God and the courts punish the wicked.
But it’s Paul Blessin who prosecutes them to the fullest extent of the law.
At least he does so with the cases that land on his desk at the Chilliwack Crown counsel office.
Chilliwack-born and bred, Blessin, 38, says he always wanted to be a lawyer — a Crown counsel, specifically — to make this community a safer place.
“When I thought about being a lawyer, I wasn’t thinking about drafting wills … it was always about trying to keep the streets safe; to deal with crime and with the troubles of society — and probably the best way to do that, in my mind, was doing work for the Crown.”
But nailing criminals isn’t the only thing on Blessin’s mind in the courtroom, he’s also thinking about the bigger picture: empathy, to a degree, for the accused, and their eventual return to the community after paying for their crimes.
“You need to be able to see things from the perspective, not only of the police … but also from the perspective of the victim of a crime and, to an extent, from the perspective of the people committing them,” he says.
“Because ordinarily their motive to commit a crime, it’s not pure evil,” he explains. “It’s because someone’s got an addiction problem or trouble in their background with violence in the household. To see that bigger picture lets me do my job more effectively.”
“It’s always nice to end up with a conviction at the end of a trial,” he adds, “but we don’t do that at the expense of putting a person’s rights in jeopardy.”
As if his courtroom work is not enough, Blessin does more for this community.
Following in his father’s footsteps, he’s a long-time Rotary Club member (“It’s in my blood, I suppose,” he says) as well as a musician playing kettle drums in the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra.
He’s also a member of the Chilliwack Amateur Radio Club that provides communications in local emergencies like Fraser River floods.
Is there a political future ahead for such a community-minded person?
“Never!” Blessin says, without hesitation. “No. I have never had aspirations for political office, and I hope never to have such aspirations. I greatly respect anyone who can put their name in the ring to do that sort of work. But quite frankly I’m more than happy to administer the law as opposed to getting out there and actually creating it.”