Nova Scotia Archives

Viola Irene Desmond

2015 Honouree, Nova Scotia Heritage Day


RG 39 C volume 937 Supreme Court 13347

Number Title Note Date filed
1  Information and complaint  An 'information' is a charge against someone, lodged with a court.   8 November 1946 
2  [Stipendiary] Magistrate's record of proceedings  'Stipendiary Magistrate' is the equivalent of today's Provincial Court judge.   9 November 1946 
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  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.   24 December 1946 
5  Notice of Motion, affidavits of Viola Desmond, other affidavit, and exhibits for Writ of Certiorari - to be heard 10 January 1947  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  27 December 1946 
6  Letter, Rod[erick] G MacKay, Stipendiary Magistrate, enclosing original documents outlined above  Includes copies of documents served. Duplicates of Document 1, 2 and 5.   2 January 1947 
7  Affidavit of Service to Stipendiary Magistrate MacKay (dated 6 January 1947)  Service' is delivery in person, of a notice to appear in court.  7 January 1947 
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  Includes copies of documents served. Duplicates of Documents 1, 2 and 5.   7 January 1947 
10  Decision of Justice Archibald regarding Writ of Certiorari  A 'decision' is the judgment of a court.   20 January 1947 
11  Letter, Deputy Prothonotary to E.M. MacDonald, New Glasgow, sending copy of Archibald's Decision  A 'Prothonotary' is the senior administrator of a superior court.   20 January 1947 
12  Letter, F.W. Bissett to Deputy Prothonotary, enclosing Notice of appeal  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.  21 January 1947 
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  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).   10 March 1947 
17  Decision of Justice Graham on Appeal (dated 28 March 1947)    17 May 1947 
18  Opinion of Justice Doull (dated 5 April 1947)  An 'Opinion' is a formal statement by a sitting justice, concurring in or dissenting from the judgment of the appeal court.   17 May 1947 
19  Opinion of Justice Carroll (dated 18 April 1947)    17 May 1947 
20  Opinion of Justice Hall (dated 3 May 1947)  Document missing from the file.*  17 May 1947 


* 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.