David William Ramsay is a name lawyers in Prince George would certainly like to forget; and, for that matter, every lawyer in British Columbia. Judicial misconduct like anything else, comes in a range from the lazy judge who does not read affidavit material before attending chambers to the extremely rare but most egregious case of David Ramsay.

David Ramsey was born in Halifax Nova Scotia 1943 and moved to Puerto Bernie with his family after the war. He obtained an education degree from the University of Victoria and from 1964 to 1966, he taught elementary school. He then returned to the University of Victoria and obtained a law degree and then he moved Prince George, where he opened a legal aid office 1973. In 1975, he got married and had four children.

In 1991, he was appointed to the provincial Court of British Columbia.

Ramsay was a provincial court judge sitting in Prince George in the 1990s. Subsequent investigations disclosed that he engaged in sexual activities with aboriginal prostitutes who apparently were as young as 12 at the time of the assaults.

One of the counts in the indictment referred to the sexual assault of a 16-year-old aboriginal woman adding:


“The accused picked up J., an aboriginal/Metis woman, then 16 years old, off the street in Prince George.  He took her in his truck about four miles out of town into the woods.  There they agreed on $150 for sex.  She took off her clothes, but when she reached for a condom he became enraged.  He slammed her head on the dashboard, causing her forehead to bleed.  After some struggle, she made it out of the truck. 

However, he caught up with her and pinned her to the ground.  He slapped her across the face and proceeded to penetrate her with his penis as she cried.  He got up, threw her clothes out of the truck and left.  No money changed hands.  She made her way back to the highway and hitchhiked back to town.  Over a year later, J. struggled with the fact that the accused presided over a case conference concerning the custody her son.

In September 2002, he attempted suicide, some six weeks after receiving the indictment.

Ramsay was sentenced to seven years in 2008, he died of cancer in jail. He had pleaded guilty in 2004 two sexual assault on several counts, with minors, between 1992 and 2001. To his great credit, when Ramsay was sentenced on June 1, 2004, before Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm did not sentence the disgraced judge to five years as he could have done but instead imposed a sentence of seven years on several counts.

In 2007, at the age of 64, only three years into his seven-year sentence, applied for day parole relying on humanitarian grounds that he was afflicted with cancer.


Rsferences & Citations


  • R V Ramsay, 13 BCAC 176
  • R. v. Ramsay, 2004 BCSC 756 {available on the Internet and accessed therefrom on October 8, 2014 at https://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcsc/doc/2004/2004bcsc756/2004bcsc756.html}