Jonathan Desbarats

Vancouver Criminal Lawyer

Jonathan Desbarats is a barrister and partner at Pender Litigation, practising in both English and French. Originally from London, Ontario, he graduated from Mount Allison University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature, with honours. He then pursued a career in journalism, winning awards for his news reporting and photojournalism, before working as a documentary film producer on co-productions for the NFB, the CBC, the History Channel, and HBO, among others.

In 2002 he attended the University of Toronto Law School, earning his juris doctor in 2005. Following graduation he was hired as an articled student, and then as an associate, with Ian Donaldson, Q.C. and Mark Jetté, at the law firm Donaldson Jetté. In 2010 he formed his own practice, and in 2014 he joined Sutherland Jetté. He is a founding partner at Pender Litigation.

Jonathan has extensive experience in litigation, specializing in complex criminal trials and appeals. He has represented clients in all areas of criminal law including drug trafficking and importation, domestic assault, firearms possession, large scale fraud, extortion, sexual assault, driving offences, and murder. He has represented clients at all levels of court in British Columbia, as well as courts in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. He has worked on a number of lengthy and highly publicized multi-accused criminal trials, including the “Surrey Six” trial, R. v. Haevischer and Johnston. He has also appeared before various administrative tribunals including the B.C. Review Board, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, the Parole Board of Canada, and others.

Jonathan is bilingual, speaking both French and English, and has acted for clients in both official languages.”

Bar Admissions
  • British Columbia, 2006
  • Juris Doctor, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, 2005
  • Bachelor of Arts, with Honours in English Literature, Mount Allison University, 1995
Representative Cases
Professional Associations and Memberships
  • Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia
  • Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie Britannique
  • Law Society of British Columbia
  • B.C. Civil Liberties Association
  • Canadian Bar Association
Pro Bono Activities
  • Supervising Lawyer, UBC Innocence Project
  • Legal Counsel, Access Pro Bono Legal Clinic
  • English
  • French

Jonathan Desbarats

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