THE ADVOCATE 905
VOL. 76 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2018
assume major criminal cases as defence counsel. Her work ethic was well
known, and she honed her skills in large case management. Soon, Michelle
was travelling all over western Canada, conducting and assisting in complex
and serious criminal cases.
She has defended accused persons charged with murder, organized crime
offences and complicated drug conspiracy charges. After her relocation to
Victoria, Michelle was defence counsel on some of the most high-profile
and complex gang prosecutions in B.C. history. Legend has it that on the
days that Michelle knew she would be doing battle in court, she would don
what she called her “combat boots”, which her colleagues considered to be
dangerously sharp yet elegantly formidable footwear.
On one occasion, Michelle conducted in a small community a trial that
attracted much notoriety and media coverage. She handled the
public scrutiny with consummate professionalism and achieved a result for
the client that his previous counsel had said was impossible. On another
occasion, she travelled a considerable distance to visit in jail a client who
was awaiting trial—to deliver a birthday card to him because his family and
friends had abandoned him and he was facing an almost-certain life
But Michelle should not be misunderstood; she is not a pushover. While
she has enormous stores of empathy, she also possesses the strength and
determination to confront and deal with those who would harm society,
their families or each other. She will undoubtedly approach her judicial role
in a principled but pointed manner. And, as her colleagues, friends and husband
well know, she has little difficulty in making her point of view clearly
(and emphatically) understood.
Despite her busy trial schedule, Michelle also made time for people who
were unable to afford legal services. She volunteered her time acting pro
bono for clients in conflict with Correctional Services of Canada and volunteered
as well with Access Pro Bono BC. She coached law students at the
University of Victoria in the Western Canada Trial Competition (the MacIntyre
Cup). Also during this time, Michelle was (and continues to be) a strong
mentor for young counsel, particularly female counsel.
Between 2011 and 2017 she occupied significant positions in the Trial
Lawyers Association of British Columbia as a member of the board of governors
(two years), a member of the executive (one year) and chair of the
Criminal Defence Committee (two years).
Importantly, Michelle and her close friend and colleague Noelle Mason
created a registered charity for refugees: the Harbour of Hope Refugee
Assistance Society. Noelle continues to operate this charity, which has been