Ian McKay’s expertise in defending those charged with a criminal offence is in high demand. Not only does his busy practice take him throughout Alberta but he has been retained on matters in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Further, he is amongst a select few criminal defence lawyers who has argued a case in the Supreme Court of Canada.
Ian McKay is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan where he was awarded a Bachelor of Commerce (Distinction) in Finance, and a Bachelor of Laws. He has been an instructor at the Trial Advocacy Course at University of Calgary Faculty of Law and he also lectures at the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law in Kamloops, British Columbia. In addition, Mr. McKay is honoured to be one of two case reviewers in Alberta for the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (“AIDWYC”). In this role, Mr. McKay is tasked with reviewing the case files of individuals convicted of murder to ascertain whether a potential wrongful conviction has occurred.
Ian McKay inherited his love for law from his father, Ian McKay, Q.C., a well-known defence lawyer in Regina. While in law school, he won the prestigious Chief Justice Brian Dickson award as the top advocate in Canada at the Gale Cup Moot competition in Toronto, Ontario. This victory foreshadowed the eventual success he would have as a top criminal defence lawyer.
Early in his career, Ian McKay worked as a litigation lawyer in both Regina and Calgary. While in Calgary, Ian McKay accepted a position as a litigation associate at a national law firm, Miller Thomson LLP, and later at one of the top construction law boutiques in Canada. From there, his love for criminal law led him to accept a position as a Crown Prosecutor in Calgary, Alberta. As a Crown Prosecutor, he was involved in prosecuting hundreds of matters ranging from mischief to major sexual assaults and murders. This experience exposed him to every possible scenario that could arise in a criminal prosecution and has been invaluable to him as a defence lawyer.
Ian McKay has been practicing exclusively as a criminal defence since he left the Crown Prosecutors office in 2006. He has defended many individuals charged with murder and almost every other charge in the Criminal Code or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Mr. McKay does not limit his practice to the defence of those charged in Alberta. He has also represented clients charged with serious criminal offences in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Further, he has consulted on a matter where his client was charged in the State of Colorado.
Ian McKay has developed an expertise in the defence of complex criminal prosecutions. Whether it be arguing in the Supreme Court of Canada in the evolving area of electronic search limitations under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, litigating complex drug prosecutions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, or defending those charged with corporate crimes, Ian McKay has been sought out as to go to person for the defence of complex criminal defences.
Ian McKay has practiced with some of the top criminal lawyers in Canada. Prior to forming McKay Criminal Defence, he practiced with the legendary C.D. Evans, Q.C. , Patrick C. Fagan, Q.C. and A. Clayton Rice, Q.C. at the firm Evans Fagan Rice McKay.
Ian McKay's Selected Cases
R v A.B.
After a major drug investigation in Saskatchewan, A.B. was charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and marijuana, directing a criminal organization, possession of proceeds of crime and a number of weapons related offences. Mr. McKay was immediately retained for the purposes of securing his release and to defend A.B. on the merits.
The police investigation involved approximately 22 warrants to seize various items, 2 authorizations to intercept private communications (wiretap orders) and numerous police and civilian witnesses. Mr. McKay and Ms. Ferg ran a preliminary inquiry during which a number of key police witnesses were cross-examined. At the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, the Crown decided that they would not proceed on the conspiracy to traffic in marijuana charge and the various weapons charges. Shortly thereafter, the Crown also decided not to proceed on the criminal organization charges.
The first pre-trial motion was conducted over two weeks and involved challenging the legality of 7 searches. These searches were critical as they formed the foundation for the later wiretaps and numerous production orders. All of these searches were ruled illegal as they breached A.B.’s section 8 Charter rights. As a result of the successful motion, the Crown agreed to withdraw all of the remaining serious charges and the matter was resolved.
R v O.V.
O.V. was charged with various offences related to child pornography found on his computer. This case involved complex and nuanced technical and legal issues. The technical aspects included expert evidence on computer forensic analysis, peer-to-peer programs, computer memory and specialized software. Legally, the case involved numerous search and privacy issues.
Mr. McKay and Ms. Ferg represented O.V. at preliminary inquiry and trial. At trial, O.V. was found not guilty of accessing and trafficking in child pornography but guilty of possession. This conviction was appealed and a 3-member panel of the Alberta Court of Appeal unanimously agreed that O.V. should not have been convicted. The conviction was quashed and the Court entered an acquittal. The Crown was not pleased with this outcome and has appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
R v A.L.
A.L. was charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime in relation to a “random” traffic stop on a Saturday night. After securing his release, Mr. McKay immediately began negotiations with Crown counsel which resulted in a referral to alternative measure and the charges being withdrawn.
R v P.L.
P.L. was charged with possession of nearly 2 oz of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and an possession of a prohibited weapon after the police searched his vehicle. The matter was set for trial but Mr. McKay was able to persuade the Crown to withdraw the charges prior to the trial date.
R v D.K.
D.K. was charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 after a traffic stop. Mr. McKay filed a Charter motion alleging a breach of D.K.’s section 10(b) Charter right to counsel. The Crown agreed to withdraw all of the charges without having to proceed to trial.