Toronto Criminal Lawyers
We understand that our clients cannot afford to lose. We defend every trial and appeal with a sense of urgency because we know criminal convictions can ruin lives. That is why we regularly succeed in the most difficult cases — cases involving extremely serious charges or dishonest prosecution witnesses.
As university professors, book authors, and experienced litigators, we have the legal expertise to defend any criminal case, ranging from murder, sexual assault, drug offences, firearms offences, assault, driving offences, and theft.
With offices in Toronto, Ontario and Saint John, New Brunswick, our lawyers serve clients throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Contact a lawyer at (416) 410-4814 (Toronto) or (506) 644-8714 (NB) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toronto criminal lawyers, Nathan Gorham and Breana Vandebeek, address the media after the jury finds their client “not guilty” of dangerous driving causing death.
We regularly litigate and win serious and complex criminal cases involving charges of murder, manslaughter, drug trafficking, sexual assault, firearms offences, dangerous driving causing death, assault, and others. Visit the links below to view some recent examples.
A lawyer’s past success does not necessarily mean they will succeed in future cases. Each case depends on its facts. But the best lawyers have the knowledge and experience to succeed in the most difficult cases. As a result a lawyer’s past success reflects his or her experience and perhaps skill.
Mr. Gorham represented a client who was charged with first degree murder in Hamilton, Ontario. The prosecution alleged that he shot the deceased in the head following a dispute outside of a nightclub. It relied on the evidence of witness who was friends with the defendant and claimed that she saw him fire the shot, as well as eye-witness evidence, cellular telephone triangulation evidence, and wiretaps. The defence presented evidence that tended to prove the prosecution’s witness fabricated the allegation to clear up her own legal troubles, the eye-witness was mistaken, and the wiretaps were misinterpreted. The trial judge found this defendant not guilty of first degree murder.
SEXUAL CONVICTION OVERTURNED: Court of Appeal orders new trial following sexual assault conviction (Feb 2020)
Mr. Gorham represented this client on an appeal against a sexual assault conviction. The defendant was convicted of sexual assault based on an allegation that he did not obtain the complainant’s consent to sexual activity. During the date, the parties cuddled, massaged each other, watched a movie, and went to bed together, partially clothed. The trial judge found that the defendant believed the complainant was consenting, but that he did not take reasonable steps to ascertain her consent. On appeal, Mr. Gorham argued that the trial judge erred by conflating the issues of “consent” and “mistaken belief in consent”. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial on the charge of sexual assault.
SEXUAL ASSAULT: Bail pending appeal granted for two clients convicted of sexual assault (March 2020)
This client was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to nine years in prison. He maintained his factual innocence and retained our firm to represent him on appeal against conviction. Ms. Vandebeek acted for him on the bail pending appeal. He was released on bail by the Ontario Court of Appeal.
Mr. Gorham and Ms. Vandebeek represented a client charged with multiple counts of first degree murder. This client suffered from mental disorder. This illness caused delusions. Based on psychiatric evidence from multiple doctors, the jury found this defendant unfit to stand trial.
Mr. Gorham and Ms. Vandebeek applied for bail for a client who is charged with first degree murder. The prosecution alleged that invaded the victim’s home and then stabbed her in the heart. Based on a strong plan of proposed supervision, the bail justice granted the defendant bail on the charge of first degree murder.
Mr. Gorham represented a woman who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He argued that the guilty pleas, entered with another lawyer, were not informed or voluntary. The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed and ordered a new trial.
Mr. Gorham and Ms. Vandebeek represented a man who was charged with homicide in an allegation of dangerous driving causing death. The prosecution alleged that the defendant intentionally drove dangerously causing the victim to lose control of her car and crash into the ditch. This was a tragic accident. But the defendant testified that he was not chasing the victim nor driving in a dangerous manner. The jury found him “not guilty” of dangerous driving causing death.
Mr. Gorham represented a client charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine. In this case, the police executed a search warrant on his client’s car and discovered two ounces of crack cocaine as well a heroin in spray can with a false bottom. Mr. Gorham presented at trial that another person was driving the car regularly. The trial judge found it to be a plausible theory that the other person left the cocaine concealed in the car. For that reason he found the defendant not guilty of possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking.
In February 2018, Mr. Gorham and Ms. Vandebeek defended a client before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice who was charged with second degree murder. This client maintained his innocence and explained that he was acting in self-defence. At the beginning of March 2018, the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” of second degree murder.
Mr. Gorham represented a client who had been convicted of sexually assault and sentence to a year in custody. On appeal, he argued that the trial judge misapprehended the evidence and applied an uneven level of scrutiny to the accused’s evidence at trial compared with the complainant’s evidence. In January 2019, the Summary Conviction Appeal Judge, in Brampton, Ontario, overturned the conviction for sexual assault and ordered a new trial. * In April 2019, the prosecution stayed the charges against the accused.
Mr. Gorham represented a client charged with sexual assault in the Ontario Court of Justice. The prosecution alleged that the accused sexually assaulted the complainant on three different occasions, groping her on the first two and forcing sexual intercourse on the final occasion. The accused testified that he never touched the complainant inappropriately and, in fact, she initiated unwanted sexual activity with him. In December 2018, Mr. Gorham’s client was found not guilty of sexual assault by a Toronto area judge.
FENTANYL: Trafficking conviction for fentanyl Overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal (December 2018)
Ms. Vandebeek represented a client who had been convicted of fentanyl trafficking related offences upon which the trial judge imposed a five year sentence of imprisonment. On appeal, Ms. Vandebeek argued for a new trial on the fentanyl convictions because the trial judge erred in convicting the accused. In December 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial.
Mr. Gorham represented a client who had been convicted of trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine, and hashish and had been sentenced to six years imprisonment. On appeal, he argued that the trial judge erred by permitting the prosecution to introduce unreliable evidence relating to the police investigation. In November 2018, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal and ordered a new trial on the charges of trafficking cocaine, methamphetamine, and hashish.
Mr. Gorham represented a client charged with a home invasion robbery where the victim was beaten in the face with a bat. The defence cross-examined the prosecution’s main witness to expose his motive to fabricate the defendant’s involvement as well as significant flaws in the witness’s evidence. The defendant testified that he was not involved in the robbery. In October 2018, the trial judge found Mr. Gorham’s client not guilty of robbery and wearing a mask while committing the indictable offence of robbery.
Mr. Gorham and Ms. Vandebeek represented a client who had been convicted of second degree murder for his involvement in a shooting during a botched drug robbery. On appeal, they argued that the trial judge improperly admitted expert evidence and provided the jury with flawed instructions relating to the identity of the murderer. In September 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted the appeal and ordered a new trial for murder. * Two months later, the accused was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. *He received a time-served sentence and walked out of the custody box.
Professors and Writers
Nathan Gorham and Breana Vandebeek teach Criminal Law at the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law. Mr. Gorham also teaches Legal Ethics as well as the Prosecution and Defence of Homicide. Ms. Vandebeek and Mr. Gorham are also frequent speakers at professional law conferences. And Mr. Gorham has also presented his academic legal research at national and international conferences.
Toronto criminal trial and appeal lawyers, Nathan Gorham and Breana Vandebeek, co-authored the forthcoming book Prosecuting and Defending Drug Offence Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook, Emond Publishing (2019). Additionally, Mr. Gorham’s research has been published various articles in peer-reviewed journals and national newspapers. In those publications, Mr. Gorham examined principles relating to the following legal issues: Defence cross-examination in sexual assault trials; Exclusion of Evidence in Drug Prosecutions; Investigation detention in drug prosecutions; Legislative changes for firearm (gun) offences; Police dishonesty in drug prosecutions.
Toronto Criminal Lawyer, Nathan Gorham, speaks with the news media outside of the courthouse in Toronto, Ontario
Toronto criminal lawyer, Nathan Gorham, provides expert commentary on television and in national newspapers. He has addressed issues relating to major murder prosecutions, police corruption in drug prosecutions, the defence of sexual assault cases, as well as firearms legislation.
Mr. Gorham also speaks regularly at professional and academic conferences regarding criminal trial and appeal issues. Recently, he has lectured on the following areas of criminal law: the professional responsibility of defence lawyers in sexual assault trials; the detention of innocent people in the bail system; as well as the constitutional disclosure principles in major drug and firearms prosecutions.
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*Past results reflect a lawyer’s experience but do not necessarily predict future success because trials and appeals are decided on the specific facts of the case.