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Queen's University

Ottawa alumnus honoured by Advocates’ Society

Donald Bayne

Photo by Valberg Imaging

Donald Bayne, Law '69

Distinguished criminal lawyer Donald Bayne, Law ‘69 (Arts ‘66, EMBA ‘01) was celebrated as the 2011 Ottawa Advocate Honoree at a dinner held recently at the National Arts Centre. The Advocates’ Society pays tribute annually to a leading advocate in the region who shows distinction as counsel and as a contributor to the law profession and the well-being of the community.

The honour signifies that the Society has also considered regional barristers’    professionalism, civility, and dedication to the interests of their clients, said Master of Ceremonies Peter Doody, Law ‘80, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. “Don was chosen as this year's honoree because his record of representing those accused of crimes over the past 40 years shows all of those characteristics to a superlative degree,” Doody adds. 

“I regard this as a recognition of the very fine criminal bar of eastern Ontario; I was simply a representative,” says Bayne, who founded Bayne, Sellar, Boxall in Ottawa in 1972. “The honour typically goes to a civil lawyer, so it’s welcome acknowledgement. Nobody’s more active as an advocate than a criminal lawyer.”

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who once articled for Bayne, sent his regards in a letter read out at the event. “Congratulations, Don, on your well-deserved recognition,” McGuinty wrote. “Throughout your career, you have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the legal profession, both as a practitioner and a mentor to those who have had the opportunity to work with you.” 

As a criminal lawyer, Bayne’s career highlights include many high-profile cases, such as representation of RCMP anti-terrorist investigators in the Maher Arar Inquiry. In 2006, Bayne received the prestigious G. Arthur Martin Criminal Justice Award from the Canadian Criminal Lawyers’ Association, joining honorees such as former Supreme Court Justices Louise Arbour and Antonio Lamer. 

Queen’s Law, Bayne says, prepared him well for success. “Many classmates remain friends and colleagues, and no law school in Canada has had as strong a group of criminal law educators,” he notes. Professors such as Don Stuart and Allan Manson had a huge impact on him, he says, and on the practice of criminal law. 

Bayne, a member of Queen’s Football Hall of Fame and currently a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, says, “I’ve always kept my contacts close: I  taught at the law school for a few years; my wife Sheila [Smith, Law ‘69] and I have supported it financially, and I’m still in touch with many campus friends and former professors.”

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