Harvey Pollock, Winnipeg’s whistling lawyer, dies at 89

Harvey Pollock, Winnipeg’s whistling lawyer, dies at 89

Winnipeg’s whistling lawyer, Harvey Pollock, has died.

The well-known litigator and senior member of Pollock & Firm practised regulation for greater than six a long time and was nicely revered and admired within the authorized group. He died Sunday at age 89.

“Harvey was a kind of individuals who had a really unbelievable status,” mentioned Saul Simmonds, a legal lawyer in Winnipeg since 1980 who had identified Pollock that whole time.

“[He] stood for a lot, he was a extremely moral particular person who had an enormous quantity of data in lots of areas of regulation. He was a kind of individuals who simply had an unbelievable persona, each as a lawyer and as an individual.”

Pollock’s pursuits included golf, tennis, music and whistling, based on the bio posted on his agency’s web site.

He received the inaugural World Whistling Championship in 1977, performing classical and modern music. And he plied that pursed follow all through his life as he strolled by way of downtown and the regulation courts.

“He might be heard whistling by way of the courthouse on a regular basis, at all times glad, at all times up,” Simmonds mentioned. “And he at all times had time for folks. If you whenever you noticed Harvey within the elevator or strolling on the road, it doesn’t matter what he was doing, he at all times had time to cease.

A man in eyeglasses and wearing a black tuxedo and white shirt is seen from the side, whistling into a green microphone
Harvey Pollock, seen in 1985 whistling on stage in a efficiency with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. (CBC)

“When he met you he knew you by title, he knew what you probably did and what you had been practising. He confirmed the form of curiosity that many individuals do not actually focus upon.”

A previous president of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s board of administrators, Pollock was additionally a member of the maestro’s interior circle and appeared with the Winnipeg, Toronto and Bismarck symphony orchestras. In 2003, he appeared as visitor conductor with the WSO.

Pollock graduated from the College of Manitoba’s regulation faculty in Winnipeg in 1957 and was known as to the bar the next 12 months. He served as counsel to the Kids’s Assist Society of Winnipeg till 1960 when he opened his personal regulation workplace.

He acted in lots of issues affecting the rights of First Nation peoples, together with appearing as counsel to the founders of the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood, now often known as the Meeting of Manitoba Chiefs. In 1970 Pollock  was made an honorary chief for all of Manitoba’s First Nation bands.

“He took an enormous quantity of satisfaction in that. It clearly was a kind of issues that opened the door to the form of Indigenous realization and actualization that we are actually seeing in a way more vital manner,” Simmonds mentioned.

In 1988, he represented the household of John Joseph (J.J.) Harper at the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which examined how Indigenous persons are handled within the justice system.

The inquiry was sparked by two flashpoints: the loss of life of Harper, a Cree chief shot lifeless by metropolis police that very same 12 months, and the 1971 homicide in The Pas of Helen Betty Osborne, whose killers weren’t dropped at justice till 1987.

The inquiry’s remaining report, launched in 1991 with 296 suggestions, decided racism performed a task in these occasions.

“[Pollock] stood for not solely consciousness, however justice, usually,” Simmonds mentioned.

“I do not suppose folks acknowledge the truth that when the inquiry came about, it was actually the start of an understanding of what was going down within the Indigenous group and the justice system.”

‘Police had a vendetta’

Pollock’s profession was additionally marked by one other high-profile case, however with him because the accused.

Shortly after the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, police confirmed up at Pollock’s workplace to arrest him on expenses of sexual assault. Pollock railed in opposition to the allegations, calling them a vendetta by the police pressure, which he mentioned had been embarrassed throughout the inquiry by the revelations in the way it dealt with Indigenous folks.

The fees had been stayed two months later when the alleged sufferer modified her story

“Clearly, the police had a vendetta that arises out of Harper,” he informed media in 1991, saying the police wished to break his status.

An inquiry into the arrest was held and in his remaining report Commissioner Ted Hughes was reluctant to conclude “there was an overt, deliberate and deliberate conspiracy to punish Pollock.”

A man in a tan-coloured suit and white shirt looks at a camera and is visible from the shoulders to the top of his head. He has glassed and grey hair that is parted to the side.
Pollock speaks with reporters in 1991 following the discharge of the Hughes inquiry report. (CBC)

Nonetheless, he additionally discovered “the affect of payback was at work in a removed from refined style and should be condemned.”

Hughes pointed to the testimony of Sgt. Ron Kushneryk, who admitted he tipped off a Winnipeg Free Press reporter about Pollock’s impending arrest. A photographer was prepared exterior Pollock’s workplace to catch him being led away — a photograph that appeared on the entrance web page the next day.

“It is horrifying to suppose that in our democratic society, I — and folks like me — below like circumstances, might be uncovered to this type of arbitrary, unjust, unfair therapy,” Pollock mentioned at a information convention after the Hughes report was launched.

Pollock, who had been practising till just lately, will without end be identified for his circumstances and accomplishments and that legacy will endure, Simmonds mentioned. Pollock’s son Martin and grandsons Noah and Ethan proceed to practise on the agency and keep it up Pollock’s efforts.

“They, too, work exhausting within the areas that he had been integral to,” Simmonds mentioned. “[Pollock] was a wonderful practitioner however he was a wonderful instructor and he was capable of have folks round him perceive simply the depth and the dedication crucial within the follow of regulation.

“He taught that legacy to everybody who was round him. He’ll be missed.”