New provincial court judge for Northern Region

Peter Whyte is serving the Williams Lake Provincial Court and other courts in the region

The newest judge serving the Williams Lake Provincial Court comes with a background in child protection, psychiatric social work and prosecution of drug, income tax and fisheries offences.

Judge Peter Whyte was appointed in mid-December for the Northern Region and started his new job early January.

When pursued for an interview by the Tribune Whyte requested receive some questions by e-mail and chose to answer them in writing, although he did agree to have his photograph taken outside the courthouse one snowy day last week.

Rather than paraphrase his responses, reporter Monica Lamb-Yorski (MLY) has included them for the readers in full.

MLY: Describe your professional life until now.

PW: I started my professional career in the mid-1990s as a child protection social worker in Burnaby and New Westminster. I transitioned from child protection work into a position as a psychiatric social worker with the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission. I was able to continue to work within the forensic and community mental health systems in the summer months during law school, up until my graduation in 2005.

I began my career in law in 2006 with the North Vancouver firm Lakes, Whyte LLP.

My work with Lakes, Whyte was primarily as an agent prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), and involved the prosecution of drug, income tax and fisheries offences. I also maintained a civil litigation and criminal defence practice.

This work brought me to the Peace River Region, as the firm held contracts for PPSC prosecutions in that region.

In 2015, I accepted a position as Crown Counsel with the BC Prosecution Service in Fort St. John.

I remained with the Crown Counsel office up until my appointment.

MLY: What are you most excited about with your new post?

PW: Firstly, I am truly humbled by my appointment to the Provincial Court of British Columbia. I have spent much of my career in law working within the criminal justice system. I am excited to be in a position to take on a larger role in the maintenance of a just and fair court system.

I am particularly excited to be posted to Williams Lake. I enjoyed my time in Fort St. John, and have come to appreciate the lifestyle that comes with living in a smaller community.

From what I have seen, Williams Lake has a tremendous amount to offer, especially for an outdoor enthusiast. I look forward to exploring my new community and surrounding areas over the coming months.

MLY: Where are you from originally?

PW: I grew up on the North Shore of Vancouver, where much of my family still calls home. I lived in Richmond for about 14 years, but moved back to North Vancouver in 2014. In 2015, I left Vancouver to take up my position with the Crown Counsel office in Fort St. John.

MLY: When you aren’t practicing law what do you enjoy doing outside of courthouse?

PW: I like to stay active as much as possible. Judging involves a great deal of sitting, and when I am not in court, I like to move around. I try to get to the gym a few times a week. I took up running a few years ago, and look forward to continuing to improve as a runner. I am excited to get back into mountain biking, and see a kayak purchase in the near future; I look forward to exploring the local lakes surrounding Williams Lake.

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