Donald’s primary area of practise is the representation of individuals and companies charged with a full range of criminal and regulatory offences, both federal and provincial.
He regularly represents individuals charged with the most serious offences in the Criminal Code, including life imprisonment homicide offences. For the past decade, Donald has served as a Board of Inquiry under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, and he is currently an Adjudicator under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Donald’s legal career began more than 25 years ago when he spent a summer serving the criminal and family law needs of clients at the Dalhousie Legal Aid Clinic. Since that time, he has spent much of his professional career in the courts, appearing regularly throughout Nova Scotia in Provincial and Supreme Courts as well as the Federal Court, and several appellate appearances in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Donald grew up in Montreal, Quebec, before attending Mount Allison University (B.A. Hons, 1977), working in the mining industry in the Yukon, and then attending law school at Dalhousie University (LLB., 1984).
Donald has engaged in international justice reform work through the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian International Development Agency in the Eastern Caribbean States and Bangladesh. He chaired the 1996 Provincial Task Force on Legal Aid Services. He has spoken at a number of continuing legal education sessions in relation to technology, criminal law evidence, and lawyer assistance programs. He also published articles on these topics, including in the Criminal Law Quarterly. Donald has taught evidence and professional responsibility at Dalhousie Law School.
Donald has been a member of the Canadian Bar Association since law school, and has served on a variety of its local and national bodies. He has been a Council Member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, and participated in the Society’s work through a number of task forces and standing committees. Donald is a continuing member of the Professional Responsibility Hearing Committee.
When not otherwise engaged in the practise of law, Donald has kept involved with amateur sport – as a board member and volunteer with Skate Nova Scotia, as an official with Skate Nova Scotia and with amateur football; and as a competitive adult figure skater participating in provincial, national, and international competitions.
A lot of my work involves mediating the pain that almost inevitably afflicts people who are caught up in a legal proceeding. Whether a person has been accused of criminal behaviour that threatens her liberty, or needs to make a claim for harm, that person wants to be able to exercise some control over the process. That is the benefit I seek to provide to my client and to others engaged in the process.