Renfrew County CA named to Ontario Court of Justice

·4 min read

Pembroke -- Former Renfrew County Crown Attorney Jeffery Richardson recently moved from his first floor office at the Pembroke Court House to the second floor and will begin presiding over cases in the Ontario Court of Justice starting Thursday (May 27). He was appointed to the bench on May 14.

Justice Richardson, who has been the county’s Crown Attorney since January 2015, either prosecuted or oversaw several high profile cases during his six years as the county’s top prosecutor.

In fact, during his first year as Crown Attorney, his office, and all of Renfrew County suddenly found themselves under the national media spotlight when former Round Lake resident Basil Borutski went on a bloody rampage through Renfrew County.

On September 22, 2015, Mr. Borutski strangled Carol Culleton at her cottage outside of Combermere and armed with a shotgun, he went on to shoot and kill both Anastasia Kuzyk of Wilno and Nathalie Warmerdam of Cormac.

Although Mr. Borutski, Ms. Kuzyk and Ms. Warmerdam were all Renfrew County residents, the trial was moved to Ottawa over Justice Richardson’s objections. During pre-trial hearings, he unsuccessfully argued for the case to be heard in Renfrew County in which he stated it was an insult to the 100,000 residents that a non-prejudicial jury of 12 could not be selected for the upcoming trial.

Along with Lanark County Crown Attorney Julie Scott, they successfully led the prosecution against Mr. Borutski. Justice Richardson, known for his fierce pride in the ability of his former office to handle high profile cases, successfully argued for Borutski’s Sentencing Hearing to be held in Pembroke to allow for Victim Impact Statements to be heard before a packed courtroom. Mr. Borutski received a 70-year sentence for the murders.

Other high profile cases that were heard while he was Crown Attorney include the first degree murder trial of Bryan Goddard who burst into the Petawawa home of Dan and Sharlene Pietersma on June 28, 2013, stabbed Mr. Pietersma to death in front of his two grandchildren, then slashed the victim’s wife so badly she was permanently blinded. Mr. Goddard eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years.

Most recently, Justice Richardson brokered the terms of a Peace Bond Agreement in the case of Ann Senack, the former Calabogie bartender who was charged in relation to the fatal October 2017 crash that claimed the lives of two teens and seriously injured two others. The charges related to her allegedly serving the under-aged men 56 alcoholic beverages hours before they got into a car and attempted to drive home before the driver lost control and smashed into a rock face near Burnstown.,

That agreement was reached on May 13, one day before his appointment to the bench.

Following the death of a worker at a construction site on Highway 417 near Arnprior in 2016, an inquest was called and he served as Chief Council to the Ontario Coroner for the inquest. Some of the recommendations led to changes in enforcement in construction zones.

He was called to the bar in 1995 and for the first five years of his legal career he specialized primarily in family and criminal law until 2000. Along with his private practice, he taught civil litigation, wills and estates for the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario at Loyalist College.

From 2000 to 2003, Justice Richardson was counsel with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and later joined the provincial government as an assistant Crown Attorney from 2003 to 2007 in Kingston and later moved to Welland where he served in the same capacity until 2014. Although well known in the Ottawa Valley for his legal work, Justice Richardson has also been actively involved in community service his entire career. He volunteered in various roles on several boards including the Phoenix Centre for Children and Youth (Renfrew County), Youth Resources Niagara, United Way of Quinte and the Hastings County Children’s Aid Society. He was also a member of the Renfrew County Law Association, Ontario Senior Crown Attorneys’ Association and Hastings County Law Association.

His appointment also marks the first time in almost 20 years that an appointment to the bench within Renfrew County was made from the Crown Attorney’s Office. Former lawyers and now Justices Grant Radley-Walters (2002-2016) Robert Selkirk (2004-present), Michael March (2016-present) and Mary Fraser (2019-present), were all in private practice before their judicial appointments.

Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader

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