John W. Conroy, Q.C. B.P.E. L.L.B

Personal Data
Employment History
Professional Associations and Memberships
Positions Held (past & present)
Reported Cases and Notable Trials or Appeals
Books, Articles, Presentations & Awards

Personal Data

  • Date of Birth: January 17th, 1948
  • Place of Birth: Montreal, P.Q., Canada


  • Lilongwe Preparatory School, Lilongwe, Nyasaland (Malawi), Africa
  • St. Andrews School, Blantyre, Nyasaland (Malawi), Africa
  • King Albert I College, Leopoldville (Kinshasa), Belgian Congo (Zaire), Africa
  • Hartmann House, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Africa
  • St. George's College, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Africa
  • Africa - General Certificate of Education, "O" Levels 1963
  • King Edward, Adult Education Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Abbotsford Senior Secondary, Abbotsford, British Columbia - Grade 13 - Senior Matriculation 1965

Higher Education

  • Bachelor of Physical Education, U.B.C. 1968
  • Bachelor of Laws, U.B.C. 1971
  • Articled Clerk to the late D.B. MacKinnon, of the firm of Harper, Grey Easton, Vancouver, B.C. (subsequently Mr. Justice MacKinnon of the British Columbia Supreme Court.) May 1971-1972
  • Called to the British Columbia Bar, May 1972

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Employment History

  • Harper, Grey, Easton, Barristers & Solicitors, Vancouver, B.C. 1971-1973 – Articled
  • Student (1971-72), Junior Counsel to Harvey J. Grey Q.C. (1972-73)
  • Siemens & Company, Barristers & Solicitors, Abbotsford, B.C. 1973-February 28, 1975
  • John W. Conroy, Barrister & Solicitor, Mission, B.C. 1975-1984
  • On retainer to Abbotsford Community Legal Service, 1975-1980 as Director and Staff Lawyer
  • On retainer as Director of Prison Legal Services of the Legal Services Society of B.C., 1980-1990
  • Associate Counsel to Robertson, Downe & Mullally, Barristers & Solicitors, 1981-1984
  • Robertson, Conroy, Downe & Mullally, Barristers & Solicitors, Abbotsford, B.C. 1984-1988
  • Conroy & Company, Barristers & Solicitors, Abbotsford and Mission, B.C. 1988-May, 1992
  • Conroy, Jones, McCloy, Barristers & Solicitors, Abbotsford, B.C. May, 1992-June, 1993
  • Conroy, Hammond & Company, Barristers & Solicitors, Abbotsford, B.C. June, 1993 – November, 1996
  • Conroy & Company, Barristers & Solicitors, Abbotsford, B.C., November 1996 – present

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Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of British Columbia, 1972-present
  • Canadian Bar Association, 1972-present
  • Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch), 1972-present
  • Vancouver Bar Association, 1972-present
  • New Westminster Bar Association
  • Fraser Valley Bar Association
  • Abbotsford & District Bar Association
  • The Lawyers Inn - 1972-present
  • The Canadian Criminal Justice Association
  • The British Columbia Corrections Association
  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
  • The Canadian Prison Lawyers Association
  • Amnesty International
  • The Canadian Bar Association National Criminal Justice Section
  • The Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch) Criminal Justice Sections for Abbotsford, Vancouver and New Westminster
  • Penal Reform International
  • The International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law
  • Lawyers Rights Watch Canada
  • NORML - USA - Legal Commitee
  • NORML Canada

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Positions Held (past & present)

  • Fort Camp Mens Association, Treasurer 1967
  • Resident Fellow, Fort Camp Student Residence, 1968
  • Director, Abbotsford Community Legal Services 1975-1980
  • Director, British Columbia Prison Legal Services 1980-1990
  • Chairman, Committee on Corrections & Institutions, C.B.A. (B.C.) 1978-1979
  • Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch) Committee on Bill 18 - The Heroin Treatment Act, 1978
  • Member, C.B.A. National Task Force on Imprisonment & Release, 1985
  • Chairman, C.B.A. National, Special Committee on Imprisonment & Release 1986-1988
  • Director, Big Brothers (Central Fraser Valley) 1985-1989
  • Director, Legal Research Association, 1979-1982
  • Chairman, C.B.A. National, Standing Committee of the National Criminal Justice Section on Imprisonment & Release, 1989-present
  • Representative for the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law in the Southern Eastern Central African Human Rights Network, 1992-present
  • President, NORML Canada, 1977
  • Member of the Advisory Committee, NORML Canada, 1977
  • Chairman, Abbotsford Community Sentencing Project, 1997
  • Member, Advisory Committee to Community Justice Initiatives Abbotsford Community Justice Proposal
  • Member, Advisory Committee to the International Centre on Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy on Sentencing and Corrections Renewal
  • Program Chair for Day One on Sentencing, Imprisonment and Release at the Society for the Reform of Criminal Law Annual Meeting and International Conference to be held at Whistler, B.C., August, 1996

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Reported Cases or Notable Trials or Appeals

1. Re Weller and Deputy Minister of National Revenue Customs and Excise, (1974), 15 C.C.C. (2d) 187 (B.C.Co.Ct.) (Appeals from decisions of the Minister under the Customs Tariff are to a Judge of the County Court sitting as Persona Designata.)

2. Regina v. Krenn, Smoker and Brooks (1976), 27 C.C.C. (2d) 168 (B.C.S.C.) (The Canadian Bill of Rights and s. 143 of the Criminal Code.)

3. Martineau & Butters v. Matsqui Institution Inmate Disciplinary Board, [1978] 1 S.C.R. 118, 14 N.R. 285, 33 C.C.C. (2d) 366, 74 D.L.R. (3d) 1 (S.C.C.) (The meaning and scope of s. 28 of the Federal Court Act and its relationship to s. 18 of that act in the context of Federal Prison Disciplinary proceedings.)

4. Regina v. Bruce, Wilson and Lucas (1977), 36 C.C.C. (2d) 158 (B.C.S.C.) (The B.C. Penitentiary Stienhauser Hostage Taking.)

5. Regina v. Newmann et al (a.k.a. McWhinney #1 & #2) (3 and 17 December 1979) (B.C.S.C.) (B.C. Pen murder in gymnasium.)

6. Gunn v. Yeomans et al (1980), 48 C.C.C. (2d) 544 (F.C.T.D.) (Interlocutory injunction to restrain body searches of prisoner without reasonable grounds.)

7. Culhane v. A.G.B.C. and Harrison (1980), 51 C.C.C. (2d) 213 (B.C.C.A.) (Review of Wardens cancellation of citizens visits to prisons.)

8. Re Bruce et al & Reynett et al (1980), 48 C.C.C. 313, (1979), 4 W.W.R. 408, (F.C.T.D.) (The ambit and scope of Quo Warranto, the jurisdiction of prison wardens to deny prisoners applications to get married, the applicability of the duty to act fairly in relation to transfers of prisoners.)

9. Re Bruce et al. & Yeomans et al (1980), 49 C.C.C. (2d) 346, (1979), 10 C.R. (3d) 166, (F.C.T.D.) (The transfer of prisoners and the duty to act fairly.)

10. Martineau v. Matsqui Institution Inmate Disciplinary Board (No. 2), [1980] 1 S.C.R. 602, 30 N.R. 119, 106 D.L.R. (3d) 385, 50 C.C.C. (2d) 353 (S.C.C.) (The meaning of s. 18 of the Federal Court Act, the ambit and scope of certiorari, the duty to act fairly, and judicial review of prison disciplinary matters in Canada.)

11. Gunn v. Yeomans et al (No. 2) (1981), 55 C.C.C. (2d) 452 (F.C.T.D.) (Prison Standing Orders requiring searches without reasonable grounds unlawful as inconsistent with Regulations.)

12. Re Dunlop and The Queen (1981), 60 C.C.C. (2d) 380 (B.C.C.A.) (Habeas Corpus and sentence calculation - hearsay evidence that prisoner unlawfully at large admissible and time spent while so at large not counting against sentence notwithstanding absence of conviction.)

13. In Re McCann & The Queen (1982), 67 C.C.C (2d) 180 (B.C.C.A) (The duty to act fairly - procedural fairness - applies to the B.C. Order-in-Council Patients Review Board and the B.C. Lieutenant-Governor in Council.)

14. Regina v. Mingo et al (1983), 2 C.C.C. (3d) 23 (B.C.S.C) (The Kent Prison Riot, Res Judicata issues between Criminal Code proceedings and Prison disciplinary proceedings, Abuse of process, Double Jeopardy s. 11(h) of The Charter.)

15. Truscott v. Director of Mountain Institution et al (1983), 4 C.C.C (3d) 199 3 C.R. (3d) 121 (B.C.C.A.) (National Parole Board "gating" practice declared unlawful.)

16. Re Martens & The Queen (1983), 8 C.C.C (3d) 336 (B.C.S.C.) (The applicability of s. 7 of The Charter of Rights to N.P.B. revocation hearings.)

17. In re Hardy et al & The Minister of Education & the Board of School Trustees for School District No. 75 (Mission) (B.C.S.C.), 1985, Vancouver, No. A852212 (The duty to act fairly - procedural fairness - applies to the Minister of Education and school boards in relation to decisions to close schools.)

18. Regina v. Calvin (1985), 14 C.C.C. (3d) 510 (B.C.C.A) (The meaning of "confinement" in s. 247(2) of the Criminal Code, "hugging" is not included.)

19. In Re Cardinal & Oswald (1986), 23 C.C.C. (3d) 118, 1 W.W.R. 577, (S.C.C.) (The ambit of Habeas Corpus with or without Certiorari in aid in relation to solitary confinement in Canada.) This case established that one can use Habeas Corpus to determine the legality of one's detention in solitary confinement. It enables a court to order ones return to general population of the prison whose detention is not lawful. Counsel in B.C.S.C. and B.C.C.A. only.

20. Regina v. Taylor, Hansen, Stewart, Hannah & Belmas (B.C.S.C.) (The Squamish Five). Counsel to Julie Belmas at Trial and in subsequent B.C. Board of Parole and National Parole Board matters. See also sentence appeal (1986), 27 C.C.C. (3d) 142 (B.C.C.A.)

21. Landry v. Legal Services Society (1987), 28 C.C.C. (3d) 138 (B.C.C.A) (The Court of Appeal ruled that the Legal Services Society of British Columbia was not required to provide legal aid to loss of good time be placed in solitary confinement. The court held, on interpreting the Legal Services Society Act, that these proceedings were neither "criminal" nor "civil" but purely administrative and therefore not covered under the mandatory provision of service requirements.) See winters below where the issue was re-litigated ten years later and the proceedings characterized this "civil".

22. Regina v. Brooks (1987), 28 C.C.C. (3d) 441 (B.C.C.A) (Admissibility of confession and procedure when statement becomes relevant during the defence.)

23. Frankum & The Queen (1987), 29 C.C.C (3d) 477 (B.C.C.A) (Sentence calculation in relation to s. 137 of the Criminal Code - escapes.)

24. In Re: Cockriell, March, 1990, New Westminster, B.C.- First application pursuant to s. 745 of the Criminal Code (15 Year Judicial Review) in British Columbia reviewing a first degree murder conviction subject to a 25 year parole ineligibility period. On January 6, 1994, Mr. Cockriell's second application was accepted and he was declared immediately eligible on that date.

25. In Re: Boyko, May, 1990, Vancouver, B.C. - Second application pursuant to s. 745 of the Criminal Code (15 Year Judicial Review) in British Columbia. This review was in relation to a conviction for second degree murder which resulted in a life sentence with a 20 year minimum parole ineligibility.

26. Regina v. Atwal et al (1990), 57 C.C.C. (3d) 143 (B.C.C.A.) Principles of sentencing on a terrorist sentence appeal involving an accused convicted of attempted murder of an Indian cabinet minister visiting Canada.

27. Horii v. Correctional Service of Canada et al, (5 September 1991), No. A-841-91 (F.C.A.). Interlocutory injunction obtained pending trial restraining transfer of only female prisoner at male institution. This is a Court Challenges Program funded test case in relation to equality rights for women prisoners under section 15 of the Charter.

28. Cruikshanks v. David Stephen, Parole Officer, Correctional Service of Canada, National Parole Board and Arthur Trono, Warden, William Head Institution (17 July 1992), No. VI01627, Victoria Registry, , (B.C.C.A.). (Conditions of mandatory supervision to furnish urinalysis samples constitutes a breach of s. 8 of The Charter.)

29. Zimmerman et al. v. Greater Victoria Water District, (26 January 1994) , No. 93 2913, Victoria Registry, (B.C.S.C.). Established on a Rule 34 application that the Greater Victoria Water District did not have the authority to carry on commercial logging on its lands, something it had been doing for the last 45 years. Western Canada Wilderness Committee (Victoria Branch) and Sierra Club of Western Canada were also involved as plaintiffs along with other concerned citizens. Greg McDade of Sierra Club of Western Canada was co-counsel. (Note: as a result of these proceedings ultimately this entire area was declared a park by the Government of the Province of British Columbia)

30. Regina v. Cochrane, (10 February 1994), No. CA015972, Vancouver Registry, (B.C.C.A.). A sentence for a fixed term of years cannot be imposed consecutively to a life sentence and any provision in the Criminal Code (such as section 85(2) requiring a consecutive sentence for the use of a firearm in the commission of an offence) which requires a consecutive sentence must be read so that it does not apply to produce a consecutive sentence to a life sentence. Parliament must be taken to have known the law and not to have required a logical impossibility.

31. Mooring v. National Parole Board (1995), 93 C.C.C. (3d) 415. Established that the National Parole Board is a "court of competent jurisdiction" pursuant to s.24(1) and (2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms so that it has the jurisdiction to determine the admissibility and exclusion of evidence before it. This case has since been appealed and argued in the Supreme Court of Canada.

32. In Re: Hebig (3 February 1995), No. CC930887, Vancouver Registry (B.C.S.C.) - application pursuant to s.745 of the Criminal Code (15 Year Judicial Review). This review was in relation to a conviction for first degree murder which resulted in him being declared immediately eligible for parole. He had served 16 years on his sentence by this time.

33. In Re: Long (28 April 1995), No. CC940195, Vancouver Registry (B.C.S.C.) - application pursuant to s.745 of the Criminal Code (15 Year Judicial Review). This review was in relation to a conviction for capital murder which resulted in him being declared immediately eligible for parole. He had served 20 years on his sentence by this time.

34. In Re: Andres (22 September 1995) No. CC920333, Vancouver Registry (B.C.S.C.) – application pursuant to s.745 of the Criminal Code (15 Year Judicial Review). This review was in relation to a conviction of first degree murder which resulted in him being declared eligible for parole on September 21st, 1996, or one year from the verdict at a time when he would have 18 years and 10 months in.

35.Winters v. Legal Services Society (4 May 1995), No. A940574, Vancouver Registry (BCSC); (8 May 1997), No. CA020404, Vancouver Registry (BCCA) -Supreme Court of Canada Decision states that the Legal Services Society of the Province British Columbia is required to provide "legal services" to federal prisoners facing serious disciplinary charges for which, upon conviction, they could be sent to solitary confinement.

36. R. v. Caine (20 April 1998), No. 65381, Vancouver Registry (Prov. Ct. B.C.) - appeal to the British Columbia Supreme Court filed May 20th, 1998. This is a constitutional challenge to the inclusion of cannabis in the Narcotic Control Act and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act insofar as it relates to personal possession and use. It is asserted that this is a violation of a person’s constitutional right to liberty and to the security of one’s person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with principles of fundamental justice. It is an attempt to establish the John Stuart Mill harm principle as a principle of fundamental justice in Canada.

Royal Commissions and other inquires

  • The Royal Commission on the Female Offender, 1978 (Member Ad Hoc Committee of the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch) Intervenor - Counsel).
  • The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Escape from Oakalla, 1988. (Counsel to all the prisoners except the escapees.)
  • The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Alleged Improper Treatment of Robert and Francine Fullerton by Members of the Matsqui Police Department, 1989. (Counsel to the Fullertons.)

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Books, Articles, Papers, Presentations and Awards


  • Canadian Prison Law, Butterworths, 1980 3 Vols. Loose-leaf. Updated semi-annually – discontinued in 1993. (under revision)

Articles and Papers

  • A Guide to Wills, First Edition, 1978, Revised Edition 1979.
  • Eye witness testimony and identification evidence, C.L.E. Criminal Evidence Course, November, 1988.
  • Introduction, Overview and Summary of Recommendations of the C.B.A.
    Special Committee on Imprisonment and Release, August, 1988.
    "Locking up Natives" by Professor Michael Jackson.
    "Justice Behind the Walls" by Professor Michael Jackson.
    "Parole and Early Release" by the Committee.
    "Electronic Monitoring" by John W. Conroy.
    "Vaillancourt v. The Queen" by Alan Manson.
  • C.B.A. Standing Committee on Imprisonment and Release, January, 1991 - Response to Government Green Paper on Directions for Reform.
  • Canadian Bar Association Submission on Bill C-36, March, 1992.
  • Criminal Procedure Practice Material on Sentencing, Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, April, 1992 – present.
  • Canadian Bar Association Committee on Imprisonment and Release Submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General in relation to Bills C-45 (Amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act), C-41 (Sentencing Amendments to the Criminal Code), C-7 (Controlled Substances Act)
  • Marijuana as Medicine and the law circa 2001 - A version of this article was published in the Vancouver Sun on February 28 2001, on page A15 (INSIGHT) under the title Still Illegal After All These Years.


Mr. Conroy has appeared and been quoted on numerous occasions in print, radio and television media, particularly on issues relating to sentencing, imprisonment and release and drug law reform. What follows is a reference to some of the presentations that he has made.

  • Speaker, Correctional Service of Canada, "Treatment of Offenders and Correctional Policies", June, 1977
  • Speaker on Prisoner's Rights, Vancouver People's Law School, June, 1977
  • Speaker on Prisoners' Rights, National Parole Service, October, 1977
  • Speaker, "Public's Public Inquiry" of the Heroin Treatment Act (Bill 18), June 24, 1978 – "The History of Opiates in British Columbia and the Legal Ramifications of Bill 18"
  • Speaker, International Conference on the Incarcerated Offender - Remedies not Problems, March 27-30, 1979, "Prisoners Rights and the Attitude of the Canadian Corrections Community"
  • Speaker, Administrative Law Conference, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, October 18 & 19, 1979, Comment on "The Federal Court"
  • Speaker, Conference on Discretion in the Correctional System sponsored by the Alberta
  • Criminology and Corrections Association, June 18 & 19, 1981, Red Deer College,Red Deer, Alberta, "The History and Philosophy of Post Sentence Discretion".
  • Speaker, The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, March, 1982 Sentencing and Post Conviction Representation, October, 1986 - Instructor
  • Speaker, Conference on the Reform of Sentencing, Parole and Early Release, August 1-4,
  • 1988, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Criminal Evidence Course, November, 1988 - Instructor
  • Moderator, National Parole Service Community Education Day, March 6, 1991
  • Panelist, Simon Fraser University, "The Future of Sentencing in Canada: A Panel
  • Discussion", March 19, 1991, Vancouver B.C.
  • Speaker, International Conference on the Future of Corrections, Ottawa, Ontario, June, 1991
  • Panelist, Yukon Law Foundation and Correctional Services Seminars with staff and prisoners and the public, April, 1992
  • Speaker, "Networking in '92 Conference" sponsored by the Correctional Service of Canada, May 5, 1992
  • Delegate to the Second International Conference on the Future of Corrections at Popowo, Poland, October, 1993
  • Representative for the Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, Southern, Eastern, Central African Network (SECAN) for Human Rights, Gaborone, Botswana, 1990
  • Representative for the Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, Southern, Eastern, Central African Network (SECAN) for Human Rights, Windhoek, Namibia, 1991
  • Representative for the Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, Southern, Eastern, Central African Network (SECAN) for Human Rights, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, 1993


  • Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation for significant contributions to Canada, community and fellow Canadians
  • Appointed Queen’s Counsel, January, 1996


  • Nyasaland Junior Swimming Champion 1961 - Awarded Sir Robert Armitage Cup
  • The Royal Life Saving Society Intermediate Certificate - December, 1961
  • The Royal Life Saving Society Award of Merit - September, 1964
  • The Canadian Red Cross Society, Leader - July, 1965
  • U.B.C. Thunderbird Swim Team Member - 1965-69
  • Scuba Diving Certifications - A.C.U.C., P.A.D.I., N.A.U.I., and Royal Life Saving Society of
  • Canada, Scuba Life Saving Certification, October, 1988.

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