Tessmer Law Offices



Welcome to Tessmer Law Offices

When your liberty, livelihood, family or assets are on the line, think of Tessmer Law Offices.  Our philosophy, 'When losing is not an option' really says it all.  We are a small group of highly motivated and skilled lawyers who work with you to get the results you need. Whether the government is trying to take and keep your assets or whether they are trying to put you in jail, we do whatever it takes under our constitution to make sure that doesn't happen. We leave no stone unturned to fight your legal battles. Browse the site to meet the lawyers, hear about some of our battles, and get updates on important legal issues of our time. Or, join the dialogue on Twitter and check out our Facebook page. While no lawyer can guarantee a win in Court a wise person makes sure he has a skilled advocate by his side to ensure the best possible outcome. 


Civil Forfeiture Law

This is the newest weapon in the British Columbia government’s arsenal   to take your assets. Even if you don’t get charged with a crime, the police may seize your money, your valuables, and even your house, if they can prove that it was probably used for a criminal purpose. The Civil Forfeiture Act gives wide powers to the ‘Director’ of Civil Forfeiture to commence lawsuits against your property to lead to a forfeiture.

In a recent case where the police tried to seize our client’s home, we were able to get the case dropped because the police violated our client’s rights in the process of executing a search warrant for a marihuana grow operation. The law of civil forfeiture is evolving and in order to protect your assets, you need someone knowledgeable in this area.

If you have a legal issue you want a Civil Forfeiture lawyer to help with, ASK NOW!


Criminal Law

Criminal defence is our passion and we defend against charges of all kinds.  If you are facing charges for assault, theft, impaired driving, drug-related offences, driving while prohibited, or any other crime, we can help. 

Our criminal defence practice has successfully defended our client’s at all court levels in Canada including the British Columbia Provincial and Supreme Courts, the British Columbia Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. 

We are at the forefront of “cutting edge” law and our criminal defence lawyers keep apprised of new developments in both statute and the common law.   We are constantly researching new laws and even have our own internal library filled with case precedents and authorities that we will rely on when we defend you. If you have a defence, we will find it and we will get you results. 

We also understand that financing can be a concern for many people facing criminal charges. One thing clients often worry about when deciding whether to get a lawyer is the “hidden costs” that other firms may charge. You can put this concern aside when you come to Tessmer Law Offices as our criminal defence lawyers offer “flat-rate billing”. This means that the amount we quote you at the outset is the amount you’ll pay for our services when we resolve your matter. We also offer three highly capable criminal defence lawyers with varying experience; we surely have a lawyer who can suit your financial constraints and satisfy your legal needs. 

To find out more information from one of our criminal defence lawyers, ASK NOW


Is DNA evidence alone enough to convict?

R. v. O'Brien, 2011 SCC 29

So Mr. Justice Binnie gets it right while other justices from the SCC move things one step further away from ensuring Canadians have a fair trial. In a recent decision, R. v. O'Brien, 2011 SCC 29, the defendant was convicted by nothing more than a finding of his DNA on a mask found nearby a crime scene.  But what was really proven by that fact? Only that he wore it or had it in his possession at some point in time. There can be no question that the mask was used in the commission of the crime, but there was no evidence as to when the defendant wore it – could have been days or months prior. The sloppy use of the bad character evidence issue aside, I’m still left even with that character evidence in to wonder how the Court possibly found that to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But what about the evidence of bad character that never should have been heard at trial? Did it taint the judge’s mind into prejudging the defendant as a guilty man? Maybe. We don’t know since the judge never actually referred to it in His decision. For that reason, the majority of the SCC judicially “cured” the defect relying on the ever-wonderful curative proviso of the Criminal Code – s.686(1)(b)(iii) – which, in layman’s terms, effectively says: “yeah the judge screwed up, but the defendant was clearly guilty, so no big deal”.

I guess what’s most interesting about this case is that it shows just how far the law is being stretched in recent years to apply this curative proviso and avoid retrials even when they’re necessary. Recently, our office applied for leave to the SCC to argue an appeal where the trial judge applied this provision to save a trial where he had no jurisdiction to even hear the trial. Our client was required to have a jury trial; instead, he was tried by a judge sitting alone. Instead of granting him his right to a trial by a jury of his peers, the SCC denied leave and so the conviction was upheld. On the plus side society didn’t need to spend more money running the same trial again; on the down side, the intrinsic value of the need for a jury was severely undermined.

While I don’t disagree with the application of this curative proviso in some cases, it should be reserved only for those trials where the evidence is so overwhelmingly conclusive of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt notwithstanding the error that to re-try it would absolutely be a waste of judicial resources. In O’Brien’s case, however, his conviction was based “entirely” on identification evidence proving only that he was in contact with the mask at some point in time, but not that he necessarily was the one wearing it at the time of the crime. The judge heard evidence which tended to label O’Brien as a “bad guy” and perhaps partly based on that, he was convicted despite the weak evidence. I agree with Mr. Justice Binne that the conviction was not necessarily inevitable. As he says: “Trial judges may be presumed to know the law but occasionally they misapply it. Otherwise there would be no need for appellate courts.” Apparently the SCC sometimes makes mistakes too.



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Tessmer Law Offices
272 Bernard Avenue,
Kelowna, British Columbia
V1Y 6N4


tel. 250-762-6747
fax. 250-762-3163

email. [email protected]

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