584 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 4 JULY 2021
overhead and work-related issues. Al was unable to attend that meeting
and, instead, arranged with Paul to meet for a beer at the Robin Hood pub.
They had a beer and talked about many things. Eventually, Paul asked Al
what “work-related issues” he wanted to canvass before Paul joined the firm.
Al said he just wanted to have a beer with Paul, to get to know him better.
Paul and Al worked on a number of files together, frequently representing
co-accused. Paul remembers that Al had an amazing ability for “getting to the
bottom” of everything and uncovering every possible bit of information. He
often knew the details of a file better than anyone, including the investigator.
Paul recalls that he and Al would often attend the “crime scene” as part of
their trial preparation. Al would bring his dog Susie and have a tape measure
in hand and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He would call out measurements
and Paul would diligently record them. Later in court, Al would
use this thorough understanding of the file to cross-examine the police and
other witnesses, often to the benefit of his client in the acquittal that
From time to time, Al represented clients charged with impaired driving
at the border. It was not uncommon for Al to present detailed maps to the
police, raising arguments that the offence had actually occurred in the
United States, not Canada.
In the late ’90s, Al moved on from SBRH and practised as a sole practitioner
in Surrey until he retired from practice in November 2013. Judge
Raven presided over the last case Al defended in Provincial Court. The case
involved a Motor Vehicle Act stop of a cyclist who was riding a bike on a sidewalk
without a helmet. Al advanced many Charter arguments, with several
large books of authorities in support. Ultimately, one of those Charter arguments
found traction, and Al’s client was acquitted.
Al and Linda left Ladner and retired to Vancouver Island. Up until that
point, he had spent most of his life in Delta.
Al was not only a talented and committed lawyer, but also a father and
stepfather to Stephen (Dawn), Darren (Devon), Bradley (Tiffany), Paul and
David (Michelle), and had eight grandchildren who were very much the
apples of his eye.
Al passed away on February 12, 2021, leaving behind his devoted partner
Linda, his children and grandchildren, and many in the legal profession
who deeply respected and admired his devotion to his clients and the presumption
of innocence. Even though Al has now passed, his spirit, laughter
and engaging smile can still be felt in the halls of the Surrey courthouse. He
was one of the true characters of the criminal bar.
Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie