James Lockyer CM, Criminal Defense Lawyer, Founding Director of Innocence Canada, February 22, 2022

James Lockyer CM, a founding director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), previously spoke to the Whiff in April 2010. He laid out the clear case that the justice system makes mistakes. These mistakes may have resulted from inadequate investigations, flawed forensic evidence, lying or mistaken witnesses, prosecutorial tunnel vision, or simple human error. His talk laid bare several examples of the inevitably devastating consequences that a wrongful conviction has had for some of his well known clients – Guy Paul Morin, David Milgaard, Robert Baltovich, James Driskell, Clayton Johnson, Steven Truscott and William Mullins-Johnson.  Since his last talk, the AIDWYC rebranded in 2016 as Innocence Canada, and adopted a new dynamic logo consisting of tally marks, one for each of the exonerations they have been involved in. Its team of pro-bono lawyers are currently reviewing approximately 80 claims of innocence.

James will update us on IC’s educational initiatives that help to address the causes of wrongful convictions as well as details on some of those exonorated since his last talk – Tammy Marquardt (2011),  Leighton Hay (2014), John Salmon (2015), Maria Shepherd (2016) and Frank Ostrowski (2018). Will the proposed Miscarriages of Justice Commission be able to grasp the opportunity for a true legacy project that would establish Canada as a leader in the global innocence movement?

Mr Lockyer, a partner in the Toronto office of Lockyer Campbell Posner, obtained his LLB at the University of Nottingham in 1971 and is a member of the Bar in England. Between 1972 and 1977, he was an Assistant Professor of Law at, first, McGill University and then the University of Windsor. In 1977 he was called to the Ontario Bar and began to practice criminal law. He has been a criminal lawyer for 44 years. Since 1992, the majority of his practice has involved unravelling wrongful convictions.

In 2004, he was the recipient of the G. Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Medal from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association for outstanding contribution to criminal justice. In 2005, he received the John Howard Society’s Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service. In 2010, the Globe and Mail hailed him as one of the Top 10 of 2000-2009, a “Nation Builder of the Decade”“In a nation that has become known globally for rooting out miscarriages of justice, Mr. Lockyer’s dedication, work ethic and dominant role go unquestioned.”  In 2012, he received the Award for Justice from The Advocates’ Society. In December 2018, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. He has received six honorary doctorates from the Law Society of Upper Canada (2005) and five Canadian Universities.

Whiffers and guests heard an absolutley spellbinding talk by one of Canada’s preeminent crimal lawyers. Our speaker’s charity of choice was Innocence Canada