Memorable Manitobans: Harold Ffolliott Gyles (1927-2010)
Born at Winnipeg on 11 September 1927, son of Henry Ffolliott Gyles and Evelyn Amy Riley, he attended Kelvin High School and the University of Manitoba Law School. Upon graduation from the latter and being called to the Manitoba Bar, he practiced with his father in the law firm of Gyles and Gyles until 1963 when he was appointed a part-time provincial court judge. He was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1970.
He became a full-time provincial court judge in 1966 and the first Chief Judge of the court in 1968, holding the position for the next 20 years. He was also a deputy judge in the Northwest Territories from 1976 to 1978. In Manitoba, he presided over the preliminary hearing of gold robber Ken Leishman. In 1980 he ruled that traffic tickets and the provincial statues on which they were based did not need to be written in both English and French, and was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada six years later. He was among a group of lawyers, judges and magistrates implicated in a ticket-fixing scandal in the late 1980s that saw traffic tickets cancelled in exchange for favours. He was acquitted and stepped down from the bench, being replaced as Chief Judge by Ian Dubienski.
He was a co-founder and President of the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges and he served as a lecturer for the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service, and the Law Society of Manitoba. He was a President of the Granite Curling Club (1974-1976) and the Gyro Club (?-?). He continued to work as a part-time judge before retiring to Kenora, Ontario where he indulged avid interests in hunting and fishing.
He died on 27 January 2010.
“Government appoints 14 new Queen’s Counsels,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1970, page 18.
“Judge presided over $400-K gold heist case” by Mary Agnes Welch, Winnipeg Free Press, 28 January 2010, page B2.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 February 2010, page C10.
We thank Rick Mutton for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 April 2022