By Gerald V. Paul
A son of the soil from Jamaica, known to refine the art of delivering an address to the jury at trial, is a newly minted Ontario Justice.
Donald McLeod was appointed earlier this week, and was named among two new judges who will take up their posts effective October 3.
McLeod’s courage saw him at some of the major cases in this province, be it terrorism, or ethnicity and racism.
As he came out of a meeting for a brief interview with The Camera on Wednesday, Justice McLeod expressed his gratitude to his Mother Elaine and his two sisters. “I have to give thanks to a strong family environment although I was raised in a single parent family.”
In his glory days the dashing defense lawyer, McLeod also enjoyed another “career” as a singer.
He said in both, the secret of success was knowing how to command an audience.
“You have to hold their (jurors) attention, so you better say something to keep their attention.”
Justice McLeod was called to the bar in 1998 and began practicing criminal law at Hinkson, Sachak in Toronto. He was a sole practitioner with DMF Legal and most recently, was senior managing partner of The McLeod Group, Barristers and Solicitors, focusing on criminal law trials an appeals, as well as administrative law.
Justice McLeod is profoundly loved by the youth in the community in the many programmes he founded. He chairs 100 Strong, an initiative to fund a summer school programme for 12-and -13 –year-old African Canadian boys, and co-chairs Stand Up, a mentoring programme for boys in grades 7-8, many of whom are from at-risk neighbourhoods.
His advice for our young people is, “If you put your mind on something to do, do it with all your might and meet them. Seek lofty goals. Perseverance is the key.”