A Crown prosecutor cited in 2010 for his work on the Alexa Middelaer case added another honour to his belt last month – a Queen’s counsel appointment.
Winston Sayson was among 28 B.C. lawyers to receive the designation, announced Dec. 22 by Attorney General Shirley Bond.
The appointment recognizes exceptional merit and contribution. According to a statement, successful candidates demonstrate professional integrity and good character and must be members of the B.C. bar for at least five years.
Sayson, a Crown counsel for 22 years, routinely prosecutes high-profile criminal cases in B.C.’s provincial and supreme courts, including many linked to the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
Those cases include that of Sam Van Ieperen, the South Surrey teacher found not guilty in 2009 of possessing child pornography; the impaired-driving case against Delta woman Carol Berner, who is currently on bail awaiting a ruling on her appeal of convictions related to the 2008 death of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer; and the case against former border guard Daniel Greenhalgh, who was sentenced last March to two years less a day in jail for illegally strip-searching women at the Douglas (Peace Arch) border.
In announcing the Queen’s counsel appointments, Sayson’s efforts to mentor new prosecutors and criminology students were also noted, as was his 2010 Criminal Justice System Leadership Award.
That distinction was bestowed by Police Victim Services of B.C., in recognition of Sayson’s compassionate work with victims and witnesses.
Queen’s counsel nominations are taken annually from the public each September. They are made by cabinet through an order-in-council, following a review by an advisory committee that includes the chief justice of B.C., the chief justice of the Supreme Court of B.C., the chief judge of the Provincial Court, the president of the Law Society of B.C., a law society member appointed by the directors and the deputy attorney general. The Canadian Bar Association is also consulted.