Monday, November 26, 2007

Former Chief Justice of Canada dies

(The late Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, C.J.C.)

The Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, died last Saturday.

The Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, formerly a justice and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, passed away in Ottawa on November 24, 2007 after a prolonged illness. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Chief Justice Lamer served in the Royal Canadian Artillery and in the Canadian Intelligence Corps. In 1956, he graduated in law from the Université de Montréal. The following year, he was called to the Bar of Quebec. He practised law at the firm of Cutler, Lamer, Bellemare and Associates and was a full professor in the Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal. In 1969, Chief Justice Lamer was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court. In 1978, he was elevated to the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1980, Antonio Lamer was named the 16th Chief Justice of Canada in 1990. He retired from the Court in 2000.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, on behalf of the members of the Supreme Court of Canada, mourned Chief Justice Lamer's passing, "Antonio Lamer was an eminent jurist, and a fierce defender of the independence of the judiciary. He served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and as Chief Justice of Canada during an important period of Canadian history. He was a forceful advocate for the rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. His decisions left an indelible mark on both the law and Canadian society. His presence and passion for the law will be sorely missed. Members and employees of the Court extend their deepest condolences to Chief Justice Lamer's wife, the Honourable Danièle Tremblay-Lamer, and his family."

Former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer will lie in repose in the Grand Hall of the Supreme Court of Canada on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the public to pay their respects.

A religious ceremony will be held at the Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral in Montreal on Friday, November 30, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. The family will receive visitors from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2007, and from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, November 30, 2007, at the Centre funéraire Côte-des-Neiges, 4525 Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, in Montreal.

A private memorial ceremony by invitation only will be held at the Supreme Court of Canada on Monday, December 3, 2007 at 3:00 p.m.


One of my all-time favourite quotes from Lamer C.J.C.:

"[I]n my view the issue of mistaken belief in consent should also be submitted to the jury in all cases where the accused testifies attrial that the complainant consented. The accused's testimony that the complainant consented must be taken to mean that he believed that the complainant consented."

[Emphasis added.]

R. v. Bulmer, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 782, at par. 24.


For more information on Lamer C.J.C.'s life and legacy:

- Official SCC bio;
- Wikipedia bio.

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