Tapestry

The Road Not Taken: Bernardo judge considered priesthood

The judge who presided over the Paul Bernardo trial considers the question, then chooses his words very carefully: did he ever pray during his 29 years on the bench? "In very, very stressful periods - of which I've had few - yes, I would sometimes just go into a church, an empty church and sit, contemplate.

Season 20: Episode 15

Patrick LeSage, the judge who presided over the Paul Bernardo trial, on dignity in the courtroom

The judge who presided over the Paul Bernardo trial considers the question, then chooses his words very carefully: did he ever pray during his 29 years on the bench?

"In very, very stressful periods - of which I've had few - yes, I would sometimes just go into a church, an empty church and sit, contemplate. A little bit of prayer, yes," Patrick LeSage tells Tapestry in an interview.

If a person breaks a law, it doesn't make them a criminal. You may commit a crime, that doesn't make you a criminal in my eyes.Patrick LeSage

But the retired chief justice of the Superior Court of Ontario is emphatic about one thing: never during his long tenure as a judge did he pray about any matter before the court. LeSage says he was careful not the let the principles of his religion interfere with his judgement on the bench. He was "not praying for guidance as much as praying to help me get through difficult periods."

LeSage speaks to Tapestry in a wide-ranging interview touching on the dignity of the accused, the emotional load carried by lawyers and judges, and his belief in the essential goodness of human beings.

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