LONDON, ON, July 18 /CNW/ – Criminal lawyer and activist James L…

LONDON, ON, July 18 /CNW/ – Criminal lawyer and activist James Lockyer
received an honorary doctorate from the Law Society of Upper Canada today at a
ceremony to welcome the province’s newest lawyers, of whom seven per cent are
from the Aboriginal community.
Law Society Treasurer George D. Hunter presented the Doctor of Laws
(LL.D.) to Mr. Lockyer in recognition of his numerous contributions in the
field of criminal law and in defence of those who have been wrongly convicted.
The presentation took place at the annual Call to the Bar ceremonies at
the London Convention Centre, in which a total of 84 new lawyers – 56 per cent
women – entered the legal profession.
Treasurer Hunter congratulated the graduates and noted, “Today you have
become part of a profession that is based on traditions of service. You can
provide service in many ways and help to make a difference and to advance
justice. As lawyers you will play a critical role in making legal services
more accessible by choosing to take on legal aid work, offering pro bono
services and becoming involved in your communities.”
Treasurer Hunter further noted that, “As lawyers, you have also become
trustees charged with protecting the interests of your fellow citizens, the
rule of law and constitutional principles including an independent legal
profession.”
Each year, the Law Society confers honorary degrees upon individuals who
have demonstrated extraordinary character or have performed good works of
benefit to the public. Recipients serve as keynote speakers at the Calls,
inspiring the graduating class as they begin their new careers.
In congratulating the well-known justice advocate, Treasurer Hunter
stated: “Mr. Lockyer has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and effort
to preserving and promoting the fair administration of justice,” said
Treasurer Hunter. “His invaluable contribution to Ontario’s criminal bar has
been accomplished with the character and integrity to which the legal
profession aspires. He is a credit to the profession and a role model for
today’s graduates.”
Mr. Lockyer is a founding director of the Association in Defence of the
Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), a Canada-wide organization that advocates for the
wrongly convicted. He has worked, and continues to work, on more than 10
wrongful convictions in Canada, many times on a pro bono basis. One of these
cases, the exoneration of Guy Paul Morin in 1995, led to a public inquiry in
Ontario in 1997.
“When James sees injustice, he is willing to challenge it to the end,”
says Guy Paul Morin, who was wrongly convicted in 1992. “He simply wants
justice for all despite the hurdles. James is not just a great lawyer, but
also a wonderful human being who has and is still making a positive difference
in the world. He’s made a great difference in my life.”
Mr. Lockyer is known for his recent work in seeking a ministerial review
of the conviction of Steven Truscott. Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler
ordered a review of the matter in November 2004 and referred Mr. Truscott’s
case to the Court of Appeal for Ontario for a re-hearing. A former director of
the Ontario Criminal Lawyers’ Association, Mr. Lockyer has also been involved
in the high profile cases of David Milgaard, Robert Baltovich, James Driskell,
Clayton Johnson, and Romeo Phillion.
“I think James Lockyer is deserving of the honorary Doctor of Laws
because of his much-needed expertise in freeing people who have been wrongly
convicted,” adds Joyce Milgaard, whose son, David, was wrongly convicted in
1969.
“Without James’ dedication and perseverance in pursuing justice for my
son, who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, I would likely
still be trying to convince people of David’s innocence. Canada’s legal
profession has been well-served by James’ tireless determination to correct
unjust results that have no place within our justice system.”
James Lockyer graduated from the University of Nottingham in the United
Kingdom in 1971 and was called to the Bar in England in 1973. He was called to
the Bar of Ontario in 1977 and has taught law at the Universities of Windsor
and McGill. He was the recipient of the 2004 Criminal Justice Award (the
G. Arthur Martin Medal) for his contribution to criminal justice in Canada.
He is a director of New Leaf Living and Learning Together, which provides
residential, vocational, and social services for adults diagnosed with
multiple disabilities.
As part of the Law Society’s mandate to govern the legal profession in
the public interest, the Law Society is responsible for the licensing,
admission and regulation of the almost 36,000 lawyers in Ontario. For more
information about the Law Society, visit us online at: www.lsuc.on.ca.

(*) Note: A full biography of James Lockyer is available on request

For further information: David Gambrill, (416) 947-3317,
[email protected]; Lucy Rybka-Becker, (416) 520-6127 (cellular),
[email protected];

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