Robert Sharpe

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Robert James Sharpe
Born 1945 (age 71–72)
Brantford, Ontario
Known for Judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario

Robert James Sharpe (born 1945) is a Canadian lawyer, author, academic, and judge. He was Dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law from 1990 to 1995[1] and is a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Brantford, Ontario, Sharpe received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1966, a Certificat Pratique de Langue Française from the University of Caen in 1968, a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Toronto in 1970, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 1974.

Legal career[edit]

He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1974 and practiced law with the firm of MacKinnon, McTaggart (later McTaggart, Potts, Stone & Herridge) in the area of civil litigation.[1] He taught at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law from 1976 to 1988. From 1988 to 1990, he was the Executive Legal Officer for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Brian Dickson. From 1990 to 1995, he was the Dean of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. In 1995, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) (now the Superior Court of Justice). In 1999, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.[2]

He is also the author of the following works: The Law of Habeas Corpus (1976), Interprovincial Product Liability Litigation (1982), Injunctions and Specific Performance (1983), Charter Litigation (1987), The Last Day, The Last Hour: The Currie Libel Trial (1988),[1] The Charter of Rights and Freedoms (with Katherine Swinton and Kent Roach) (2002), Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey (with Kent Roach) (2003), and The Persons Case: The Origins and Legacy of the Fight for Legal Personhood (with Patricia McMahon) (2007).[2]

Notable judgments[edit]

In November, 2007, the Toronto Star reported that "In a decision [written by Justice Sharpe on behalf of a panel comprising himself and Justices Karen Weiler and Robert Blair] described as a major breakthrough for freedom of the press in Canada, the [Ontario Court of Appeal] chiselled out what it calls a "new and distinctive" defence for journalists reporting on matters of public significance: The "public interest responsible journalism defence.""

In September, 2010, the National Post reported that Justice Sharpe wrote, in reducing the sentence of a convicted sex offender, "The sentencing process must retain a human face,". The reduction in the sentence is intended to give the sex offender, a Scot who has never applied for Canadian Citizenship, the right to appeal any deportation order. On behalf of a three-judge panel at the Ontario Court of Appeal, Justice Sharpe continued, "He has no ties to Scotland apart from the fact it is the place of his birth". The sex offender in question cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the victim, the son of the offender's partner. The full text of this judgment is available from the Canadian Legal Information Institute.

Honours and awards[edit]

Sharpe was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1991.[2] He is a patron of the Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal.[3]