John Rosen

Direct: (416) 507-2440
Email: johnrosen@rosenlaw.ca


"John Rosen…has forty years' experience in defending homicide and other criminal cases. He is probably the most experienced advocate in the defence of homicide cases in the province. Certainly, no one is better."


  • The Honourable Mr. Justice J.A. Ramsay, R. v. Cyr, [2009] O.J. No. 5535 (Super. Ct.)

John M. Rosen, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and recipient of the Law Society Medal, has practiced as a trial and appellate lawyer in the areas of criminal, regulatory and discipline law for over 40 years. He has represented a wide variety of clients, both individuals and corporations, in all levels of court in Ontario and at the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also appeared as counsel in the United States Federal Court, the British Columbia Supreme Court, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

John has represented over 300 individuals charged with murder, including Paul Bernardo, and has appeared in some of the most highly publicized and complex criminal cases in Canadian legal history, including:


  • Defence of Chris Little at Newmarket for two counts of first degree murder arising out of the death of his estranged wife, Julie Crocker, and the death of Paula Menendez, the wife of CHFI sports broadcaster Rick Ralph.
  • Successful resolution of the first degree murder charge against Min Chen arising out of the disappearance and death of Cecilia Zhang of Toronto in October 2003.
  • Successful resolution of the charges against Peter Scarcella, implicated in the aftermath of the shooting in April 2004 at the California Sandwiches restaurant in Toronto which resulted in serious permanent injury to Lena Russo.
  • Successful application to stay charges of first degree murder against a woman charged in the death of her infant daughter based on evidence from former pathologist Dr. Charles Smith.
  • Successful appeal overturning convictions for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder arising out of the stabbing death of a pregnant woman in Surrey, British Columbia.
  • Successful defence of a man charged with second degree murder where the prosecution withdrew the charge on the eve of trial following John's appearance in the Supreme Court of Canada in the related case of Benson v. Brown, which set the ground rules for allowing access to lawyer/client confidential information regarding another suspect previously cleared by the police.
  • Successful defence of a Hamilton-Wentworth Police Service officer accused of raping a woman motorist he investigated for impaired driving.
  • Successful defence of a Waterloo Regional Police Service officer accused of child sexual abuse of his step daughter.
  • Successful defence of the former Chief Financial Officer of a publicly traded B.C. gold refining corporation against allegations of defrauding investors and shareholders of millions of dollars.
  • Successful defence of one of two brothers charged with the first degree murder of organized crime figures John Papalia and Carmen Barillaro.
  • Successful defence of a corporation engaged in the transportation of hazardous waste against multiple charges under the Ontario Environmental Protection Act.
  • Successful defence of alleged organized crime figure Domenic Musitano, one of four defendants charged with the murder of organized crime figure Domenic Racco.
  • Successful defence of alleged organized crime figure Paul Volpe on charges of fraud involving millions of dollars in diamonds in a series of trials that became known as "The Diamond Wars."

John is currently involved in several complex criminal and quasi-criminal cases, some of which are the subject of intense media scrutiny. These include the trial of a Toronto Police Service officer who is one of five officers charged with corruption, and the appeal from a first degree murder conviction arising from the shooting death of Nadia Gehl in Kitchener.John contributes to the community by providing legal services to indigent persons pro bono and under Legal Aid Ontario in selected cases, and by volunteering with a number of non-government organizations.


John M. Rosen received his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1968. He was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970. He is a member of a number of professional associations, including the Advocates Society (where he served twice as a Director), the Criminal Lawyers' Association (in which he has held a number of executive positions), the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers in the U.S., and the Canadian and American Bar Associations.