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Jan Advocate 2017

114 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE Ray was not one to simply turn a file over to an expert and ask if he had a case. He developed his own wide-ranging medical knowledge and would review medical records in detail. Only after forming his own theory of liability would he approach experts with specific questions. Because of that approach, he developed a reputation for efficiency and succinctness. The seven-hour time limit on examination for discovery now contained in the Supreme Court Civil Rules would have been irrelevant to Ray, whose discovery of a defendant in even the most complex medical case rarely exceeded two or three hours. There is probably no greater testament to Ray’s professionalism than the fact that the defence counsel who was most frequently on the other side of this hard-fought litigation, Chris Hinkson (now Hinkson C.J.S.C.), also became a close personal friend. Ray was also respected by the small community of medical experts who regularly testified in medical negligence, and particularly birth injury, cases. In one trial, Ray was cross-examining a defence expert, a leading high-risk obstetrician, and put to him some scientific proposition or other. The witness’s response in court began: “That’s not quite correct, Ray.” Ray was a firm believer in the contingency fee as “the key to the courthouse door” for the average litigant. Because so many of his cases involved catastrophic injury and large damages for infant plaintiffs, there were some large fees that became the subject of disputes with the Public Guardian and Trustee. It always annoyed Ray that neither the PGT nor the court seemed to give what he considered adequate consideration to the many unsuccessful cases where he not only received no fee, but had invested thousands of dollars in disbursements on behalf of clients who could never repay him. He would complain privately about his fees being reduced by judges “who know they will get a cheque on their desk at the end of every month.” At the close of argument in his last trial, the presiding judge, the late Mr. Justice Peter Fraser, was told that it was Ray’s last case and paid tribute in open court to his long career of acting for clients who would not otherwise have had access to the courts. Ray was an advocate of and believer in work-life balance before the concept became fashionable. “I don’t live to work,” he once told me, “I work to live.” That life revolved around his family. He and Ollie had four children, numerous grandchildren and, more recently, great-grandchildren. They rarely missed a child’s or a grandchild’s artistic performance, athletic competition or even a practice. However, there was one tragedy in an otherwise idyllic family life: their eldest son Michael’s death from cancer in 1994.


Jan Advocate 2017
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