Backgrounder: National Prosecution Awards 2023

Commitment to Justice Award

Rekha Malaviya is a General Trial and Appellate Counsel with expertise in domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual violence work, particularly in remote Indigenous communities. Rekha is Chair of the Manitoba Prosecution Service Sexual Abuse Prosecutions Group, member of the Mental Health Court Committee, and counsel for the appellant before the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Friesen. She is committed to the development of lawyers, and the evolution of the law, particularly in regards to balancing the contours of reconciliation and pushing the evolution of victims' rights.

Justice Jill Witkin was formerly a Crown Counsel with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, Chair of the Sexual Violence Advisory Group, and Head of the Child Abuse Team. She has demonstrated a constant commitment to educating the public, law enforcement, Bar, and judiciary on avoiding myths and stereotypes about sexual violence and ensuring that vulnerable victims are treated with respect and dignity throughout the court process. In June 2023, she was appointed as a judge to the Ontario Court of Justice.

The Outstanding Achievement in a Prosecution Award

François Godin is a Trial and Appellate Counsel with the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales du Québec. Despite a heavy caseload of major cases, he regularly mentors and offers training to less experienced colleagues. He demonstrated extraordinary professionalism in leading the complex prosecutions of R. v. Bissonnette and R. v. Girouard, which received considerable media attention.

Courage and Perseverance Award

Clare Jennings and Patrick Weir are Crown Counsel with British Columbia’s Crown Prosecution Service. They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the successful high-level prosecution of R. v. Berry involving the murder of young girls with considerable circumstantial evidence, a confrontational defence strategy, and withering personal attacks on the prosecutors while in the glare of daily media attention. A change of trial venue imposed prolonged absences from their homes, impacting the daily lives of their families. Clare and Patrick had to provide additional support to many trial participants who were re-traumatized by the proceedings, which took a toll on the prosecutors themselves. Despite all these challenges, they demonstrated courage, perseverance and obtained a verdict.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Award

Dayna Arron is a former Trial Crown with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, now Executive Director of Justice Centres with the Ministry of the Attorney General. She is also responsible for leading the provincial Strategy on Guns, Gangs, and Violence Reduction, involving over 15 cross-ministry initiatives. Dayna has engaged with Indigenous leaders, community leaders, and justice stakeholders in the design and operationalization of four Justice Centres across Ontario. Co-located with courtrooms, these centres bring together front-end support, prevention services, and reintegration services tailored to the needs of the communities they serve.

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INFORMATION:

Robert P. Doyle
Secretary, FPT Heads of Prosecutions Committee
613-952-0267

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