Nfld. & Labrador

Trivia question: Which N.L. judge was pals with rockstar Freddie Mercury?

Vikas Khaladkar, just appointed to the province's Supreme Court Trial Division, is not your typical judge

Answer: Vikas Khaladkar, just appointed to the province's Supreme Court

Now a Justice of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Vikas Khaladkar is seen here in provincial court in St. John's earlier in October, when he was still a Crown prosecutor.

Newfoundland and Labrador's newest appointment to the bench is not your typical judge.

Among other things, Vikas Khaladkar counts Queen frontman Farrokh (Freddie) Mercury as a boyhood friend.

The soft spoken, former Crown prosecutor went to boarding school with Mercury in India. Khaladkar was seven at the time.

Khaladkar was named to the Supreme Court Trial Division St. John's on Friday. 

He has prosecuted high profile cases in the province, including the Trevor Pardy first-degree murder trial. Pardy was convicted in 2015 in the shooting death of his former girlfriend Triffie Wadman in St. John's. 

Earlier in October, Khaladkar was the prosecutor in a privacy breach case where former Eastern Health employee Renee King was convicted of accessing medical files at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Clinic in St. John's.

He has handled several other similar cases.

Khaladkar comes to the bench in Newfoundland and Labrador with a unique background for a judge in this province.

He was born in Dar es Salam when it was the British colony of Tanganyika. His family came to Canada in 1962, where his father, who had been a lawyer, worked as a high school teacher in Saskatchewan.

Justice Khaladkar received a bachelor of arts degree, with distinction, from the University of Saskatchewan in 1972. His areas of study were psychology and anthropology. 

He is also well-known among his friends as a very good nature photographer. 

Not long after starting law school, he took a year off to work as an archaeologist on an environmental impact assessment of the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan. 

That's where he met his future wife, Susan, who is from Newfoundland and Labrador. She was working on the same study.

Khaladkar was called to the bar in Saskatchewan in 1977, and practiced law there for 30 years, with a focus on First Nations law.

In 2007, he accepted a one-year contract to work as a Crown prosecutor in this province and has been here since then.

Khaladkar will take his seat on the bench at the Supreme Court Trial Division in St. John's, replacing Justice Richard LeBlanc, who became a supernumerary, or part-time judge, in late September.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Glenn Payette

Videojournalist

A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.

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