John J. Robinette, Canada’s greatest trial lawyer, was admired and respected by the bench and his fellow lawyers alike. A quiet, unassuming man outside the courtroom, he was a consummate performer when appearing before a judge and jury.
Robinette became a household name as the defender of Evelyn Dick, who was charged with killing her husband and infant son in Hamilton in 1946, and of Steven Suchan, a member of the infamous Boyd Gang. He was Canada’s pre-eminent lawyer from the 1930s to the 1980s, showing unparalleled versatility and virtuosity whether acting as counsel in criminal, civil, or constitutional cases, at both the trial and appeal levels. This is the story of a great man, of the maturing of the legal profession in Canada, and of Canada in the twentieth century.