Keith Bracken joined the RCMP in 1963 at the age of 18. He served in uniform for 9 years before going to university and earning a law degree in 1976. He was appointed a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia in 1991 and in 2007 was elevated to the Supreme Court of British Columbia where he sat until his retirement in 2018.
Judge Bracken is a rare individual who can speak from experience about life on the beat, at the bar, and on the bench.
Speaking with Keith about the life of a Mountie in the 1960s and early 1970s is nothing short of amazing - for better or worse it was a very different landscape back then. His training, his responsibilities as a member, and the nature and risk profile of the work back then is very different than it is now.
As he transitioned to other aspects of law enforcement (first as counsel, and later as a judge and justice) it is apparent he never lost the common touch.
Keith's daughter, also a member of the RCMP, is currently serving as an instructor at Depot.
4:02 - All mounties learned horseback riding in early 1960s
6:40 - RCMP application process took 11 months
7:08 - A day in the life of a cadet in the 1960s
11:30 - Mounties could be fired, but couldn’t quit unless they purchased their discharge
16:10 - Transition out of RCMP
19:00 - purchased discharge from RCMP to go to University of Sask
21:00 - Mounties in this era prosecuted many of their own cases - including drunk driving and assault
25:45 - Graduates law school and obtains articles in Victoria. Called to bar in 1977.
27:25 - Pathway to provincial judgeship
30:34 - Anyone teach you how to be a judge? (not really)
39:15 - Cases involving children the hardest to decide
43:10 - Experience as a police officer useful experience as a judge
45:20 - Elevation to BC Supreme Court
47:15 - Difference between BCPC and BCSC
48:40 - Faith in the jury system
50:59 - A day in the life of a BCSC justice
59:40 - BC Courtroom procedure - forms of address, communications with bench, dress and decorum
1:02:34 - Barristers meeting with judges in their chambers?
1:09 - Final reflections on rural policing
Under Reserve thanks Justice (Constable) Bracken for his time, and his service,