Nova Scotia Archives

Viola Desmond

Nova Scotia Archives RG 39 C volume 937 Supreme Court 13347
Num Title Note
1  Information and complaint — 8 November 1946 An 'information' is a charge against someone, lodged with a court.  
2  [Stipendiary] Magistrate's record of proceedings — 9 November 1946 'Stipendiary Magistrate' is the equivalent of today's Provincial Court judge.  
3  Receipt that notes payment of fine — 9 November 1946  
4  Recognizance for Writ of Certiorari to move conviction of Stipendiary Magistrate into Supreme Court — 24 December 1946 W.P. Oliver and William Allison are sureties. A 'Recognizance' is a sum pledged as surety for a bond by which someone promises to do something. A 'Writ of Certiorari' is an order to transfer proceedings from a lower court to a higher, for reconsideration.  
5  Notice of Motion, affidavits of Viola Desmond, other affidavit, and exhibits for Writ of Certiorari - to be heard 10 January 1947 — 27 December 1946 Includes copies of documents from Stipendiary Magistrate of New Glasgow, including transcript of proceedings and copy of conviction in reference to Document 2. Document 2 is transcribed and submitted as an exhibit in support of this motion. An 'affidavit' is a sworn statement in writing, for use in court. 'Exhibits' are documentary evidence for use in court.  
6  Letter, Rod[erick] G MacKay, Stipendiary Magistrate, enclosing original documents outlined above — 2 January 1947 Includes copies of documents served. Duplicates of Document 1, 2 and 5.  
7  Affidavit of Service to Stipendiary Magistrate MacKay (dated 6 January 1947) — 7 January 1947 Service' is delivery in person, of a notice to appear in court.  
8  Affidavit of Service to Henry MacNeil (dated 6 January 1947) — 7 January 1947  
9  Affidavit of Service to Stipendiary Magistrate MacKay and Henry MacNeil — 7 January 1947 Includes copies of documents served. Duplicates of Documents 1, 2 and 5.  
10  Decision of Justice Archibald regarding Writ of Certiorari — 20 January 1947 A 'decision' is the judgment of a court.  
11  Letter, Deputy Prothonotary to E.M. MacDonald, New Glasgow, sending copy of Archibald's Decision — 20 January 1947 A 'Prothonotary' is the senior administrator of a superior court.  
12  Letter, F.W. Bissett to Deputy Prothonotary, enclosing Notice of appeal — 21 January 1947 An 'appeal' is a process whereby the losing party in a court case requests a higher court with jurisdiction to vary or overturn the judgment of the lower court in which the trial took place.  
13  Notice of Appeal of Decision of Justice Archibald (dated 20 January 1947) — 22 January 1947  
14  Affidavit of Viola Desmond in support of her appeal — 29 January 1947  
15  Entry of Appeal (dated 21 February 1947) — 22 February 1947  
16  Letter, E.M. MacDonald, New Glasgow, enclosing 3 copies of Factum — 10 March 1947 Copies of the Factum are not included in the file. A 'factum' is the body of documents, usually printed and bound, which make up the case being appealed (either by plaintiff or defendant).  
17  Decision of Justice Graham on Appeal (dated 28 March 1947) — 17 May 1947  
18  Opinion of Justice Doull (dated 5 April 1947) — 17 May 1947 An 'Opinion' is a formal statement by a sitting justice, concurring in or dissenting from the judgment of the appeal court.  
19  Opinion of Justice Carroll (dated 18 April 1947) — 17 May 1947  
20  Opinion of Justice Hall (dated 3 May 1947) — 17 May 1947 Document missing from the file.*  

* Although the document is now missing from the file, The King v. Desmond (N.S. 1947) was reported in Maritime Provinces Reports [20 M.P.R.], pp 297-309, where Mr. Justice Hall's opinion is printed on p. 307:

I concur with my brother Carroll.
Had the matter reached the Court by some method other than certiorari, there might have been opportunity to right the wrong done this unfortunate woman.
One wonders if the manager of the theatre who laid the complaint was so zealous because of a bona fide belief there had been an attempt to defraud the Province of Nova Scotia of the sum of one cent, or was it a surreptitious endeavour to enforce a Jim Crow rule by misuse of a public statute.

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