Mark Halfyard

Mark C. Halfyard is the senior appellate lawyer at Rusonik, O'Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham & Angelini, LLP. He obtained his B.A. in legal studies and political science from Carleton University in 2001, graduating at the top of his faculty. He gradated with his LL.B. cum laude from the University of Ottawa, where he completed a clerkship with the Regional Senior Judge of the Ontario Superior Court.


The Law Society of Ontario has certified Mark as a specialist in criminal law. With less than 100 certified criminal specialists in Ontario, this certification means that the recipient is: “recognized and experienced” and has “maintained exemplary standards of professional practice.”


Mark is one of Canada’s most prolific appellate lawyers, having argued over 170 appeals at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He also appears regularly in the Superior Court of Justice, the Federal courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. He has argued all manner of appeals (murder, drug offences, impaired driving, sexual offences, fraud, firearms, child abduction, etc.).


Mark has a particular interest in cases that involve racial bias and Charter violations and prides himself on being a strong advocate for procedural fairness in the criminal justice system. Mark has argued cases at the Supreme Court of Canada on the expertise of drug recognition experts (DREs), the right to trial within a reasonable time, mandatory minimum sentences, improper Crown practices in jury selection and to strengthen the presumption of innocence. Mark has also advocated for in-custody clients’ right to adequate food, the right to full and fair disclosure and against false confessions.


Mark is the co-author of Criminal Appeals: A Practitioner's Handbook (Emond Publishing He has published various articles on criminal law and appellate issues and is regularly consulted by media outlets for his expertise.


Mark is a Toronto Director of the Criminal Lawyer’s Association (CLA) and sits on various committees including Professional Regulation, Media Relations and the Intervention Committee, which oversees interventions to the Supreme Court of Canada. He also sits on the board of directors—and is a member—of the Probono Inmate Appeal Program, which assists unrepresented appellants before the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He also volunteers as a criminal review counsel for Innocence Canada.


Mark is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where he teaches criminal law for the Masters in Law Program (LL.M.). He has also taught criminal law at various other institutions, including the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), where his focus was on organized crime. He has taught courses on constitutional law, evidence and oral advocacy. Mark regularly appears as a guest lecturer at legal conferences.


Mark will be dauntless and diligent in bringing any appeal before the Superior Court, the Court of Appeal for Ontario or the Supreme Court of Canada.


A criminal conviction does not have to be the end of the road.


Notable Cases:  **Please Note: Past Successes Do Not Ensure Future Success**


R. v. Robinson, 2018 ONCA 741


R. v. Higgins, 2018 ONCA 451


R. v. Benjamin, 2018 ONCA 385 


R. v. Dagenais, 2018 ONCA 63


R. v. Sahdev, 2017 ONCA 900


R. v. Barnett, 2017 ONCA 897


R. v. Ururyar, 2017 ONSC 4428


R. v. Morrison, 2017 ONCA 582


 R. v. Barrett, 2017 ONSC4 291


 R. v. P.G., 2017 ONCA 351


 R. v. Bingley, 2017 SCC 12


 R. v. Virgo, 2016 ONCA 792 


 R. v. D'Souza, 2015 ONCA 805 


 R. v. Wong, 2015 ONCA 657


 R. v. Farmer, 2014 ONCA 823


 R. v. M.C., 2014 ONCA 307 


 R. v. Smickle, 2014 ONCA 49


 R. v. Ellis, 2013 ONCA 739 


 R. v. Smickle, 2013 ONCA 678


 R. v. Turner, 2012 ONCA 570


 R. v. Middleton, 2012 ONCA 523


 R. v. Li, 2012 ONCA 291


 R. v. DeSousa, 2012 ONCA 254


 R. v. Sanichar, 2012 ONCA 117


 R. v. Godin, 2009 SCC 26



Media Coverage:


Judge's failure to give reason for ruling results in new sexual assault trial


 Man charged in 2004 shooting to walk free after murder charges stayed


Judge throws out conviction of man found guilty in sex assault of York U student


 Ontario court axes mandatory one-year minimum for internet child luring


 Jury selection front and centre of decisions


 Sexual assault verdict overturned from judge who called accused ‘dramatic and insincere’


 R v Bingley: Exposing A Troubling Drug Recognition Regime


 Homophobic remarks on radio show by juror results in new trial


 Ex-Stratford junior hockey player wins appeal on 2014 sexual assault convictions


Ex-immigration judge convicted of bribery delays jail time with appeal to Supreme Court


Ontario appeal court rules stiffer gun sentences unconstitutional


Sending speeders a 'loud and clear' message — maybe a little too loud


Women who Brought Khat to Canada Wins Appeal


Rape and Other Charges Stayed Over Excessive Delay


Click here to watch Mark argue an appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada (starting at 1:32)