Judge’s swearing in a family affair

Provincial court chief judge officially welcomes his wife to the bench

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on February 23, 2012
Judge Pamela Goulding gets a kiss from her husband, provincial court Chief Judge Mark Pike, Wednesday after he officially swore her in as new provincial court judge in St. John’s. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

It’s not often the official swearing of a new judge is sealed with a kiss from the chief judge.

But it is when the new judge is your wife.

Pamela Goulding got a peck on the cheek from her husband, provincial court Chief Judge Mark Pike, Wednesday after he administered the official oath of office to the new provincial court judge.

The kiss drew laughter and applause from the crowd that filled Courtroom No. 7 at provincial court in St. John’s.

“It’s not often a man gets to brag about his wife to such an esteemed audience, so I’m going to enjoy this,” Pike said during his welcoming speech.

Goulding takes her new position in St. John’s after serving as director of Public Prosecutions since 2006. In that position, she instituted an extensive rejuvenation of the Public Prosecutions division following the recommendations of the Lamer Report.

From 2001-2006, she served as senior Crown attorney in charge of the special prosecutions office before serving several years as a Crown prosecutor.

She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in October 2008.

Goulding, who grew up in Grand Falls-Windsor, earned her law degree in 1985 at Dalhousie Law School and was called to the bar of Newfoundland and Labrador a year later.

Goulding told the crowd that provincial court has always been special to her.

“This is a place where I started my career as a barrister, interviewing police, observing and arguing thousands of cases,” she said.

“It’s also a place where I met my husband.

“I’m honoured to return to where it all began.”

She promised to continue to serve the public to the best of her ability.

There were two people in the crowd who took particular gratification from the moment  — Goulding’s and Pike’s sons Stefan, 20, and Christoph, 17.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, they admitted it was unusual seeing their father swear in their mother.

“It’s a very unique experience because usually it’s a little uncomfortable watching your parents kiss (in public) …,” Christoph said, laughing.

“But it was great. I don’t think many households can claim they’ve seen (one of) their parents (get sworn in) by the other.

“It was a great time. Both my parents are very deserving of their positions and I was very pleased to see my mother reach this pinnacle of success in her career.”

“It’s a really great move for Mom …” Stefan added. “We’re both very proud of our parents.”

Growing up with both parents in the legal profession has meant a lot of dinnertime discussion about law.

“When it comes to their professional business, they do try to keep things relatively private,” Christoph said.

“But with respect of talk of law, obviously some of it does seep into our conversation. We might hear the occasional discussion … but in broad and general terms.”

Stefan, a third-year business student at Memorial University, and Christoph, a Grade 12 student at Gonzaga High School, don’t know if they’ll pursue law careers.

But having judges as parents will forever keep them on their toes.

“Naturally, we should be on our best behaviour …,” Christoph said, erupting into laughter.

“Our parents have been very fair. Yet, until we get those skills ourselves, perhaps our appeals might not be that successful. We might have to appeal to a higher court eventually.”

Deputy minister of Justice Don Burrage was at the ceremony to bring congratulations on behalf of Justice Minister Felix Collins, who was unable to attend.

Other speakers were Gus Brown, president of the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Susan Gover, president of the Canadian Bar Association, Newfoundland and Labrador branch.

Those in attendance also included Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal Chief Justice Derek Green, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court trial division Chief Justice David Orsborn; provincial court Assistant Chief Judge Robert Hyslop, as well as other Supreme Court and provincial court judges, lawyers and court staff.

When contacted by The Telegram later Wednesday, Pike was asked how it will feel being his wife’s boss.

“It’s nice to know I’m the boss,” he said before adding, “I say that as I unload the dishwasher.”

Goulding was one of two people recently appointed to the bench. Laura A. Mennie, QC, will take a position in Stephenville and will be sworn in Feb. 29 in Corner Brook.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt