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lawyers and judges. She served for ten years as a board member of DiverseCity
(formerly Surrey Delta Immigrant Services Society). As others had
mentored her, she in turn mentored many in a kind, sensitive and understanding
In February 2012 she was appointed as a judge of the Provincial Court of
British Columbia and sat in the Fraser Region. Her colleagues found her collegial,
supportive and very engaged in the judicial process. Members of the
bar saw her as fair-minded and knowledgeable in all areas of law, with a
strong ability to deal with complex issues, tempered with common sense
As a puisne judge, Melissa was active in delivering education programs
to judges and judicial justices, as well as to the larger legal community. Her
expertise in criminal law issues, particularly in the field of search warrants
and judicial authorizations, was sought after nationally as well as at home.
She also served as an executive member of the B.C. Provincial Court
Judges Association and a director of the Justice Education Society. One volunteer
project she is particularly passionate about involves her work with
that society in Guyana. She has travelled there five times with Evelyn Neaman
and a group of equally committed Vancouver lawyers, police officers
and judges to assist their Guyanese counterparts in strengthening their justice
system. She continues to maintain contact with Guyanese judges and
intends to return there when international travel resumes.
Her appointment as an Associate Chief Judge in 2016, only four years
after she joined the court, speaks to the respect she earned rapidly within
the court and how her leadership ability stood out.
Melissa’s time outside of work revolves around her family, her love of
sports and her passion for travel. She is an avid runner who, regardless of
weather, is usually up for a run by 5:30 a.m. She skis whenever the opportunity
arises, cycles and can often be found golfing with Brent and their son
Jeremy or hiking with their daughter Sophie.
She also has a gift for friendship, maintaining warm contact with a wide
variety of friends she has met over many years.
Melissa is remarkable for her integrity, her compassion and her belief
that everyone, no matter who they are, deserves to be treated respectfully
and with dignity. These are the hallmarks of a true leader and inspiring
However, as Melissa always focuses on others’ welfare, she would
undoubtedly want us to end not by praising her, but by repeating her message
during these last several weeks: “Stay safe and healthy, take care of
yourself, practice compassion and patience, and focus on positive action
rather than perfection.”