John Conroy

John Conroy

, BC, Canada
Barrister & Solicitor, Conroy & Company
Speaker Year | Toronto 2020

Mr. Conroy is a Barrister and Solicitor who graduated from the University of British Columbia Law School in 1971 and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1972. He has his own law firm, Conroy & Company, based in Abbotsford, British Columbia and his practice is primarily as Defence counsel in criminal matters with an additional focus on sentencing and post-sentencing matters which involves an extensive administrative law and constitutional law practice.

From 1975 – 1980 he was the Director of Abbotsford Community Legal Services.  From 1980 – 1990 he was the Director of British Columbia Prison Legal Services.  He was the Chairman of the Committee on Corrections & Institutions of the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. branch) from 1978-1979.  He was a Member and then Chair, CBA National Task Force on Imprisonment and Release from 1985 – 1988. He was the Chairman of the Committee on Imprisonment and Release of the National Criminal Justice Section of the Canadian Bar Association from 1988 to 2001. He is a Member of the Board of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law.

In 1992 Mr. Conroy was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation for significant contributions to Canada, community and fellow Canadians.  In January 1996 Mr. Conroy was appointed Queen’s Counsel. In August 2005 he was awarded the Gold medal of the International Society for the Reform of the Criminal Law in recognition of his contribution to the goals of the Society. In 2012 he received the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal. He was awarded the 2014 Liberty Award by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association for Excellence in Legal Advocacy. In 2015 he received from the Office of the Correctional Investigator for Canada, the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award.

Notable cases have included the Steinhauser Hostage taking at the BC Pen (1977), the Squamish 5, (1983) and numerous high-profile Cannabis community persons and cases.

On the Cannabis issue, Mr. Conroy has been involved in numerous cannabis cases since 1972 and incorporated, the National Organization for the Reform of the Marihuana Laws in Canada (NORMLCANADA) in 1977, the BC Compassion Club Society in 1997 and was counsel to numerous well-known members in the cannabis community. He appeared for Randy Caine at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, in R v. David Malmo–Levine; R v. Caine challenging Cannabis prohibition generally  and as co-counsel with Kirk Tousaw in R v. Smith 2015 SCC 34 that found the restriction to dried marihuana by medical patients was unreasonable and held such patients can possess Cannabis in any of its forms. He was lead counsel in the recent medical marihuana case, Allard v Canada that determined the previous medical marihuana regulations to be unconstitutional as limiting ‘reasonable access’ by medically approved patients to their medicine and led to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) that now form Part 14 of the Cannabis Act Regulations. He also appeared as counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) PHS Community Services Society et al and VANDU v. AG Canada and Minister of Health,2011 SCC 44  that kept open the Vancouver supervised injection site.

He has appeared on the Cannabis issue as well as Prison issues and other criminal law matters before numerous and various Canada Parliamentary and Senate Committees.



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