660 V O L . 7 5 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 THE ADVOCATE
Rather than breach privilege, the Crown appealed. We lost in the Court of
Appeal in a split decision and made our way up to the Supreme Court of
Canada. Mr. Berardino eloquently completed the Crown’s submissions. He
was followed by the first defence counsel, who rose to address the court. Mr.
Justice Fish leaned forward, peered down at defence counsel and asked,
“What could possibly be wrong with the three-minute in camera hearing
offered by the Crown? How can you possibly complain about that?” It was
the very solution Janet had offered a year and a half before.
There are some criminal cases that can be defended with relative ease.
And then there are those that draw Janet Winteringham. These are often
cases that, at first glance, cannot be won. These are often cases that less
committed counsel might defend without heart, unaware of their own
internal bias. Janet does not run from such bias but rather searches for it in
herself, along with any doubt or fear. When she finds any of those things
she completes a psychological housekeeping until once again loyal, committed
and unflappable. By the time Janet is in the courtroom, all such
work has been done and she will not relent in advancing her client’s cause.
Janet sometimes takes up causes that are unpopular. She does so not only
for her clients but also because of her profound belief that the rule of law is
supported not by grand pronouncements or speeches but by the work of
each participant in the criminal justice system—the Crown, the defence
and the court—toiling away, quietly, and often alone, every day. Janet has
worked extensively both from the side of the defence and from that of the
prosecution and in her work shows a deep appreciation and understanding
of the import and weight of both roles.
Janet believes in the system of justice and most of all in the concept that
we must simultaneously protect and improve it. It is here that rebellious
teenage Janet’s skills to question are mustered (in a tamer form) for the
benefit of Canadian society. Janet dedicates her time (often without recompense)
to constitutional cases including the constitutionality of the
polygamy provisions of the Criminal Code, the cancellation of the mother–
baby program at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women and the
proposed law school at Trinity Western University. Janet also lends her
insights and energies to Law Society practice standards committees, committees
pertaining to women and the law, the legal aid task force and teaching
Janet is a homegrown embodiment of what works within our criminal
justice system. She is a strong, brilliant, committed female defence lawyer.
She is a freedom fighter, a strategist, a winner on a relentless quest to
strengthen our civil liberties, a quick wit, a teacher, a labourer, a thinker,
and a strategist, and she is kind. And in her path, we are truer.