Thursday, May 31, 2007

 

Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett

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As I came across the following personal description of Judge Bennett, I thought others might also be interested in knowing a little bit more about the person who is so important to us in the matter of HMTQ vs Basi Virk Basi. So first, some of her basic credentials:

August 28, 1997 -- The Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment:

Elizabeth A. Bennett, Q.C., of North Vancouver, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. She replaces Mr. Justice C.R. Lander, who has chosen to become a supernumerary judge.

Madam Justice Bennett graduated in law from the University of British Columbia in 1981, and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1982.

Madam Justice Bennett practised law as trial counsel for the Attorney General of B.C. until 1987 and then as Appellate Counsel until 1984. She then joined the firm of Peck, Tammen and Bennett, where she mainly practised criminal law and constitutional law. Since 1996, Madam Justice Bennett has been acting as Appellate Counsel for the Attorney General of B.C. Madam Justice Bennett is the author of numerous publications on criminal law matters.


And now, here's Judi Tyabji Wilson's assessment of Judge Bennett in court on June 28, 2002, when listening to final arguments at the end of the 8-month trial of former premier Glen Clark:

The judge looked less tired than previously. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett appeared to be in her late 30s. She was attractive, with an almost shoulder-length cut of thick dark hair. And she had a dimple when she smiled, which was rare. Her dark eyes followed everything in the trial, and her forehead often creased in a thoughtful frown as she processed the information presented to her. Her patience had been obvious in many instances and her written presentations on rulings throughout the trial were thorough, intellectual, and full of legal references ...

Judge Bennett had to be looking forward to the end of the trial, but she gave no indication of her feelings, remaining as stern as ever. She was very careful and very good at her job. She looked like she could clean up in a poker match. At one point, [David] Gibbons [leading defence lawyer] made a joke and everyone laughed, including Bennett. She looked so much younger when she smiled, and very playful. It was as if a mask had slipped, but it had slipped briefly, and she resumed her professional air. Sometimes there was a hint that she had a good sense of humour but clearly she liked to have a controlled, professional atmosphere in the courtroom. Too much humour, or too much posturing, was discouraged by the occasional comment from the judge's seat. Otherwise, she rarely interrupted.

[Daggers Unsheathed, the political assassination of Glen Clark, by Judi Tyabji Wilson, excerpted from pages 265-266.]

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