Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Biography & Autobiography Lawyers & Judges

A Painful Duty

Forty Years at the Criminal Bar

by (author) C.D. Evans

Durvile Publications Ltd.
Initial publish date
Jan 2011
Lawyers & Judges
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2011
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 18
  • Grade: 12


In his memoir, Evans reveals insights into the practice and the characters of the Criminal Bar, with special tributes to the no-nonsense judges of the early days.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Christopher D. Evans QC practiced criminal law in Canada for forty years and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was a Bencher of the Law Society of Alberta for eight years and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1978. He has appeared regularly as counsel at all levels of court in Alberta and NWT as well as occasional appearances in the Supreme Court of Canada. C.D. Evans’ previously published titles include Milt Harradence: The Western Flair and A Painful Duty: Forty Years at the Criminal Bar

Excerpt: A Painful Duty: Forty Years at the Criminal Bar (by (author) C.D. Evans)

The criminal lawyer as pariah: The principled barrister who practices on the criminal side is the loneliest person in the courtroom. Those of us who choose to practice at the criminal defense bar accept that condition because for the most part we are solitary loners. There is little standing between the average accused and a life behind iron bars other than the skill and the knowledge and experience of his or her mouthpiece, the so called “criminal lawyer.” Right-thinking members of the community at large – including other lawyers – understandably are diffident about associating with “criminal lawyers,” and generally disparage their calling with down-turned mouths. That is to some extent understandable: it is difficult for laypersons to esteem those who habitually defend thugs, notwithstanding the high-sounding admonitions of the Charter of Rights, otherwise known as “The Criminals’ Code.” It is only when the same urburgers personally encounter the rigors of the law, brought cruelly to bear upon themselves or someone close to them, that they queue up at the senior defence lawyers’ chambers, wringing anxious hands, happy to pay the tariff, which is generally fixed by “what the traffic will bear.” The thought, however, of token public funds finding their way into a criminal lawyer’s pocket, even for serious services faithfully rendered, is always anathema. The criminal bar is the Wolf at the Door; he/she is inimical to polite society … unless and until conditionally needed.

Editorial Reviews

“Chris Evans is considered the best defence counsel in the city by many experts.” – Kevin Martin, The Calgary Sun

“Chris Evans … the witty, expensive lawyer for the police and RCMP… known for his courtroom eloquence and meticulously prepared cases.” – Helen Dolik, The Calgary Herald

“Evans, who rarely lost a case representing city police and Mounties in legal predicaments over a quarter century… now winding down a 40 year law career that has made him a virtual legend in Alberta.” – Daryl Slade, The Calgary Herald

“Calgary’s hottest criminal lawyer runs to the beat of a different drummer.” – Pat Crone, Calgary Magazine

“Crown Prosecutor Peter Martin and defence lawyer Chris Evans are considered the best in the business.” – Howard Solomon, Calgary Herald, Sunday Magazine

Comments on C.D. Evans’ memoir of criminal lawyer Milt Harradence, Milt Harradence: The Western Flair:

“There have been many bios of colourful trial lawyers, e.g. Liebowitz, Darrow, Branca, the Halls, Marshall and Emmet, but C.D. Evans has topped all their biographers with his lively memoir. It should find a permanent home in every trial lawyer’s library.” – Ron MacIsaac, Lawyers Weekly

“C.D. Evans says he is planning a memoir of his own life. One can only hope it’s half as engaging, funny and fair as Milt Harradence, The Western Flair.” – Alexander Rettie, Alberta Views

Comment on C.D. Evans’ novella Matthew’s Passion

Alberta has a new major writer on its hands here ... to ignore him would be to impede our eternally nascent literary culture. – Frank Dabbs, Alberta Views

Other titles by C.D. Evans