He Can Either Marry You or Hang You

The History of British Columbia's Sheriffs

by David G. Smith



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 2/1/2008

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 262
ISBN : 9781425139155

About the Book

Sheriffs working in the courts of British Columbia hold the oldest position of authority within our justice system. The office of the sheriff dates back to Britain's Saxon era when he was the king's chief administrator and officer within a bailiwick and had the power to act as constable, judge, jailer, executioner and coroner. Since that time, all of his jurisdictional duties have evolved into separate offices of authority except for the sheriff's principle mandate to serve as a court officer for the Crown.

This ancient office was one of the earliest government posts established within the Colony of Vancouver Island and preceded the appointment of the first colonial police force. Since then, little has been written about British Columbia's sheriffs and the information that exists is scattered throughout a variety of archival sources. That is, until now.

David Smith's extensively cited historical account of the sheriff in British Columbia took him more than twenty years to research and features portraits of the early county sheriffs and a collector's reference to the uniforms, badges and insignia of the sheriff. One chapter alone is devoted to capital punishment, as it was the sheriff's duty to carry out all court orders including hanging anyone condemned to death.

About the Author

David Smith was born and raised in Vancouver. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Education and has been a teacher for the Surrey School District since 1976. Dave taught metalwork and mathematics for 15 years then returned to his alma mater and completed a diploma in teacher-librarianship. He spent the remainder of his career teaching research skills and encouraging students to develop a passion for reading.