Joseph Saulnier was born and raised in Vancouver and received his law degree from the University of Victoria in 2003. He then served as a law clerk at the British Columbia Supreme Court, before completing articles and working as a civil lawyer with a leading downtown Vancouver law firm, practicing largely in securities and civil litigation. In late 2005, Joe changed his focus and joined the Robert Pickton defence team, working on that murder trial full-time until verdict in 2007. In 2008, Joe and the members of the Pickton defence team received the BC Trial Lawyers Association President’s Award for outstanding counsel work.
Joe’s practice covers all areas of criminal law, from murder to drug conspiracies to fraud, with a particular emphasis on the defence of: commercial crime and Securities Act charges; impaired driving and Motor Vehicle Act offences; sexual offences; and youth justice. He maintains an active trial and appellate practice for diverse clients, appearing at all levels of court in British Columbia, at the BC and Alberta Securities Commission, and at the BC Review Board. Joe is the former President of the Advocates Club, and current executive board member of the Canadian Bar Association Criminal Justice Subsection, frequent lecturer at high school and university criminology classes, and legal commentator on BC news radio.
Examples of Joe’s recent success in court include: a verdict of acquittal in a murder case after a judge-alone trial in Smithers and Vancouver; having allegations of market manipulation dismissed by the BC Securities Commission; an acquittal after a jury trial for a client charged with second-degree murder after a shooting, where the issue was self-defence; an acquittal for cocaine trafficking charges after an illegal car search by police; an acquittal on marijuana cultivation charges after police searched a grow-operation with an illegal search warrant; several recent acquittals on impaired and over-80 charges; a stay of proceedings for a client facing a 10-year jail sentence for charges of conspiracy to traffic in 100 kg of cocaine; and a stay of proceedings on child pornography charges for a client who faced a mandatory jail sentence.