276 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 2 MARCH 2020
propensity to giggle, would have had obvious disadvantages in a military
Norm was a team player who was at his best teaching the rest of us how
to run a criminal defence. His clients always received the best, most creative
and fair defence possible.
One of the most remarkable things about Norm in the age of the lawyeras
businessperson model was the fact that he was not driven by money.
Norm was also not driven by the need for legal stardom and was often at his
happiest working behind the scenes creating the finesse behind a legal
defence. One of the many cases where Norm uncovered and developed the
key legal issues was R. v. Smith, 1987 1 S.C.R. 1045, which led the way for
all future challenges under s. 12 of the Charter.
Norm’s legal acuity was not limited to planning defences. He was a brilliant
cross-examiner. Probably the most infamous of his court tales occurred
during a complicated and gruelling trial involving a number of accused persons
charged with a series of home invasions. One of the crucial Crown witnesses
was a person who was caught red-handed during the final robbery
and who had negotiated a minimal sentence by agreeing to implicate his
alleged accomplices. All the defence lawyers in the case recognized that the
cross-examination of this crucial witness would be a difficult endeavour.
Norm began his cross in true Norm fashion, asking a series of questions that
initially appeared quite innocuous and meaningless to the witness, who
answered the questions with a display of confidence and bravado. After a
number of these questions were answered, however, a low burning light of
cognition was ignited in the witness, who quite suddenly acquired the mental
acuity to realize that Norm had actually gotten him to admit large contradictions
in his evidence. Everyone present that day could see how the
witness soon began to shift uncomfortably in his chair, attempting to mentally
untangle himself from the evidence that he had provided while still
anticipating a further onslaught of questions whose relevance might yet
elude him. As Norm began his next question, the witness suddenly burst
out in a thoroughly exasperated and beaten tone, “What are you, some kind
of scientifical brainiac!?” The lawyers all seated at counsel table behind
Norm stifled their laughter. Norm looked back, giving them his characteristic
mischievous grin, and proceeded to finish off the witness with a few
additional pointed questions. From that point on, whenever Norm finished
one of his effective cross-examinations, it would be affirmed by those in the
know that he truly was indeed a “scientifical brainiac”.
At least once during each case, Norm would find something to be mischievous
about, even during the strain of trial. Whether it was coming up