The Canadian Bar Association
Criminal

Most clients see defence counsel 'doing their best to help'

Although there are still many questions as to the motive behind the recent shooting of a member of the criminal defence bar, Toronto criminal lawyer John Rosen tells the Toronto Sun that he is unshaken by the incident, as most clients see their counsel as doing their best to help them in challenging situations.

As the Sun reports, criminal defence lawyer J. Randall Barrs was shot multiple times by a man dressed as a construction worker outside of his Toronto office. A nearby surveillance team from Halton Regional Police then shot the man as he tried to make his getaway.

The Sun notes that there are many theories as to what happened, but still no answers in the case.

As Rosen, founder of Rosen & Company Barristers, says in the article, he has received numerous threats during his 47-year career.

Following one case in Sudbury where he represented one of six Millhaven prisoners accused of murder, Rosen says he learned police had been aware of a plot by a Quebec gang to kidnap one of the lawyers’ family members with a demand that he smuggle in guns to the courthouse.

“I went ballistic. My daughters were young at the time and were walking to school and they didn’t have the courtesy of warning me,” he says.

On another occasion, the OPP kept watch over Rosen for six months after his client threatened to have him “pay” when his acquittal came at the expense of his partner in crime, the article notes.

“It’s a strange business that we’re in,” says Rosen.

“But I think 99.9% of our clients see their defence counsel doing their best to help them in difficult circumstances.”

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