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THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 2 M A R C H 2 0 1 7 241 NEWS FROM JUSTICE EDUCATION SOCIETY By Associate Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie* The Justice Education Society (“JES”) is well known for its many excellent projects throughout British Columbia. In addition to providing extensive services to the public in this province, JES is very involved in various international projects. JES’s international projects focus on improving criminal justice systems, increasing access to justice for women and girls and providing public legal education and information. Currently JES is active in the “Northern Triangle” (Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador) as well as in Panama and in Guyana. In 2015 JES was awarded $750,000 in funding from the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program of Global Affairs Canada to strengthen Guyana’s justice system. Subsequent funding (US $946,000) was received by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, which builds on the work of the Canadian-funded project and expands it from Georgetown to include the entire country. The project works on developing the capacity of the police, prosecutors and magistrates to identify, collect and work with evidence. Guyana presented as a unique opportunity for JES as it is both English speaking and a common law jurisdiction. Guyana gained its independence from Britain 50 years ago. It is located on the northern tip of South America and is the only English-speaking country on that continent. Nearly 800,000 people live in Guyana, with about 350,000 living in the greater Georgetown area. The resources made available to the criminal justice system have been very modest. As a result justice system participants in Guyana have strug- * Associate Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie is a member of the JES legal team as well as a board member, and she has been to Guyana multiple times. She graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1989. After articling in Vancouver with Davis & Company (as it was called at the time) she was called to the bar in B.C. in February 1991. She became Crown counsel in 1991 and in 2005 became the Regional Crown Counsel for the Fraser Region. In 2009 Associate Chief Judge Gillespie was appointed Queen’s Counsel. She then became a Provincial Court judge in Surrey and was named Associate Chief Judge in 2016.


March Pages 2017
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