Trials and Errors: The People vs Brian Gordon Jack


194 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-896239-76-5
DDC 345.71'02523'09712743




H. Graham Rawlinson is a corporate lawyer with the international law
firm Torys in Toronto. He is co-author of The Canadian 100: The 100 Most
Influential Canadians of the 20th Century.


Just before Christmas in 1988, young mother Christine Jack disappeared
from her home in Winnipeg and was never heard from again. This book
tells the story of the three trials, several appeals, and nearly nine
years it took for the Canadian justice system to declare finally that
her husband, Brian Jack, was not guilty of her murder. Yet, this is no
dispassionate case study of the Canadian criminal justice system, and
therein lies the book’s greatest strength and even greater weakness.

Now-retired Winnipeg Crown Attorney John D. Montgomery was the lead
prosecutor in Brian Jack’s first trial, and while his depth of
knowledge of the criminal trial process—especially with respect to the
case that is his subject—is unquestioned, the book’s raison
d’кtre is its author’s anger with the fact that Brian Jack was
eventually found innocent. As a result, Montgomery’s tone is bitter,
his reflections one-sided, and his cynicism tiresome, despite the fact
that he makes a convincing case that a brutal murderer should have been
found guilty. Most disappointingly, in his rush to attack appeal court
judges and laws weighted in favor of criminal defendants, Montgomery
never really considers the sad theme that may be his book’s most
important lesson: perhaps the price of justice is that sometimes a few
of the worst offenders get away with their crimes.


Montgomery, John D., “Trials and Errors: The People vs Brian Gordon Jack,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 19, 2024,