Three New Judges Appointed To The Ontario Court Of Justice
The province has appointed three judges to the Ontario Court of Justice, effective January 28, 2009.
Justice Robert W. Beninger was called to the Bar in 1984. Since then he has practiced criminal and family law. He worked as a part-time Assistant Crown Attorney in Peterborough, a standing agent for the Federal Government for the county of Peterborough and as a sole practitioner in private practice. Justice Beninger was a member of the Peterborough Legal Aid Area Committee from 1992 to 2006 and was appointed Area Director of the Peterborough Legal Aid Office in 2006. As a member of the Peterborough Law Association, he served as chairperson of the Constitution Committee in 2000 and served as president from 2001 to 2003. Justice Beninger taught Law in the Administration and Policy program at Trent University from 1987 to 2001. Chief Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo has assigned Justice Beninger to preside in the Peterborough area and Durham.
Justice Michael Block was called to the Bar in 1988. Since then he has practiced criminal law. As well as representing clients before the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, he has represented police officers in matters under the Police Act, doctors in proceedings before the Health Disciplines Board and has acted as counsel at inquests. Justice Block has been a member of the Criminal Lawyers' Association since 1988, the Toronto Lawyers' Association since 1995 and the Toronto Area Committee of Legal Aid Ontario since 1990. He has been a guest speaker in Toronto and Peel Region secondary schools, as well as at Mohawk College and McMaster University on topics including criminal justice issues, racial discrimination and careers in law. He has also lectured about police powers and minority youth at George Brown College. Chief Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo has assigned Justice Block to preside in Oshawa.
Madam Justice Manjusha Pawagi was called to the Bar in 1997. Since then she has practiced family law. She worked as counsel for the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of Toronto from 1997 to 2004, where she represented the society in child protection cases in both the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice. While with the CAS she also designed and delivered training for social workers, foster parents and CAS counsel on topics such as amendments to the Child and Family Services Act, court conduct, and the Human Rights Code. Later, she served as counsel for the Office of the Children's Lawyer, where she represented children in child protection and custody and access cases. She has also acted as mentor to several University of Toronto law students. Madam Justice Pawagi is also a successful children's author. Chief Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo has assigned Justice Pawagi to preside in Brampton.
“The years of experience these new judges bring to the bench will help to strengthen Ontario's justice system. I am confident that they will make significant contributions to the Ontario Court of Justice.”