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Tonii K. Roulston

Named by the Calgary Herald in 2007 as a “Compelling Calgarian” to watch, Tonii Roulston has since built a reputation as a tough criminal lawyer known for her strategic thinking and effectiveness in the courtroom. Devoting her entire legal career of 21 years to defending people charged with criminal offences, Tonii Roulston’s career has been defined by taking on a variety of tough and high-profile cases. She defends the rights of clients who are accused of the most serious charges such as murder and sexual assaults, but also a range from domestic assaults to firearm charges. She recently successfully defended the rights of a young man charged with refusal while driving a tractor in the Didsbury area.

Currently, Tonii conducts about 2-3 homicide trials per year to ensure she can devote time to all the clients who have put their trust in her. She considers every charge she defends just as serious, as the consequences to the client can have a lasting impact.

Tonii’s experience in high profile cases and her vast experience with serious charges, gives her a unique perspective to ensure that she will develop a strategic plan for success in your case, no matter what you have been charged with.

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Trial Lawyer

Over the last 20 years, including 3 years at Student Legal Assistance as a law student and 1 year at Calgary Legal Guidance as an articling student, Tonii Roulston’s practice has focused primarily on defending individuals, both adult and youth, at the trial level. She has successfully defended individuals against all criminal offences including: murder, organized crime, sexual assault, impaired driving/DRE, drug offences, domestic assault, white collar crime, child pornography, and internet based crimes. She prides herself on defending all of her clients with the same level of intensity and professionalism regardless of the charges they face.

Tonii Roulston has defined her career defending some of the highest profile and difficult sexual assault cases. She understands that just the allegations of sexual assault could change your life forever. If you have been charged with a sex crime, you want an experienced Defence lawyer who will protect your rights, cross examine the so-called “victim” with vigor and make sure you get to tell your side of the story. Tonii Roulston truly cares about the effect on your life before, during and after the accusation, the charges and the trial. Tonii Roulston has tried numerous sexual assault cases winning outright acquittals when other lawyers thought the case was impossible to win.

In a recent interview, Criminal Defence Lawyer, Tonii K. Roulston said, “Accusations of sexual assault are the easiest accusations to make-up, because the so-called victim is automatically believed often times without proper investigation. As soon as this occurs, the accused person should contact a lawyer so that we can start our own investigation and take the offensive.” Tonii Roulston has serious concerns and skepticism regarding the “I believe you” and “Me too” campaigns that may hinder the accused’s right to a fair trial.

Tonii Roulston has defended several violent offences including domestic violence to murder/manslaughter charges successfully with positive results. These types of offences require your lawyer to consider every possible defence due to the seriousness of the charge. If you are charged with a domestic assault, Tonii will walk you through the process and tell you what you need to do to defend the charge and how to obtain a successful outcome, which often results in no criminal record.

Tonii Roulston has successfully defended a wide range of different types of drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl etc. with varying quantities from small amounts to pounds and kilograms. Even the smallest amount of drugs can affect your life if you obtain a criminal record; it is critical that a drug lawyer who has experience in these matters utilizes every defence available. Tonii Roulston will seek to find a defence to your drug matter that may include: fighting a Search Warrant or Wire Tap; making a Charter Application to exclude the drug evidence; arguing possession, and arguing that the police did not follow proper procedures.

Tonii Roulston has defended a range of murder cases; from the most complicated first-degree murder cases involving firearms, wiretap and undercover operations by police officers; to manslaughters and assaults involving knife fights. Tonii Roulston has defended a murder case successfully where the client was found unfit to stand trial, thus avoiding jail. She has had a manslaughter case withdrawn by the Crown Prosecutor. She has had second-degree murder charges reduced to manslaughter, and another second degree murder charge withdrawn.

In the infamous FOB and FK gang-related homicides, Tonii had 3 first-degree murder charges reduced to 1 second-degree murder. She has defended a conspiracy to commit murder charge that resulted in an acquittal.

In a recent interview, when asked to comment about her role as a Defence lawyer, Tonii Roulston stated: “I have chosen to be a Defence lawyer, not a Crown prosecutor, because I have always believed it is my responsibility as the Defence lawyer to protect my clients from the state and to ensure that their rights are protected every step of the process – sometimes we are all they have”.

Criminal Law Experience

Given her experience, Tonii Roulston is often consulted by organizations and media to comment on developments in the law, including recently in September last year on the Danielle Smith show, she was asked to comment on the aggressive conduct of the Sheriffs in arresting her client while driving a tractor. Tonii stated “the concern is lack of training – if the Sheriffs or Police are to have that kind of power and discretion they need to be properly trained”.

Successfully defending criminal cases involves a commitment to stay on top of new legal developments as well as advancements in investigative techniques. Tonii Roulston’s membership to the largest organization for Criminal Defence lawyers in the United States (National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers (NACDL)) has enabled her to do this. Through her attendance in a number of conferences throughout the United States, including: “Defending Drug Cases”, “Forensic Science and the Law” and “Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault and Child Victims Cases”, Ms. Roulston has developed advanced cross-examination techniques and in depth knowledge of a variety of psychological and medical defences. Tonii has attended the Forensic Science conference in Las Vegas that consisted of sessions in defending against expert evidence called by the Crown; DNA analysis in sexual assault charges etc.; Drug Recognition Evaluations (DRE) in impaired driving and marihuana charges; Firearms Analysis and Cell phone/Mobile Forensics; and Pathologists in homicide charges.

Education and background

Tonii Roulston received her Bachelor of Law from the University of Calgary in 2003.  She also received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Calgary where she majored in Political Science and minored in Economics.

Tonii volunteered with the Dare to Dream Program teaching junior high students at A. E. Cross and G.P. Vanier schools how to conduct mock criminal trials. Tonii was a member of the Board of Directors at Simon House Recovery Center. She is a supporter of the Calgary Drug Treatment Court, Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC), the Enbridge Famous Five, The International Women’s Foundation (IWF), Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, YMCA Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Humane Society, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (W.S.P.A.). She is also a supporter of Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), Contemporary Calgary, and PARKLUXE fashion events. She was recently named one of Avenue Magazine’s Best Dressed 2018.

Tonii is also a member of the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association, the Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyers Association, and the National Association of Defence Lawyers in the United States.

Recent criminal cases

R v Y.N. [Youth – Drumheller Provincial Court]

Sexual Assault – Result: Peace Bond & No Criminal Record

The young person was charged with sexual assault. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii secured a peace bond for her client. The client avoided a jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v S.W. [Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench]

The client was found guilty of 1st degree murder. Tonii Roulston and Andrea Urquhart represented the client. Despite a Mr. Big confession, the jury took 3 days to render their verdict.

The matter is currently under Appeal.

R v Y.P. [Canmore Provincial Court]

Impaired & Over 80 – Result: Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

The client, who was an Ivy league school graduate, was charged with impaired driving and driving over 80. The matter was scheduled for trial. After Tonii Roulston filed a brief of law about the manner in which his Charter rights had been infringed, the charges were withdrawn and the client did not receive a criminal record.

R v K.L. [Okotoks Provincial Court – Youth]

Sexual Assault – Result: Charges With drawn & No Criminal Record

The youth client was charged with sexual assault. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and set the matter for trial. Tonii Roulston then entered into rigorous negotiations with the Crown and successfully resolved the charges in advance of trial. Upon completion of counselling, the charge of sexual assault was withdrawn. The client avoided a lengthy jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v E.T. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Domestic Assault – Result: Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

The client was charged with assault against his former domestic partner. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered into negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii Roulston successfully advocated for the client’s charges to be withdrawn upon completion of counselling. The client avoided a jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.