As a mother, I know that life can be demanding and that your time is valuable. Dealing with a criminal charge is not just about what happens in court. It’s about the impact the charge has on my client, their family and friends, and their everyday life. I work with my clients to ensure that their time involved in the criminal justice system goes as smoothly as possible – be that through strong advocacy fighting for an acquittal, referrals to community resources to address issues that led to being charged or simply helping my clients understand the system itself. I will do everything I can to get you back to where you want and need to be: living your life.
Since being called to the Bar in 2007, I have had the pleasure of assisting clients in relation to many different offences, in many different cities and before a number of judges and tribunals. And just like my twins, while there can be a lot of similarities between cases, each case is different and deserves its own unique game plan.
An avid Ottawa Senators fan, I will often be found cheering on the home team during hockey season. During the summer, look for me on the ball diamond.
While my home base is in Ottawa, my practice has taken me to various cities such as Cornwall, L’Orignal, Brockville, Pembroke, and places in between. I have appeared before judges of the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice.
Why did you become a lawyer?
I decided at a very young age that I wanted to be a lawyer, and not just any lawyer, but a criminal defence lawyer. During religion class in grade 5, we were all assigned roles to play in a mock trial wherein the accused was facing death by stoning for his beliefs. As luck would have it, I was one of two students chosen to be a defence lawyer. We set the classroom up to look like a courtroom, witnesses were asked questions and then it came time for closing arguments. I delivered an impassioned speech about how my client should not be found guilty simply for what he believed in. Among other things, I talked about children and the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. The jury acquitted our client and I was bitten by the law bug. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The preparation that went into knowing the case, speaking out in defence of my client, finding a way to paint a picture for our jury that would have them see it our way; all these tasks from a relatively simple exercise in grade 5 that would put me on the path for my career.
Over the years, that early exercise has served me well. I still work hard in preparing cases; I will always be looking for the best way to tell my client’s story so that it will be heard, understood and appreciated; and I still get excited for my clients when they get the favourable results they deserve.
How do you represent criminals?
Being charged with a crime does not make a person a criminal, nor is a person defined by their criminal record or what they are charged with. I am a firm believer that good people can do bad things, but that doesn’t make them bad people. And, that people who have done bad things in the past can still be good people – sometimes you just have to look a little harder. I represent people that are facing the onerous task of going toe-toe with the immense resources that the State has at its disposal. They deserve an opportunity to make it a fair fight – to have someone on their side who will take up their cause, hold the State to the strictest level of proof, and do everything possible to get them a favourable outcome. My clients deserve nothing less.
What motivates you to fight hard in each and every case?
I am motivated by my client’s stories and my desire to help them have those stories heard within the criminal justice system. Often the difference between a guilty verdict and a not-guilty verdict can be a matter of perspective. My goal is to be that bridge in the criminal justice system to help my clients be heard and have a meaningful involvement in their own case. After all, it is my client’s life that will be affected by their time in the justice system and I want to do everything I can to make sure that experience goes as smoothly as possible with as little impact on their overall lives as possible.