Profile: Tony Serka

A lawyer who believes that “the worst thing to do is not try,” Tony Serka fights for the rights of his clients.

  • Born and raised in the east side of Vancouver.
  • Graduated from the University of British Columbia Law School in 1969.
  • Articled at Guild Yule & Company, after which he immediately went into private criminal trial defence practice with Louis Shelling forming  “Serka & Shelling”.
  • Won a landmark case in the Supreme Court of Canada, eight years after he was called to the British Columbia Bar. That case and Mr. Serka were subsequently featured in a one-hour television program named” History’s Courtroom” in 2000 on the History Channel network.  Regina v Hutt [1978]2 S.C.R. 476
  • After the advent of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he successfully argued that the minimum penalty in the importing of narcotics provision in the Narcotic Control Act was contrary to the Charter.This case, Regina v Dewey Smith defined the term “cruel and unusual punishment” which comprised section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. R. v. Smith (Edward Dewey) [1987] 1 S.C.R. 1045
  • Was the first lawyer in Canada to challenge Bill C-49 in 1986.
  • Has been successful in a number of major trials of criminal charges such as murder, trafficking in narcotics, conspiracy to traffic narcotics, break and enter, robbery, sexual assault, dangerous driving and impaired driving causing bodily harm.
  • Served as a faculty instructor for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia workshop, The Winning Advocacy Skills Workshop. These classes, which were attended by both law students and lawyers, focused on trial strategy and tactics and especially cross-examination.
  • Has been guest Judge at the Professional Legal Training Course for articling law students.

Other Notable Cases

  • Claire Wilson
  • Connie Chartrand
  • Curtis Mason
  • Donald Woodbury

On The Lighter Side

  • Serka has been a radio guest on various radio stations in Vancouver and New York, on the subject of “Trivia”.
  • In the late 1970’s, Serka and two fellow criminal lawyers (Brian Jackson and Henry Brown), became the “Earls of Esoterica” and entered the CBC-TV’s “Trivia” Show. For two consecutive years they were the B.C. Winners on the Red Robinson-hosted television show.  Subsequently in 1984, they invented and published the music trivia board game called “Billboard” presents “Top 40 Trivia” by the Earls of Esoterica.  In 1985 the magazine “Games” selected it for its Games 100 list, the top games of 1985.
  • Serka has been the host of “The Hit & Miss Parade Show” on COOP Radio in Vancouver since the mid 1990’s, and continues to do so to this day.