The play on words in the title of this book, Getting Off, tells a lot more than the story of A Criminal Lawyer’s Road to Redemption. Windsor author Veronique Perrier Mandal not only shares the life story of our city’s most storied lawyer, Don Tait, but her personal interactions with the notorious legal eagle. This is a rags to riches roller coaster story that boldy tells all.
More than just a journalist, professor, RN, actor and playwright, Mandal examines her own spirituality while learning everything there was to know about a simple man whose demons came in all forms of addictions – power, money, sex, drugs, and booze to name a few. A local census would prove that Tait was loved and hated equally by friend and foe. They came in the form of reporters, cops, lawyers, judges, and even bikers and drug dealers.
The author reveals a side of Don Tait that only those closest to him knew about. She followed his life and legal career professionally as well as personally, to the point where the once powerful and proud man sought redemption and asked her to write his life story in the hope that it might help others.
As a former police officer, I learned first-hand how skilful Tait was in his prime when he cross-examined me on the witness stand. He was so well rehearsed he didn’t have to refer to any notes when asking questions that I had to decipher before answering. Although a defense lawyer and technically the enemy, he always laughed and joked with cops gathered in the hall outside the courtroom.
He not only defended murderers and drug dealers, he represented prominent businessmen and cops. At one time, Tait was considered to be one of the best lawyers in Canada. He made his fortune practising the law but lost it to booze and his other addictions. The book is an interesting read for all.