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Grande Prairie’s Willie de Wit excited for Justice of Appeal seat

Grande Prairie legend Willie de Wit is excited about his next destination in the judicial system after he was appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

De Wit was one of four judges appointed by the federal government in 2017 and was previously a criminal defence lawyer in Calgary. He says the last six years at the Court of King’s Bench have been interesting, but he is ready for the new challenge ahead of him.

“I think it is an exciting thing; it is something I’m looking forward to as it will be another challenge. Justice of the Court of Appeal is a little bit different in that we deal with different matters than we did on trial.”

Although he won’t be sitting in Grande Prairie, de Wit says he is always happy to leave the hustle and bustle of life in Calgary to return to the Peace Country.

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“I grew up in Grande Prairie and have a strong connection with the community; the people of Grande Prairie have always been behind me. They were a big part of me being able to achieve certain things that I did in the past.”

Prior to his law career, de Wit was an Olympian and world amateur heavyweight boxing champion. He first won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1982, and followed that up with an Olympic silver in 1984. He also won the World Amateur Heavyweight Boxing Championship for 1983-1984.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada made the appointment last week. De Wit says that while he is thrilled, he jokes that the Court of Appeal is as high as he wants to go in the legal system.

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