THE ADVOCATE 431
VOL. 77 PART 3 MAY 2019
Jim will be remembered by the criminal bar for his brilliant and outstanding
career, which spanned over 56 years.
To put this article in perspective, I first saw Jim at Greta’s, the café at 222
Main, which in those days was a hub of activity buzzing with the energy of
lawyers, clients, witnesses, sheriffs and police, reminding me of the common
room at law school. When Jim entered Greta’s, you couldn’t miss him.
He was huge. I first saw him talking to Greta, who came up to his waist. The
exchange was lively and punctuated by laughter.
After I met Jim at Greta’s, I only saw him in passing over the years, until
later in life when we actually worked together. At this point I did trials with
him, large trials, not because of the issues in the trials—the trials were
Stinchcombe offspring. These trials were sometimes out of town where we
cohabitated surrounded by boxes of disclosure (not including computer
disks) for extended periods of time. I was astounded at Jim’s abilities as
counsel. He understood the law, he was superb in analyzing the evidence
and he was outstanding in envisioning how it would play out in the trial
environment. Jim’s ability to anticipate how the case would play out coupled
with his people skills made him an extraordinary negotiator.
My understanding of Jim’s early background comes from our many conversations
that were the product of two lawyers having a common cause. I
never questioned his birth certificate or how he became a lawyer. I know
he went to school, had a large family, and was Catholic for what it is worth.
He went to university, got a law degree and came to British Columbia.
However, some highlights of his early life became sparks of conversation
between us. The first was that he sold flowers. It was always amazing to
hear this giant wax eloquent about flowers. In the end he chose a home that
was located in a botanical garden.
The second was football. He played for Western University. The team
won the Vanier Cup in 2017, something Jim was very proud of. He also
played for the B.C. Lions, on the offensive line. By the time we became
close, the wear and tear of the sport was evident from the condition of his
body. His knees, joints and back were sources of continuous pain. I had
played rugby for roughly ten years. The question we discussed at length
was whether the painful legacy was worth the experience. We settled on:
“It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all; live
The third was sport bets, football in particular. Jim and I had a running
bet on the Super Bowl. I had lost for two consecutive years. I managed to
postpone payment on the basis of a phone call. During our conversations I
learned that his dad, Wilf, was a barber. I asked Jim whether his dad was