A collection of stories revealing insights from criminal lawyers who have served as the defense or prosecution in some of Canada’s most striking criminal cases, Tough Crimes, will be released in just a few short weeks on November 13. Christopher D. Evans, QC and Lorene Shyba, authors and editors of Tough Crimes, talked to LESA last week about the book.
Evans described the rawness of the stories, saying that “Crown prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers don’t have closure after a trial; they don’t escape unscathed and haunting memories remain with them. … We really encouraged the writers of Tough Crimes to speak from the heart and mind.”
The book’s 21 contributors include the “heavy hitters” of Canadian criminal lawyers, such as, Richard Peck (Air India), Thomas Dalby (Taber school shooting), and John Rosen (Paul Bernardo defense). As Evans explained to LESA, each author contributed “a story or an essay about an actual case that presented personal and ethical challenges that had surprising turns in the results.”
While the experiences these contributors describe resonate with the legal community, Tough Crimes also appeals to the wider-public. For both Evans and Shyba, the ability to connect with a wide audience was one of the things that made working on Tough Crimes so exciting. Shyba identified the beginning of Tough Crimes as the “realization after hearing a couple of these stories that not only would I be interested in this story … but also that [sharing them] just may be cathartic for the lawyers and for our readers.” Evans’ optimism about the book’s widespread appeal rests on the fact that the “collective voice of this book really ends up speaking about the fundamental precepts of our criminal justice system … the presumption of innocence, reasonable doubt, subject matter like that.”
When describing the process of working with the contributors, Shyba admits that it involved “a lot of back and forth … [since] some people can weave a tale and some required gentle nudging into the heart of the darkness.” But in the end, some incredible stories were woven, stories that Shyba describes as “very personal tales about [the lawyers’] feelings and what they were encountering themselves.”
To find out more about Tough Crimes or to preorder the book, head to the publisher’s website.
For a chance to hear Evans speak about his over fifty years experience in criminal law, register for LESA’s 33rd Annual Intensive Advocacy seminar, where you’ll develop a confident, professional courtroom presence and explore all aspects of trial and hearing work in this week-long workshop. Don’t delay, register now as enrollment is limited.