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Tribute to Justice Paul Bentley (R.I.P)

 

Dear colleagues from the international community:

We learned today about Paul Bentley’s death. Our friend Paul, our dear Justice Bentley, touched so many of us along his life, in so many ways. Those of us who have had the pleasure and honor of working with him and knowing him will miss his smile, sense of humor, enthusiasm for life, and everlasting curiosity. We shall miss him, above all, as a man, a friend, and a champion of drug treatment courts.

Professionally, we are forever in his debt for making possible for us to know and talk to each other. Paul was one of the first to believe that there should be a network of people sharing a common goal. Besides his family, the drug treatment court movement was one of his passions: he invested time and energy to launch a drug court in Canada, and created the International Association of Drug Treatment Courts (IADTC).

Paul contributed to the drug treatment court concept and practice in a real tangible way. He was a leader in convincing policy makers and professionals from all over the world, and in particular in the Americas, that investing in drug treatment courts was worthwhile. He trained and worked with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers, police officers, and many more, and gave of himself freely, while doing so. In his day-to-day life as a drug treatment court judge in Toronto, he saw that his approach gave drug-dependent offenders a second chance.

Paul, we will miss you immensely. To his wife, daughters and entire family, our deepest and most sincere condolences on your sad loss.

Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD)
Secretariat for Multidimensional Security
Organization of American States


This morning (Friday, June 10, 2011) my close friend and DTC pioneer Justice Paul Bentley lost his battle with cancer. This is a profound loss on a personal and professional level. Paul’s courage, compassion, kindness and eternal optimism was always evident in his dealings with others and during his long illness.

To say that he will be missed is an understatement. We honour him by carrying on our commitment to the ideals and values he stood for one of which is the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the human spirit through the innovative program called Drug Treatment Courts.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones and family.

“Rest in peace my friend your journey is at an end. It was a pleasure and privilege to have known you.”

I will provide further details later.

Thank you

Mr. Justice Kofi Barnes
Chair
Canadian Association of Drug Treatment Courts.


I was away for part of Friday and so did not receive the very sad news of Justice Paul Bentley's death until this morning when I came into work. This is a very big loss not only to Canadian DTC's, but also to the international DTC movement, as is made plain by the numerous and eloquent tributes to Paul that are pouring in from DTC colleagues from around the world. Paul was a true pioneer for drug treatment courts, and he has done Canada very proud with his international achievements. His vision and humanity will be greatly missed. The best thing we can do to honor Paul is to ensure by our efforts that his vision continues, both here in Canada and abroad. My sincerest condolences go out to his wife Sally and the rest of his family.

The Hon. Jim J. Ogle
Provincial Court of Alberta


The Jamaica Judiciary is saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Justice Paul Bentley. We will be eternally grateful for his contribution to the drug treatment courts. We express our condolences to his wife and other members of his family. We will forever cherish his memory and the work that he did to address the challenges of persons who came before the court as a result of drug addiction.

Best wishes
Zaila McCalla O.J.
Chief Justice
Jamaica


Like all of you I am very saddened to learn of the death of Paul Bentley. I cannot imagine that he can be replaced easily if at all such was his incredible commitment selflessness and work ethic in the interest of the DTC. He was a special man, a dear and wonderful colleague, who carried the burden of his illness so lightly. His loss to the organisation is immense. To his family it is immeasurable. Much as I feel I cannot do justice to the memory of this wonderful man in this short message I would hope that my and our expressions of regard and deep sympathy will be conveyed to the family. May he rest in peace. Sincerely.

Bridget Reilly - Judge (formerly Dublin DTC)
Dublin, Ireland


On behalf of the Cayman Islands Judiciary, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at the passing of our dear friend and colleague Justice Paul Bentley. 

Paul was a true pioneer of the Drug Treatment Court philosophy and programme. His prototype court in Toronto became under his wise, kind and insightful stewardship, a model not only for adoption across his native Canada - itself a remarkable accomplishment - but for the establishment of others overseas as well. These include the Cayman Islands where our formal program, now in it's 4th year, was made workable only with the benefit of Paul's guidance and unfailing support. In addition to hosting some of us in Toronto for hands on practical experience, twice he and his entire team (very notably including Justice Kofi Barnes as lead prosecutor as he then was) were good enough to present workshops in Grand Cayman. The result has been our institutional ability, across the spectrum of relevant disciplines, to legislate, establish and operate our own DTCs, already with notable success. 

I feel privileged to have been able to develop a personal acquaintance with Paul through working together on the Cayman programme. He never failed to impress as a thoughtful, generous and may I say - patient - man - truly passionate in his belief and dedication to his cause.

His friends and colleagues in the Cayman Islands will always remember his indispensable contribution to our own works and efforts in this part of the vineyard, and we express our thanks to Paul's family and colleagues on behalf of the many who will benefit here, from them having shared him with us.

Anthony Smellie
Chief Justice
The Cayman Islands


I concur with all that has been said by my sister Her Honour Ms. Winsome Henry from Jamaica. Indeed I must mention the deep appreciation we have for what Justice Bentley did for the Drug Court movement in Jamaica. I first met him in 2001 and he inspired in me and others a love for the Drug Treatment Court concept. His passion was passed on so many years ago and we hope his legacy will live on in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean. 

I must make mention of what I now know must have been a tremendous sacrifice on his part to come to Jamaica in February of this year to present to us on Drug Courts. He did so without making any mention of any illness. It was only when he was leaving and I enquired of him that he mentioned his health. We are indebted to him for this. We will certainly miss him. 

Stephane Haisley
Drug Treatment Court Justice
Kingston, Jamaica


This is heartbreaking news to us at NADCP. Absolutely heartbreaking.

My best,

West

West Huddleston
CEO National Association of Drug Court Professionals


As is well-known, Mr. Justice Paul Bentley was the presiding judge of the first Drug Treatment Court in Canada, located in Toronto. As an Assistant Crown Attorney, I have had the privilege and pleasure of working as part of the Drug Treatment Court Team with Justice Bentley at the helm, in his home jurisdiction. The Drug Treatment Court Team worked closely with Justice Bentley each week, with some members having done so since the Drug Treatment Court began operating in 1998. We all feel such a tremendous sense of loss at this time. We have all lost our leader, for whom everyone had such high regard, an enormous amount of respect, and great affection. When we bore witness to the sorrow expressed by past and present Drug Treatment Court participants whose lives have been transformed under the umbrella of Justice Bentley's court, we saw and heard such incredibly powerful testaments to the difference he made in so many peoples' lives. His Honour’s caring, compassionate manner and the way in which he touched the lives of everyone around him, will always be fondly remembered by all of us.

Justice Bentley shared his enthusiasm for this great cause, not only at home, but around the world, both in person, and through the foundation of the International Association of Drug Treatment Courts and its website. His commitment to this work was remarkable and he inspired all of us to do more to contribute to achievements in this area.

Justice Bentley will always be remembered for his tireless dedication and his kind humanity and I know that we will continue on with our best efforts in honour of his memory.

Joanne Capozzi
Assistant Crown Attorney
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


I would like to pay a personal tribute to Judge Bentley. I first met Judge Bentley in Toronto in 2006 and had the pleasure of attending his Drug Treatment Court sitting. I was struck by the compassionate way in which he dealt with drug dependent offenders. I was fortunate enough to work with Paul at conferences and will be eternally grateful for his support and encouragement.

His goal was to establish DTC internationally. I am sure that all persons involved in DTC will continue Judge Bentley's work and passion. He assisted Jamaica in establishing our DTC. He paid us many visits and was recently here in January 2011 to assist in further training of DTC's personnel. He was so dedicated to his work, a few years ago he was on holiday in Jamaica and he attended a DTC session in Montego Bay on 14 February Valenetine's Day! He will be sadly missed by us all.

Winsome Henry
Former Member of IADTC


I was saddened by the news of Justice Bentley, he was such a beautifuland caring person, he will be greatly missed. Please offer condolence to his family on behalf of my husband and myself.

Thora Richards Palmer
Montego Bay, Jamaica


I've just received the message from Paddy and everyone else, on my return from the South of France and was very sad to hear of Paul's premature passing.

I first met him in 2003 and spent many happy sojourns with him at various Conferences in a number of US cities and although I couldn't convince him that I had retired 3 years ago and, working part-time as a judge, I could not continue as a Drug Court judge, I enjoyed his messages which I continued to receive. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife on a plane from Marseille a couple of years ago, near which I now spend half of each month in my French home and despite our promises, we never did meet up again in Provence.

I associate myself with all the wonderful comments of colleagues made in his memory and pass my deepest condolences to his wife and family.

Sincerely

Brian (Donald)
Sheriff Donald BG
Scotland


Dear Colleagues,

It is with the deepest sadness that I have learnt of the death of our dear friend.I met Justice Paul Bentley first in 2008 in St.Louis Missouri.I felt that I already knew him because we had been in contact with the Board meetings and by email.His contribution to the drug courts was exceptional.He kept us all informed about the work.It is such a pity that he was taken from us at such a young age.

Our sympathy goes to his family.I think we should consider a fitting memorial to his memory.
He was certainly an exceptional Judge and human being.We have a saying in Ireland that the good die young.He is a perfect example of that.

May God hold him in the palm of his hand and may he rest in peace amen.
Good luck to all of you.

Sincerely,
Paddy McMahon.

Patrick J McMahon (Judge)
District No. 10
Ireland


Dear all, this is just so sad. I am away on leave and so will find a beautiful peaceful church in Switzerland and light a candle to a man who mentored me in some difficult times in our quest to do more with the justice system.

Roger dive (Judge), Australia


I too am so very sad to hear of the passing of our friend and colleague Paul Bentley. He was an inspiration to so many of us who would not have had either the courage or ability to connect in the early days of problem solving courts. He will be greatly missed by so many.

Sherry VandeVeen
Alberta Courts, Canada


My heart is heavy with the news of Justice Bentley. I remember the time that you, Justice Bentley
and your team spent with us in Buffalo, as your team was planning the Toronto Drug Treatment Court. Our friendship, and my love and respect for my comrade Justice Bentley blossomed, year after year. We in Buffalo as well as nationally, and internationally, will miss him greatly. If there is anything that I or my team from Buffalo can do for his family, please advise. Until we meet again

Judge Robert Russell
Buffalo Treatment Courts
Buffalo, New York


We in Scotland also benefitted immensely from Paul's wise counsel and support, particularly in the early days when the Glasgow and Fife Drugs Courts were being set up. We were deeply saddened to learn of his death. He was a very special person whose dedication, commitment and, above all, compassion were sources of inspiration to us all. He will, indeed, be greatly missed.

Sheriff Linda Ruxton
Glasgow Drugs Court


Besides everything that was already mentioned about our Friend Justice Paul Bentley, I would like to add that thanks to him all of us are bellonging to this wonderful professional and personal network working for so important mission which is DTC.

On behalf of the Brazilian Association of Therapeutic Justice I would like to state that thanks to Paul and his team, Brazil could significatively improve on DTC Movement.

Our condolencies to his family.

Ricardo de Oliveira Silva
ABJT, Chair, Brazil


I am so sorry to hear of Justice Bentley's passing. Allow me to express sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Justice Bentley, on behalf of the staff of the St. James DTC, Montego Bay, Jamaica. He gave so much to DTCs in Canada and internationally and this gift that he bequeathed to us during his lifetime will live on forever as his legacy.

Vivene J. Harris
Senior Resident Magistrate
St. James


I am so sad to hear this news. Paul was the first judge from a foreign jurisdiction that I met after being appointed to the Community Court here in Liverpool. I heard him speak at the Commonwealth Institute in London in 2004 and was inspired by his approach and felt supported in my role by an experienced judge singing from the same song sheet. Our paths were to cross many times during the years that followed and I have always been supported by him despite the geographic constraints upon us. I will remember him as a dedicated professional who cared deeply about the people with who’s lives he became interconnected. He was a great exemplar of what we all aspire to. May he rest in peace.

HHJ David Fletcher CBE
Community Justice Centre, North Liverpool


All the mexican team involved in DTC programs feels deeply sorry about this great loss. Justice Paul Bentley was a wonderfull person, always teaching and sharing all his great knowoledege and experiences; besides he had a warm and generous personality. I had the great honour of working him in many forums, and I specially remember the EU-LAC Forum in Ghent, Belgium, where we presented together the international experiences in DTC. I was very worried because I felt like an amateur playing besides Judge Bentley in "Major Leagues". But he, always with his enormous kindness, made me feel well and confident.

The last time I met him we were in Washington D.C. in November, where he was talking about the importance of spreading the DTC models or any other justice model which impulses and involves the rehabilitation of people and its benefits in order to construct a better world. He also was very interested in the way that Latinamerica was dealing with the DTC programs. He wanted to come to Mexico; I am sure he is now with us...

We will always remember him,

Luz García Rivas
Mexico


I am deeply touched by the news of Justice Paul Bentley's departure, gone but never be forgotten. It is a great loss especially for all of us in Jamaica. Jamaica Drug Court, the proof of Justice Reform under Therapeutic Jurisprudence principles, was born and guided by the team headed by Justice Paul Bentley way back in 2001. After a decade, most recently in February 2011, he and the team again visited and assisted to train more professionals to move further steps. We are indeed very grateful for his effort, professionalism, dedication and most of all "passion" with soft, gentle and very attentative personality to help those offenders to give alternative than incarceration.
Myself and all members of the Jamaica Drug Court Team highly recognized his service rendered to our nation building. We will certainly miss him. It is for all of us to keep his vision and dream alive with wonderful memories of him. Jamaica pays tribute and will always remember his contribution. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr. Myo Kyaw Oo
Jamaica


The Drug Treatment Court has lost one of it's great founding father, but his legacy will live on. His passion has ignited others that will carry the torch forward. R.I.P.

My prayers are with his family.

Renita Gordon
Drug Treatment Court
Jamaica


If I may add a personal note, I am saddened by this terrible loss. I first met Justice Bentley in 2001 in Jamaica. I was always touched by his generosity in spirit and personal kindness. My condolences to his family and many friends.

Nova Hall
Cayman Islands


I had tried to post my own tribute to Paul, as well as my sincere condolences to his family, on the website of the funeral directors. Probably as a result of my own lack of skill I have been unable to do so. So I shall post here to colleagues what my thoughts are and have been on Paul's passing.

As I have explained to many of you when we have met at conferences under Paul's leadership, to my active regret the concept of the DTC is still relatively unknown in my jurisdiction. Indeed, while there is one drug court in West London, and the practice in David Fletcher's court in North Liverpool gets relatively close to the concept which Paul and most of you would recognise, the holistic approach of a DTC, and specifically the way in which it is a diversion from mainstream prosecution followed by punishment, has not yet taken root in England and Wales.

My interest in the topic started in 2000, when for the first time judges in the Crown Court were able to impose a drug treatment and testing order; and to review those subject to such an order at intervals of 4 weeks or more. This was my first experience of the impact which a reviewing court could exercise on offenders. This is not the place to develop my thinking in this respect; but elsewhere I have spoken and written about the desirability of sentencer review.

Because I was part of a loose association of common law judges, in about 2001 I learned of the existence of IADTC and the drug treatment court in Toronto. In 2002 I arranged to visit Paul for the first time. He could not have been more hospitable; and I observed not only the proceedings in his court, but the pre-court meeting, during the space of a whole day. His approach to all was not only inspirational, but informed my own subsequent approach. We became regular correspondents. In 2006, shortly before I was due to retire as a full-time judge, I invited Paul to address a specially selected audience in London to explain the drug treatment court concept. The audience included the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England. Regrettably, Paul's illness meant that, at short notice, he had to cancel the trip. However, thanks to the New York Center for Court Innovation, we were able to obtain an appropriate speaker; and the resulting conference kick-started an appreciation of what alternatives to custody, and specifically drug treatment courts, can achieve. Paul's inspiration lay behind that development. Subsequently I travelled to the NADCP conferences in Washington and St Louis; and the memorable gathering in Ghent; and the friendship which Paul extended to me became deeper and hugely valued. I had the pleasure of entertaining Paul and Sally in my Inn in London. Only recently he had e-mailed me to ask whether or not he could help to persuade the authorities in England and Wales to develop what we all know to be the way forward. We shall all miss his guidance, wisdom, and above all humanity.

I shall be most grateful if these thoughts can be passed on to Sally & the family.

Kindest regards to all.
John Samuels (Judge). England


There are no word s that could express our feelings towards the loss of our Friend, Colleague and Mentor Justice Paul Bentley.
The DCT Movement in Brazil was deeply touched by him. Our country, professionals and communities were blessed by Paul's knowledge, sharing, compassion, enthousiasm to became each day better.
And, besides that, I want to testify that his friendship was a sunlight to some cloudy days.

With my deep admiration, rest in peace Paul...

Carmen Có Freitas
Treatment Director
Brazilian Association of Therapeutic Justice


I just saw the terrible news about paul's death. In 2007 I had the honor of meeting him for the fist time in his court room in Toronto. His approach towards people with an addiction problem inspired us for the creation of the first DTC in Belgium in the court of Ghent. From that moment on we had the opportunity to meet more often. Even in difficult times his enthusiasm was incredible and he supported very strongly the creation of DTC's world wide allowing people to modify the principles to own needs.

His never lasting support was essential to be able to move forwards.

Judge Bentley you will be missed but never forgotten. Thanks for what you gave us.

Judge Jorn Dangreau


Paul was a wonderful person and a judge I had the pleasure of working with in a number of settings(and nations). He had a broad perspective which was appreciated internationally, and will be an immense loss to TJ, to drug courts, and to society at large.

Prof. David Wexler


I was very sad to hear of Justice Bentley's passing. I had the privilege of working with him on the Board of the IADTC and of meeting with him when I attended the CADTC conference in Ottawa a few years ago.

He was a great champion of drug courts internationally and a wonderful TJ-oriented judge. He had the personal and professional attributes to apply TJ principles in his judging and interaction with others in an exemplary way. He was an inspiration to many around the world, particularly those of us in the judiciary who have been trying to apply TJ principles in judging.

He will be greatly missed.

Kind regards,

Michael King
Judge, Australia


Bentley. Although we only met him for the first time earlier on this year at the meeting in Jamaica, he made an indelible impression and we felt quite previliged to have had him leading the team from Canada.

On behalf of the CARICOM Secretariat, I am requesting that you convey our deepest sympathies to his family.

Regards

Beverly Reynolds
Programme Manager
Sustainable Development
Human and Social Development Directorate CARICOM Secretariat Turkeyen Guyana


My deepest sympathy to Justice Bentley's family, we have certainly missed a great stalwart...........R.I.P.

Beverley Baugh
Probation Aftercare Officer- Jamaica


As many of you may know, Justice Bentley established the first drug treatment court outside of the U.S. -- in Toronto -- many years ago as well as founded the International Association of Drug Court Professionals (IADCP) which has provided the foundation, networking, and peer support for the development of drug treatment court programs in a number of countries, including those in Europe, the Caribbean, the Americas, and Australia.

Those who knew Justice Bentley will also remember him for his warm personal qualities that made him a friend to so many, not to mention his deep commitment to the rehabilitative potential drug treatment courts held for individuals caught up in drug abuse. At the time of his death, Justice Bentley was working with the OAS and AU to publish the second volume of a publication on the international experience with drug treatment courts and had already prepared the chapter he was authoring which he has left with us.

Caroline Cooper
BJA Drug Court Technical Assistance Project
School of Public Affairs, American University


What a sad sad loss for us all. We'll miss you Paul!

Julius
Julius Lang
Director, Technical Assistance
Center for Court Innovation


It's a great sadness for all of us who were fortunate to work with him and take the example of his strength and goodness.
Undoubtedly we will miss him very much.

My prayers are with his family.

Catalina Droppelmann


For more tributes, please visit the IADTC website at http://www.internationaldtc.org/Justice-Paul-Bentley-Tributes













 


updated on 6/30/2011 9:23:59 AM