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19 March 2019

Ludmila Herbst, Q.C., Authors “Habeas Corpus and the Escape of Charles Mitchell”

The March 2019 issue of The Advocate includes Farris partner Ludmila Herbst, Q.C.’s work on how early members of Vancouver Island’s legal community played a role in the Pacific version of the “underground railroad” just before the start of the U.S. Civil War.  Her piece, found in the “Legal Anecdotes and Miscellanea” section of the magazine, tells the story of a young slave named Charles Mitchell, who escaped via U.S. mail steamer in September 1860 from Olympia.  The ship was destined for Victoria but by the time it arrived there, he was being held under lock and key, destined for return to the Washington Territory.  With the help of members of Victoria’s black population (up to twenty-five per cent of the city’s total population at the time), local members of the bar, and the storied writ of habeas corpus, he was freed.  See for this remarkable chapter of B.C.’s legal history (2019) 77 Advocate 295.

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