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Joseph Wilkinson


Contact Information

tel: 416-360-2773
fax: 416-362-8410

Bar Admission


Areas of Expertise

Criminal law
Professional Discipline
Regulatory Offences



Joseph Wilkinson is a partner at Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP, practicing in the areas of criminal law, professional discipline, and regulatory offences. A significant portion of his practice involves appeals to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Mr. Wilkinson received his B.A. (Hons.) in philosophy and history at the University of Western Ontario and went on to graduate from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1996. In 1999, after articling with the firm of Gold & Fuerst Mr. Wilkinson was called to the Bar of Ontario.

Mr. Wilkinson became an associate at Hick Block Adams LLP and then a partner where he ran his appellate and trial practice until 2005 when he left and formed his own firm, Wilkinson & Associate. In 2010, Mr. Wilkinson joined forces with Michael Lacy by forming Lacy Wilkinson LLP. That firm merged with the firm of the late Edward L. Greenspan Q.C. to form Greenspan Partners LLP where Mr. Wilkinson had the privilege of being partners with Mr. Greenspan until his unfortunate passing in December of 2014.

Mr. Wilkinson has appeared at all levels of court in Ontario, and in the Supreme Court of Canada, both as counsel for appellants and intervenors. Mr. Wilkinson has appeared as duty counsel at the Court of Appeal for Ontario assisting unrepresented litigants to advance their appeals. He has also been counsel on over sixty appeals to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Some of Mr. Wilkinson's more notable appellate cases, include:


  • R. v. Tse, [2012] S.C.J. No. 16
    Acted for the intervener on the issue of whether the emergency wiretap provision of the Criminal Code was unconstitutional
  • R. v. Van, S.C.J. No. 22
    Acted for the appellant on issue concerning jury charges on defences of inadequate police investigations and one of the leading cases on the applicability of the curative proviso.


  • U.S.A. v. Viscomi, [2015] O.J. No. 3448
    Acted for the appellant on a challenge to the gather and send provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act questioning the constitutionality of Canada's ability to collect and share information and evidence with other countries.
  • R. v. Lucas, [2014] O.J. No. 3471
    Acted for the appellant on a challenge to the constitutionality of the general warrant provision of the Criminal Code
  • R. v. Aneja, [2014] O.J. No. 2500
    Acted for the appellant on a case concerning the test to be applied in assessing the sufficiency of the evidence on an extradition request from the United States
  • R. v. Robinson [2014] O.J. No. 272
    Acted for the appellant on an appeal against a conviction for second-degree murder concerning the admissibility of evidence through the "adoption by silence" exception to the hearsay rule where the conviction was overturned, evidence excluded and a conviction for manslaughter substituted.
  • R. v. Rowe, [2011] O.J. No. 5382
    Appeal from convictions from robbery and firearms offences, where issue of specimen jury charges and complexity and overcharging in jury instructions considered as it raised an issue of “general concern for the conduct of criminal jury trials”.
  • R. v. Singh, [2010] O.J. No. 5622
    Appeal from conviction for second-degree murder considering improper Crown cross-examination of defence witnesses and the admissibility of ante-mortem hearsay statements from the deceased.
  • R. v. Rybak, [2008] O.J. No. 1715
    Appeal from conviction for second-degree murder where the adequacy and competency of the interpreter provided to the accused at trial was at issue. The leading case on right to an interpreter.
  • R. v. Varcoe, [2007] O.J. No. 1009
    Appeal from conviction for sexual assault. Appeal allowed due to flawed election process depriving the court of jurisdiction.
  • R. v. Oliver, [2005] O.J. No. 596
    Appeal from a conviction for second-degree murder where constitutionality of number of preemptory challenges to potential jurors considered
  • R. v. Czibulka, [2004] O.J. No. 3723
    Appeal from second-degree murder conviction allowed because of inadmissible hearsay evidence and incorrect charge on mental element for second degree-murder. Case led to modification of specimen jury charge on the mens rea for murder
  • R. v. Bajrangie-Singh, [2003] O.J. No. 1166
    Appeal from conviction for second-degree murder where issues of automatism considered.
  • R. v. Nee-Whang, [2000] O.J. No. 4088
    Appeal from drug convictions allowed because trial judge improperly refused adjournment to permit defence to call a witness.

Mr. Wilkinson is actively involved in continuing education and teaching. He has been a guest cross-examiner at RCMP wiretap and search warrant courses. He has been panelist at continuing education programs in the area of search and seizure law. He is also a sessional co-instructor in the Criminal Trial Advocacy course at Queen University Law School. In 2014 he was given the Queen's University Law Students' Society's "Teaching Excellence Award – Sessional Instructor" – winter 2014.

Mr. Wilkinson has also published articles: The Possibility of Alcoholic Automatism: Some Empirical Evidence (1997) 2 Canadian Criminal Law Review 217; Batte: Raising the Defence Hurdle for Access to Third Party Records (2000) 34 C.R. (5th) 197; Third Party Suspects – A Brief Cost/Benefit Analysis (February 21st, 2009 LSUC (CLE), Evidentiary Challenges for Criminal Lawyers.


In the Media

  • Jan 28, 2016

    DILUTION OF THE RIGHT TO MAKE FULL ANSWER AND DEFENCE: THE NEW DISCLOSURE REGIME IN THE CHARTER APPLICATION CONTEXT. Requiring the Crown to provide disclosure of the fruits of the police investigation so that an accused person can make full answer and defence is the constitutional starting point to ensuring a fair trial. Few could reasonably debate this basic proposition.. Read the full article on www.oba.org

  • Sep 2, 2016

    Ruling said to mean state can 'attack anyone. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling reinforces the federal Food and Drugs Act's overly broad definition of a drug and will only create confusion and stifle innovation, says a British Columbia lawyer who frequently works with the natural health products industry.

    "Now it’s wide open," said Shawn Buckley, principal lawyer with Kamloops, B.C.,-based Buckley & Company. "This decision means basically Health Canada can go after anyone at any given time and say, 'You’re a drug.' The state can arbitrarily attack anyone and there's nothing you can do. They should call it the tyranny act". Read the full article on The Lawyers Weekly