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level team took him to the most difficult situations of the Downtown Eastside,
where the clients struggled with the twin burdens of mental illness
and rampant drug addiction. He had the opportunity to work with and get
to know these clients, and he learned that there is a human story behind
even the worst outrage. Here, too, his work intersected with the legal system:
some of the success stories in this work involved the granting of
absolute discharges from the forensic system.
Exposure to these issues, which are not for the faint of heart, stirred
rather than deterred his interest in our profession. In 2002 he entered law
school, first at the University of Alberta, then in his last two years at UBC.
In his articling year he became one of the first, if not the first, student in
this province with two concurrent principals in different offices. He
received his instruction in the many issues, practical and ethical, which
arise in criminal law from eminent Vancouver practitioner Michael D.
Sanders, while learning the realities of the role of the prosecutor, of civil litigation
and of the solicitor’s practice at North Vancouver’s Lakes, Straith &
Whyte LLP, as it was then called. He was called to the British Columbia bar
At the time, Lakes, Whyte LLP, as it is now called, was responsible for a
large volume of criminal prosecutions as agent for the Public Prosecution
Service of Canada. Peter found his niche in this work and soon became a
familiar face in the Provincial Court in North Vancouver and nearby communities.
He quickly developed a reputation amongst the local bar and (we
believe) the bench as a hard-working, careful, reliable and fair-minded prosecutor.
Perhaps it was his experience in counselling people whose illnesses
or addictions had led to their involvement in the criminal justice system,
but he became known as a prosecutor with some understanding of the personal
challenges faced by accused persons. As he would not abandon a
proper position, he would also not take an unreasonable one, and was prepared
to listen to and consider the other side of the story.
As the situs of this work expanded beyond the North Shore, Peter’s exposure
to the far-flung reaches of British Columbia expanded with it. It is here
that another theme of our story enters: that of his connection with the north
of our great province. He became a frequent visitor to Fort St. John, Dawson
Creek and Fort Nelson. Something in the dynamism of those communities
attracted his attention, and so he accepted a position in Fort St. John with
the Criminal Justice Branch in February 2015.
Prosecuting assault and sexual assault charges is the bread and butter of
a provincial Crown prosecutor’s work in Fort St. John. It was there that his
experiences in social work came to the fore. In its wisdom the Criminal Jus-