THE ADVOCATE 905
VOL. 78 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2020
should make sure I was home before dark. You might think he was lying to
ensure his teenage daughter was not out too late, but he had zero poker face.
He would get this twinkle in his eye that always gave the game away.
He would come home with fantastic stories about his day in court, some
of which he memorialized in swag for his team. He cinched one conviction
based on expert evidence on how garbage bags were cut with hot blades and
separated. Apparently, this process gives each bag a unique edge along the
bottom, enabling Dad to prove that the garbage bag in which the victim’s
head was found came from the accused’s kitchen. The resulting run of baseball
hats for everyone on his team declared: “To You It’s Only a Garbage
Bag”. I wish I had one of those.
I do have a hat that says “FCS” on it. An accused got so flustered from
Dad’s cross-examination questions that he answered by yelling out, “I don’t
know—you tell me! You’re the fucking crime sleuth!!” I mean, that just cried
out for a hat.
While these stories were highlights, the swag was a coping mechanism
while he prosecuted some of the most high-profile murders in the 1990s on
Vancouver Island. He prosecuted husbands for killing wives, children for
killing parents, and adults for killing children. After a hard day in court, he
would go with his colleagues to the Sticky Wicket, a bar near the Victoria
courthouse, to tell war stories and decompress. One time, after a particularly
hard-fought trial, the man whose wife had been murdered by their son
came up to him and thanked him for getting justice for his wife, even
though it meant his son was facing life in prison.
No matter how difficult the closing argument he was drafting or how serious
the case he was working through, he always made time for my worldending
(to me) teenage dramas, providing a comforting shoulder to cry on
and sound, logical advice that helped put my problems in perspective.
While we had too much in common not to butt heads, I could not have asked
for a better father.
One of his traits that I most admired, and hope I inherited, was his
whimsy. He would tell anyone who would listen about his sock distraction
strategy—my cousins even spoke about it at his celebration of life. It was
key, he said, to wear loud socks to court every day, and at some point, you
find a way to have your socks visible to the jury. The goal was to make sure
that figuring out your sock pattern became something the jury anticipated
doing every day. And then, right when your friend at the bar is making a
critically important point, you flash your socks as a distraction! Do I think
that worked as a trial strategy? No. But did it give my father an excuse to
acquire a spectacular sock collection? Absolutely. He had an equally spec-