limited in a constitutional democracy. They do not have absolute power to interpret the law in arbitrary or subjective ways. It is also inevitable in this continuing dialogue between the states and the courts to have some tension between the legislature and executive on the one hand, and the judiciary on the other. As an autonomous institution, the judiciary plays an integral but not an overriding role in the evolution of the law.
  • The role of the judge is therefore to make decisions according to the legal principles and values embodied in the constitution, by applying logic, precedent, and judicial experience. This role makes the judicially responsible for implementing the Charter of Rights specifically and more generally defending citizens against legislative acts that are not in accordance with the law or the constitution. Exercised diligently, fairly, and impartially, the role of a judge in a constitutional democracy is a long-term stabilizing influence in the fabric of the Canadian liberal democratic society.

4. Who is the audience for decisions rendered by the court(s) to which you are applying?

  • The audience for a decision rendered by the court is multi-faceted and consists of three groups: (1) the parties to the case and their lawyers, (2) in the case of an appeal, the lower court whose decision is being reviewed, and (3) the wider audience comprising members of the public, members of the bar, the judiciary (including appellate courts), and government agencies. These groups will be reading a decision rendered by the court for different reasons.
  • The primary audience will be the parties to the case who are most significantly affected by a decision from the court. The parties represent the people who bring and must defend the action or prosecution. They are subject to consequences, which could be financial or otherwise, if they win or lose. Those consequences, and the toll of the litigation process itself, can be significant. The decision must therefore provide an accurate rendition of the facts before the court, the law, and a clear explanation for how the law is applied to the facts.
  • The second audience, the lower court, is important where an appeal is brought before a superior court. The lower court may have the case remanded for rehearing or retrial, and must be able to determine what is to be expected in further litigation of the dispute. In future cases, lower courts will also be expected to sufficiently follow the legal ratio of the case so that its principles can be applied correctly. This is especially true where the decision involves novel issues or emerging areas of law.
  • A final wider audience comprises decision-makers who must act according to legal precedent established by the case, jurists who may analyze or review the legal issues in the case, the appellate court who may review the decision for reasonableness or correctness, and still others who may be students or instructors in the law. While most members of the public are less likely to read judicial decisions, certain issues may be of public interest or may attract attention from the media. Decisions which affect other audiences in a specialized area may require greater development of the facts or greater legal analysis. These audiences will have varying degrees of knowledge about the case and education about the law generally; yet all must be able to understand and follow the factual and legal analysis in the decision.
  • Awareness of one’s audience does not mean writing exclusively for the benefit of one’s audience. Hence, Oscar Wilde’s advice that “An audience is never wrong” does not apply to legal writing. A judge should not pander to public opinion or favour elites or certain interest groups who may read the decision. Instead, a judge must act in an autonomous fashion while maintaining faith to the rule of law and the constitution. At the same time, it is not unhelpful to remember that when crafting a decision judging others, the audience will be judging the court.
  • The style of legal writing can thus be influenced by the nature of the expected audience. In many cases, this means that legal writing should be understandable to not just legal actors but the public at large. To some extent, the audience will vary depending upon whether the decision is a chambers judgment, a preliminary ruling, or a full opinion on a final verdict. Styles vary. With some, there is a tendency to use technical language or numerous case references, quotations, and appeals to authority. However, some of the most effective judges I have seen have a very succinct style that is understandable to their audience. Mr. Justice Watt’s style of writing in Ontario Court of Appeal decisions is one example of the trend toward compact writing in modern decisions, though I do not favour succinctness over completeness and accuracy. In other words, a decision rendered by the court must be informative and clear to those directly affected by the decision understandable to the layperson, and insightful to those looking at the case as a precedent.
  • This is not always an easy task. The Supreme Court reminds us in cases like R.E.M. and Shepherd that the basis for a verdict must be intelligible and capable of being made out. While excessive detail is unnecessary, the connection between the verdict and the basis for the verdict must be apparent. Reasons must show why the judge arrived at his or her conclusion, not recite the case in a “watch me think” fashion. In accordance with these dicta, I prefer a style based upon sophisticated simplicity – one that tells the necessary story of the case, explains the factual context, and responds to the audience while resolving the issues. The decision should clearly, fairly, and accurately inform the audience of the facts and applicable legal framework, and demonstrate to reader the reasonableness of the conclusions.

5. Please describe the personal qualities, professional skills and abilities, and life experience that you believe will equip you for the role of a judge.

Personal Qualities

  • I believe I demonstrate patience, tolerance, and decisiveness in my practice and that these qualities would serve me well on the bench. I have an even temperament, sound judgment, and the ability to exercise discretion in a fair and principled manner. I have been extremely committed to continuing professional education. I work well with others, and have excellent interpersonal skills. I also think that I have the humility, tolerance, and integrity necessary to exercise sound judgment in a courtroom. I believe these qualities will allow me to serve on the bench in a manner that will uphold the values of the judiciary and promote confidence in the judicial system.
  • Throughout my educational and professional career, I have been a committed student, volunteer and mentor. During law school, I volunteered with a human rights organization, taught criminology seminars as a teaching assistant, and volunteered at the University of Toronto criminal law clinic. After admission to the bar, I became involved in the CBA Criminal Justice Section and Appellate Section. More recently, I have attempted to pass on my knowledge and experience to law students, junior lawyers, and other Crown counsel by becoming involved in advocacy training with the Practical Legal Training Course, the Continuing Legal Education Society, and the UBC/Peter Allard Moot Court.

Professional Skills and Abilities

  • I have worked as a Crown prosecutor for over 24 years, spending the last 22 years with the provincial Crown. In my 13 years of practice as a trial prosecutor in Provincial and Supreme Court, I conducted many serious cases involving death, sexual assault, serious personal injury, gang members, and sensitive victims (children, mentally ill victims, a Supreme Court justice, and a large number of First Nations victims). During my time as a trial prosecutor, I worked in the North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, and Vancouver Provincial Courts. In the Supreme Court, I prosecuted numerous jury and non-jury trials in sexual assault and driving cases resulting in serious harm or death, murder cases, and cases involving high-profile victims. I also conducted several dangerous offender hearings and handled contempt proceedings in a high-profile injunction case.
  • My last 11 years have been spent with the Criminal Appeals office handling conviction and sentence appeals before the BC Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada. I have argued serious, complex, and precedent-setting cases in the Supreme Court of Canada including Grant and Shepherd (admissibility of evidence under s. 24(2) of the Charter), Steele (a home invasion case defining the “use” of a firearm), Roy (a leading case on dangerous driving), and Knott and D.A.P. (elimination of the Two Year Rule invalidating probation orders). I have led appeals on two “mega cases” in the Court of Appeal: R. v. Sipes, Podolski, O’Donnell, and Manolakos; and R. v. Tse et al. I have litigated other serious and precedent-setting cases in the Court of Appeal including several murder appeals, numerous dangerous offender appeals, and high profile cases such as Mastop and Bourque.
  • I regularly provide advice to the Criminal Justice Branch. I coordinate the distribution of legal memoranda on significant legal developments. I chair a Jury Trial Resource Counsel group which provides assistance to Crown counsel conducting jury trials.
  • I have given advice in several high-profile cases and am regularly consulted by Crown as an expert in admissibility of evidence under the Charter, search and seizure, dangerous driving, dangerous offenders, contempt proceedings, sentencing, and evidentially matters.
  • As noted above, I have conducted presentations and authored papers or book chapters on adverse inferences, certificate evidence, tips for appellate practice, dangerous driving and criminal negligence, tips on written advocacy, indictable appeals, sentencing, exclusion of evidence under s. 24(2) of the Charter, remedies under s. 24(1) of the Charter, the presentation of evidence at trial, right to counsel issues under ss. 10 (a) and (b) of the Charter, and Sunday retail restrictions.
  • The aforementioned experience has allowed me to develop my communication and interpersonal skills, as well as knowledge of criminal law and procedure. I believe I possess advanced analytical and legal writing abilities. I am highly organized, capable of carrying a substantial caseload, and capable of making informed decisions under pressure. I continually strive to improve myself through involvement in professional development.

Life Experiences

  • As a young child, I grew up in small northern BC towns including Houston and Quesnel, where my father worked as an engineer in the pulp and paper industry in various forestry towns. Eventually, our family settled in North Vancouver where I played or refereed sports such as soccer, baseball, and basketball, and developed a deep respect for people from all cultures including people from Indigenous communities, Asian immigrants including those from Iran and other Arab countries, and families of European descent. I worked my way through school as a labourer and forklift driver in a shelving plant, and delivered orange juice to Vancouver hotels. Our family is committed to fundraising for oncology research and treatment.

6. Given the goal of ensuring that Canadians are able to look at the justices appointed to the bench and see their faces and life experience reflected there, you may, if you choose, provide information about yourself that you feel would assist in this objective.

See the answers in Part 11, sections (2) and (5) above.

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