Winnipeg Free Press: The defence rests
Winnipeg lawyer Hymie Weinstein retires after five-decade role, parts in some of Manitoba's highest-profile cases
In a half-century law career that has had him defend embezzlers and fraud artists, accused killers and everyone in between, Hymie Weinstein has amassed enough stories to fill a very heavy book.
It’s a book Weinstein insists he will never write. But if he did, this story, he says, would be Chapter 1:
It’s the late 1970s, and Weinstein is defending a young man accused of stabbing a woman to death at a house party.
“A crazy thing happened to me,” Weinstein said in a recent interview. “I thought I knew who the murderer was: it was one of the Crown witnesses. I don’t know how I picked out this person, but I did and I convinced myself it was (him).”
On Day 5 of the trial, the witness testified for the Crown. As Weinstein began his cross examination, he “did something I’ve never done before and never done since… I accused him of being the murderer.”
“He denied it (several times) and I thought the judge is going to jump on me for what I’m doing,” he said. “You know, you only saw this on Perry Mason shows.”
The next week, a jury acquitted Weinstein’s client.
“Here’s the crazy part,” the lawyer said. “Two weeks later, I’m in my office, the phone rings and it’s (the witness).
“‘I’ve been charged with second-degree murder of that woman,'” the man told Weinstein. “‘I’d like you to be my lawyer.'”
“I said, ‘Don’t you remember that I accused you in front of the judge and jury of being the murderer?’ He said: ‘Yeah, but you did such a good job.'”
Now, 53 years after landing his first job as a junior prosecutor, Weinstein has closed the book on his legal career and packed away his robes for good. He officially retires Wednesday.