Nathan Gorham2020-05-16T11:41:18+00:00

Nathan Gorham, Criminal Trial and Appeal Lawyer

Nathan Gorham is a criminal trial and appeal lawyer, who has more than 15 years experience as a partner at Canada’s largest criminal defence firm. Since creating his own firm and opening offices in Toronto, Ontario and Saint John, New Brunswick, he frequently defends complex cases in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. He holds a Master of Laws from the University of Toronto, where he continues his research as a doctoral candidate. He also teaches criminal law and homicide courses at the University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Law. His writing has been published in academic journals, professional periodicals, and national newspapers, as well as a text book on drug offences.

Early life

Nathan grew up in several small New Brunswick towns: Centerville, Doaktown, and Riverview. In 1995, he attended Saint Francis Xavier University, where he studied political science. As a wide-receiver with the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men football team, Nathan was named Academic All-Canadian, a national award granted for academic excellence while playing a varsity sport. He was later inducted in the St. F.X. Sports Hall of Fame as a member of the 1996 X-Men Football team.

Legal Studies

After completing his undergraduate studies, Nathan attended law school at Queen’s University. As a member the Queen’s Golden Gaels football team, he was once again named Academic All-Canadian. In addition to that award, he achieved a variety of other academic awards, including the highest ranking in his graduating class for criminal law related courses. During his law studies, four of his papers were published in academic journals. In 2015, Nathan obtained his Master of Laws from the University of Toronto, where he also commenced his doctoral studies that same year. His masters and doctoral research focuses on miscarriages of justice in the bail system.

Career

Nathan began his practice with Pinkofskys Criminal Trial and Appeal Lawyers, which was the largest criminal law firm in Canada at the time. A year later, he was made a partner. From very early in his practice, he focused on serious and complex criminal litigation. For example, during his first year of practice, he defended 10 jury trials and won his first homicide trial. In 2010, Nathan helped re-constitute the firm under a new name: Rusonik, O’Connor, Robins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini LLP. It remained the largest criminal law firm in Canada. In 2019, Nathan formed his own firm, Gorham Vandebeek, Trial and Appeal Lawyers. He regularly defends criminal cases throughout the Greater Toronto Area, as well as various cities in New Brunswick (Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, Edmundston) and other parts of Atlantic Canada.

Teaching, Writing, Volunteering

In 2018, Nathan joined the University of New Brunswick, Faculty of Law as a Part-time Professor. He teaches (or has taught) Legal Ethics, Wrongful Convictions, Prosecution and Defence of Homicide, and Criminal Law.

Nathan’s writing has been published in various academic and professional journals. He also co-authored a book, Prosecuting and Defending Drug Offences (2019, Emond). His writing has been featured in the Globe & Mail, The National Post, and the Toronto Star.

From 2015 to 2019, Nathan volunteered as the Head Coach of the University of New Brunswick, Saint John Seawolves Football Team. He also coached the UNB Gael moot team in 2020. He also coached youth baseball in Rothesay, New Brunswick.

(416) 410-4814 (Toronto)   |   (506) 644-8714 (NB)   |   gorham@gvlaw.ca

Recent successes

Toronto and Saint John Criminal Lawyer, Nathan Gorham, speaking with the news media on behalf of a client was acquitted of a homicide offence.

Nathan frequently succeeds in defending most difficult and complex criminal cases. He takes a particular interest in defending cases involving dishonest or corrupt prosecution witness or cases involving vulnerable or disadvantaged clients. Below are some of his recent successes in cases involving allegations of murder, firearms, drug trafficking, sexual assault, and serious driving offences. Visit the links below to read more about his recent successes, bearing in mind that every case depends on its own facts, and past success does not necessarily predict future success. To obtain a legal opinion, contact Nathan at (416) 410-4814 (Toronto), (506) 644-8714 (NB), or gorham@gvlaw.ca.

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.

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.

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.

(416) 410-4814 (Toronto)  |  (506) 644-8714 (NB)   |   gorham@gvlaw.ca

In the media

Toronto and Saint John Criminal Lawyer, Nathan Gorham, often 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 regularly defends high-profile, complex murder trials and appeals. In a recent notable case where he successfully sought the exclusion of a forensic pathologist evidence, the National Post reported that his cross-examination was “devastating”.

Toronto Criminal Lawyer, Nathan Gorham, speaks with the news media outside of the courthouse in Toronto, Ontario

Television Analysis

Newsprint commentary

Teaching and Scholarship

Mr. Gorham is a member of the University of Brunswick, Faculty of Law. He teaches Criminal Law, Legal Ethics, and Homicide and coaches the Gale Moot Team.

Mr. Gorham is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. His research examines miscarriages of justice in the bail system.

During his studies at Queen’s University, Mr. Gorham’s writing was regularly published in academic journals and he won variety of academic awards, including highest overall standing for overall performance in criminal law related courses.