Accounting for Law
Criminal

Izadi champions rights of criminal accused

Fairness and the rule of law have always been important to Toronto criminal lawyer Melody Izadi.

“I was obsessed with the idea since I was about 10 years of age,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com

“I dislike it when someone is done wrong because the law isn’t followed, and I’m very passionate about fighting in their corner when that happens.”

And that passion has sustained all the way into adulthood for Izadi, now an associate with Caramanna Friedberg LLP, where she regularly argues to protect her clients’ Charter rights in court.

“It doesn’t really matter what someone is accused of,” she says. “Those principles of justice and freedom are there for all of us. The consequences can be serious when the one breaking the rules and violating your Constitutional rights is the government.”

Each time Izadi appears in court to advocate on behalf of an accused, she is reminded of the critical role she and her colleagues play in the justice system.

“It feels like by arguing for your clients, you’re also part of a bigger cause and serving the interests of the greater public,” Izadi says.

“I was never really interested in working for the Crown or with the police because you don’t get the same opportunities to keep the state’s power in check. Keeping their power in check is how we can ensure that the justice system is working properly.”

Although she grew up in Canada, Izadi completed her law degree in the United Kingdom — at Queen Mary University of London — taking the chance to research international criminal law on behalf of Lawyers Without Borders.

“It was an amazing experience. I loved the school and the education, and I learned so much about their system of law, which of course, Canada's system of law was founded on,” she says. “I even thought about staying there.”

However, the call of home proved too strong and she embarked on an extensive set of accreditation exams to allow her to article at a criminal defence firm in Toronto.

“When it came down to it, I just couldn’t resist litigating under our Charter here in Canada.”

Practising solely in criminal defence and regulatory offences, Izadi defends clients facing a wide variety of charges, ranging from murder and human trafficking to robbery and sexual assault.

“I’m versatile at this stage, with a big mix of cases,” she says.

In addition, Izadi is a prolific contributor to a number of publications, including as the criminal law columnist for LawNow magazine. She also serves as editor-in-chief for the Rights Advocacy Coalition for Equality Quarterly.    

“I was interested in journalism in my high school days so it comes pretty naturally, and I get a great deal of freedom to voice an opinion,” she says. ”It’s a different kind of advocacy and it’s great to have another platform to express what I believe in.”

“It also keeps me engaged in the wider world of criminal law, which helps me profoundly in my own cases,” Izadi adds.

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