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Jan Advocate 2017

106 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE of a really good trial lawyer—Mel Hunt was one of those.” Judge Randy Callan, a former colleague of Mel’s, described him as “a pugnacious and spirited defender for his clients who was willing and able to take on all comers as well as being known by those working on the other side of his files as a fair-minded champion of justice. Mel worked long and hard for his clients.” On a more personal note, Mel had a keen sense of humour. While in the military, he was the secret author of “the Moses letters”—purportedly authored by the mythical Major-General Moses. This infamous series of hilarious but wholly subversive communiqués lampooned the senior leadership of the Judge Advocate General branch and was subsequently banned. When prosecuting a court martial that Mel was defending, Randy Callan (now Judge Callan) in his submissions referred to the police apprehending the member on a possession charge after observing a large flame from his lighter. This comment caused Mel to jump up and object, accusing Randy Callan of making “an inflammatory remark”. While attending a symposium in Edmonton, Mel sent a telegraph to the director of personnel (legal services) advising, “unable to locate the site of the symposium however, time was not wasted as have been retained by the Hare Krishna society to defend them on charges of emotional fraud. Providing we wear our uniforms, we agreed.” For many years Mel was thought to have subsisted largely on work, Broadcast brand canned chili, coffee, beer, red wine and Colts cigars. He lived modestly. He was married twice to women who, despite the end of their respective marriages, he maintained good relations with. He was not hesitant to acknowledge his own shortcomings. Family was not something Mel was brought up with; however, it was highly valued by Mel and never taken for granted. Despite not having any role model, he was a loving and supportive father who enjoyed the devoted love of his daughter Nicole, her husband Pastor Garry Vanderveen (and their children, Hannah, Sarah, Josiah, Micaiah, Elijah, Torah, as well as Mel’s great-granddaughter Eleora) and his son Raphael (and his son Kingston). His long-time trusted assistant, Carolee Punnett, noted that while Mel portrayed himself as a rock, he was in truth a very compassionate and caring man. Almost six years ago Mel’s health began to fail as a result of a kidney disease he inherited from his mother. He was supposed to retire. A remarkable retirement dinner was hosted for Mel and his family by his fellow members of the criminal bar (notably Peter Firestone) in Victoria. The dinner was attended by 35 members of the Crown counsel’s office and defence bar with the speeches of Crown and defence counsel alike lauding Mel’s skills as a lawyer, his fair dealing, and the respect he was held in by his fellow mem-


Jan Advocate 2017
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