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Michael Lacy


Contact Information

tel: 416-360-2776
fax: 416-362-8410

Bar Admission


Areas of Expertise

Criminal law
Regulatory Offences
Professional Discipline



Michael Lacy is a partner at Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP. Michael practices primarily in the area of criminal law, regulatory offences and professional discipline. A substantial part of his practice is dedicated to serious indictable appeals.

Michael received his Bachelor Arts from the University of Western Ontario in 1992 majoring in Philosophy. He then went to Osgoode Hall Law School where he graduated in 1995. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1997.

Michael articled and worked as an associate at the prestigious law firm of Gold & Fuerst where he began his career dealing with high profile trial and appellate matters assisting senior counsel before embarking on his own appellate and trial practice. Most recently he was partners with Edward L. Greenspan, Q.C. (one of Canada's most well-known Criminal lawyers) and worked extensively and closely with him before his passing in December of 2014.

Throughout his career he has appeared at every level of Court in Ontario as well as the Quebec Superior Court, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada (including as counsel on intervener applications). He has argued and appeared on more than 90 cases at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and has argued significant cases that have advanced the Canadian legal landscape. He is a sought after trial and appellate advocate and has been involved in representing a number of high profile clients on cases that have attracted significant media attention. He is regularly consulted on search and seizure and wiretap cases and by other members of the bar dealing with complicated criminal law issues.

Notable appellate cases include the following:


  • Goodwin v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) 2015 SCC 46
    Acted for intervener on issue of fairness of administrative penalty regime in drinking and driving context
  • R. v. Walle 2012 SCC 41
    Acted for intervener on "sane and sober" inference instruction where accused had mental deficits
  • R. v. Deschamplain 2004 SCC 76
    Counsel for Appellant on issue surrounding sufficiency of evidence for committal to stand trial
  • R. v. Asante-Mensah 2003 SCC 38
    Counsel for Respondent on issue of lawfulness of citizen's arrest and detention powers
  • R. v. Sharpe 2001 SCC 2
    Co-counsel for intervener on issue of constitutionality of child pornography provisions
  • R. v. Melnichuk [1997] S.C.J. No. 36
    Junior counsel for appellant on permissible scope of reply evidence


  • R. v. Messer (2013) 405 N.B.R. (2d) 279
    Inadequate reasons and flawed approach to reasonable doubt leads to new trial order for police officer


  • R. v. Charles CACR2518
    Appeal against convictions for weapons offence allowed on consent where trial judge drew improper adverse inference


  • R. v. Noureddine 2015 ONCA 770
    Improper constitution of jury in murder case leads to new trial order on second degree murder
  • R. v. Grandine 2015 ONCA 574
    Bail pending appeal for manslaughter conviction
  • R. v. Hart 2015 ONCA 480
    Non-custodial sentence for arson upheld on Crown appeal
  • R. v. Schertzer (2015), 325 C.C.C. (3d) 202
    Appeal from convictions for Toronto Police Services Drug Squad officers
  • R. v. Salah (2015), 319 C.C.C. (3d) 373
    Bad character evidence, reliance on post-arrest statements to corroborate discreditable witness in first degree murder context
  • R v. Stevenson (2014), 317 C.C.C. (3d) 385
    Admissibility of gunshot residue evidence in first degree murder context
  • R. v. Lucas (2014), 313 C.C.C. (3d) 159
    Constitutionality of s.186(1.1) of Criminal Code related to wiretaps for criminal organizations
  • R. v. Downs (2014), 305 C.C.C. (3d) 100
    Not Criminally Responsible issues in context of second degree murder conviction
  • R. v. I.M.C. (2014), 120 O.R. (3d) 1
    Fresh evidence on dangerous offender appeal
  • R. v. Robinson (2014), 118 O.R. (3d) 581
    Improper application of adoption by silence principle leads to new trial order on first degree murder
  • R. v. T.M. (2014), 318 C.C.C. (3d) 421
    Permissible scope of cross-examination of accused as to why victims would lie
  • R. v. Cunsolo (2014) 309 C.R.R. (2d) 282
    Section 24(2) considerations in context of fraud convictions
  • R. v. Manitowabi 2014 ONCA 301
    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and intent for murder considered
  • R. v. Stevenson 2013 ONCA 645
    Appointment of counsel for appellant convicted of first degree murder
  • R. v. Duran (2013), 3 C.R. (7th) 274
    Improperly curtailing cross-examination of complainant in sexual assault trial leads to new trial
  • R. v. Mahal (2012), 113 O.R. (3d) 209
    Proper interpretation of wiretap provisions in the Criminal Code
  • R. v. Li (2012), 110 O.R. (3d) 321
    Improper admission of hearsay evidence and other legal errors leads to new trial order for aggravated assault
  • R. v. Drabinsky (2011), 107 O.R. (3d) 595
    Appeal from conviction for fraud arising from collapse of Livent Inc.
  • R. v. Figliola (2011), 105 O.R. (3d) 641
    Improper treatment of Crown's own witness in first degree murder trial leading to new trial
  • R. v. A.O. (2011), 269 C.C.C. (3d) 79
    Fresh evidence related to GHB naturally occurring in red wine leads to new trial order on sex offences
  • R. v. Simon (2010), 104 O.R. (3d) 340
    party liability in second degree murder context
  • R. v. Largie (2010), 101 O.R. (3d) 561
    constitutionality of one party consent wiretap provisions
  • R. v. Bisson (2010), 258 C.C.C. (3d) 338
    Appeal court cannot raise proviso on own motion
  • R. v. Martin 2010 ONCA 573
    Appeal from order substituting committal for first degree murder allowed
  • R. v. James (2009), 95 O.R. (3d) 321
    Substantive discussions about case in absence of accused leads to new trial order
  • R. v. S.(D.) (2008), 93 O.R. (3d) 211
    Pre-trial sentence credit in context of young offenders
  • Ministry of Attorney General (Ontario) v. Black (2007) 84 O.R. (3d) 481
    Application for leave to appeal MLAT order arising from Conrad Black prosecution in the United States
  • R. v. Beaucage [2005] O.J. No. 2802
    Consideration of identification evidence and hearsay in first degree murder context
  • R. v. P.S. [2004] O.J. No. 4011
    Acquittal entered on appeal from unreasonable verdict for sex offences
  • R. v. Edwards (2004), 72 O.R. (3d) 135
    Use of statements obtained during psychiatric assessment and consciousness of guilt instructions in first degree murder context
  • R. v. Chartrand (2002), 62 O.R. (3d) 514
    Misapprehension of evidence and errors regarding reasonable doubt lead to new trial order
  • R. v. Squires (2002), 59 O.R. (3d) 765
    As soon as practicable requirement in drinking and driving context
  • R. v. Z.L. (2001), 54 O.R. (3d) 97
    Murder conviction overturned because of improper use of evidence of Appellant at co-accused's proceeding
  • R. v. Balchand (2001), 160 C.C.C. (3d) 339
    Failure to leave manslaughter with jury leads to new trial order for convicted murderer
  • R. v. Holden (2001), 56 O.R. (3d) 119
    Acquittal entered on appeal from unreasonable verdict for sex offences
  • R. v. Auclair [2001] 148 O.A.C. 71
    Misapprehension of DNA evidence leads to new trial order on serious sex offences
  • R. v. B.(R.) (1999), 139 C.C.C. (3d) 77
    Misapprehension of evidence leads to new trial order
  • R. v. Gaudet (1998), 40 O.R. (3d) 1
    Appeal against conviction regarding collapse of Osler Inc.

Michael is a contributor and speaker at conferences offered for criminal lawyers, Crown counsel, police agencies and judges. He has been a special presenter for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police - wiretap writer's course providing demonstrative cross-examinations to conference participants across Canada over the past 10 years. In 2015 he was elected Vice-President of the Criminal Lawyers' Association ("the voice of the criminal defence bar"). He co-authors an annual publication entitled "The Practitioner's Ontario Criminal Practice Annotated Rules", co-authored "Charter Guarantees to Those Charged with a Criminal Offence" in R. Gilliland, The Charter at Thirty (Canada Law Book) and between 2002 and 2007 was the Editor of the Weekly Criminal Bulletin.

Michael has regularly commented on criminal law issues in the media and has appeared on CBC Radio One, CBC Newsnet, CTV and Breakfast Television (Toronto). He is recognized as one of the Best Lawyers® in Canada for criminal defence and Who's Who Legal International®.

In the Fall of 2016 Mr. Lacy will be a Canadian Common Law Instructor on "Canadian Criminal Law" through the Osgoode Professional Development program (http://www.osgoodepd.ca/academic-programs/specializations/course-description/?course_schedule_id=284) .


  • Sept 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. .. Read the full article on

  • Apr 27, 2016

    Charges stayed against Lougheed Jr.. A prominent Liberal fundraiser facing two bribery charges concerning the February, 2015 provincial byelection in the Sudbury riding has had his charges stayed by the Crown. .. Read the full article on thesudburystar.com

  • Mar 30, 2016

    Guilty pleas end risk of revealing RCMP surveillance technology. Six accused mobsters were acquitted of first-degree murder charges in Laval on Wednesday as they agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of murder conspiracy, scuttling a separate hearing that risked revealing sensitive information about police surveillance technology... Read the full article on GLOBE & MAIL

  • Mar 24, 2016

    Few Surprised by Jian Ghomeshi's Acquittal, But Many Outraged. It was a verdict that seemingly surprised no one, though it outraged many... Read the full article on VICE.COM

  • Feb 29, 2016

    Court of Appeal decision could impact jury selection. An upcoming decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal could greatly impact how the jury selection process takes place in the province, depending on its interpretation of eight-year-old amendments to the Criminal Code... Read the full article on lawtimesnews.com

  • Feb 28, 2016

    CBC RADIO. .. Listen to the full interview on cbc.ca

  • 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

  • January 5, 2015

    Colleagues offer their thoughts on Greenspan's magic. As a high school student, Michael Lacy could barely have imagined meeting his idol Eddie Greenspan, let alone working with him one day.

    "I know it sounds cliché, but he really was the reason I wanted to be a lawyer and practise criminal law," says Lacy of Greenspan, the legendary criminal defence lawyer who died on Dec. 24 at the age of 70 on holiday in Phoenix, Ariz. .. Read the full article on lawtimesnews.com