Home Legal News Five new judges appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice

Five new judges appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice

by Government of Ontario

The Ontario government is pleased to announce the appointment of five judges to the Ontario Court of Justice, effective July 13, 2023.

Justice Cindy Afonso was called to the bar in Ontario in 2005, in British Columbia in 2007 and in Nunavut in 2011. Since 2005, she has worked for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) (formerly the Department of Justice), primarily in Peel Region. In 2007, Justice Afonso began a year-long secondment as a federal prosecutor in British Columbia. During her time with the PPSC, Justice Afonso prosecuted numerous complex Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act cases in both the Ontario and Superior Courts of Justice. She has also had carriage of appeals before the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 2021, she was promoted to senior Crown counsel with the PPSC.

Justice Afonso has been a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for many years in various capacities, including assisting with framing, painting and construction of affordable housing. Since 2010, she has volunteered with the Alzheimer Society of Peel.

Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas has assigned Justice Afonso to Brampton.

Justice Reginald Alexander Cornelius was called to the bar in 1995. He then joined the Peel Crown Attorney’s Office, where he was assistant Crown attorney for 28 years. Here, Justice Cornelius was a member of the Homicide Prosecution Team and was a designated wiretap agent. In addition to his caseload, he provided continuing education to legal staff on topics including search warrants and cross-examination and provided legal education to police services. Since 2010, he has mentored articling and summer law students.

Justice Cornelius has a particular interest in inclusion, diversity and equity and has conducted several seminars on these topics for the Advocates’ Society and law schools in Ontario. He is a mentor with both the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and the Advocates’ Society.

Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas has assigned Justice Cornelius to Brampton.

Justice Sandra J. Meyrick was called to the bar in 1990. Since 1994, she has run her own practice at Meyrick Law, specializing in family law at all levels of court. She has acted as a panel member for the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee for two decades, representing clients with mental illness in family law matters. She has also served as a dispute resolution officer at the Superior Court of Justice since 2002 and spent 18 years as a panel member at the Office of the Children’s Lawyer representing and advocating for children.

Justice Meyrick acted as a moot court supervisor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and as pro bono duty counsel for the Advocates’ Society. She has also been the vice chair of the Horse Racing Appeal Panel of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission, adjudicating matters of policy, governance and the rules of horse racing.

Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas has assigned Justice Meyrick to Toronto.

Justice Michael Alexander Townsend was called to the bar in 2006. He began his career as an assistant Crown attorney in the Kitchener Crown Attorney’s Office. Since 2011, he has been an assistant Crown attorney at the Crown Attorney’s Office in Toronto West, where he has prosecuted many serious criminal matters, including homicide, large-scale fraud and intimate partner violence cases, at both the Ontario and Superior Courts of Justice. Between 2016 and 2018, he was seconded to the Crown Law Office – Criminal at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, where he focused on criminal law policy related to drug-impaired driving and the legalization of cannabis.

Since 2016, Justice Townsend has been a director of the impaired driving summer school course for Crown attorneys. Justice Townsend has volunteered with the You Can Play Project, an organization that provides 2SLGBTQIA+ athletes with opportunities to compete in their chosen sport. He also volunteers for Start Proud, which facilitates the professional development of 2SLGBTQIA+ students as they transition from school to their careers.

Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas has assigned Justice Townsend to Newmarket.

Justice Jill Witkin was called to the bar in 1994. For the first 15 years of her legal career, Justice Witkin was an assistant Crown attorney in both Hamilton and Toronto. She was the team leader of the Child Abuse Team at Old City Hall, following which she served as deputy Crown at the Toronto Crown Attorney’s Office, where she managed the specialized courts at Old City Hall. In 2013, Justice Witkin spent a year acting as counsel to the Chief Coroner for Ontario on the high-profile inquest into the 2002 death of 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin. She joined the Crown Law Office – Criminal in 2016 and was appointed chair of the Sexual Violence Advisory Group, which works to improve investigations and prosecutions of sexual assault cases across the province.

Justice Witkin was a member of the Board of Holy Blossom Temple, during which time she acted as vice president of social justice programs, overseeing a number of initiatives including interfaith and mental health awareness. For several years, she was chair of the Board of the Regent Park School of Music, now the Community Music Schools of Toronto, which provides subsidized music lessons for children.

Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas has assigned Justice Witkin to Brampton.

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