New Brunswick

Province appoints former Allan Légère prosecutor new judge

A veteran Crown prosecutor who rose to prominence during the prosecution of the infamous Miramichi serial killer Allan Légère is New Brunswick's newest provincial court judge.

A veteran Crown prosecutor who rose to prominence during the prosecution of the infamous Miramichi serial killer Allan Légère is New Brunswick's newest provincial court judge.

CBC News has confirmed that the Liberal cabinet tapped John (Jack) Walsh to fill the vacancy created last Friday by Judge Frederick Ferguson's promotion to the Court of Queen's Bench.

Justice Minister T.J. Burke had the judicial selection approved at Thursday's cabinet meeting. Burke called Walsh the "consummate civil servant," working as a Crown prosecutor for 25 years.

"He has been heralded as one of the best in his profession," Burke said.

"He assisted with the development of the [federal] DNA legislation. He is Canada's leading expert on DNA evidence."

When Ferguson was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench it cut the number of judges in Miramichi to one from two. But the other judge, Denis Lordon, will not be sitting beginning in January.

Burke said last week that he would be do what he could to prevent any backlogs from piling up in Miramichi because of the appointment. The justice minister said Miramichi is one of the busiest judicial districts in the province.

Burke said Walsh's extensive experience will make him a quick study as he transitions to the bench.

"There still remains a backlog [in cases]. Appointments like Jack Walsh will be able immediately [to] address the backlog," Burke said.

Walsh is best known in legal circles for his role in the Légère prosecution. He and others on his team used DNA evidence, in what was one of the first trials in Canada to have that type of evidence introduced. Walsh is thought to be among the country's most recognized experts in forensic DNA typing as it applies to criminal law.

When he won the 2003 John Tait Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association, the then-president Simon Potter called Walsh "a leader in his field and a professional of the highest order."

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