Each member of the Sullivan Breen Defence team brings their own specialty and insight to your case. We know the difficulties a criminal case can bring to your life and it is that understanding, combined with the hard edge of criminal case law knowledge, which will make all the difference in your representation.
Robert E. Simmonds, QC (Counsel)
Robert Simmonds received his LL.B. from Dalhousie University in 1979 and a Bachelor of Commerce (First class honours) from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 1976 where he received the University Gold Medal for Academic Excellence. Mr. Simmonds was called to the bar in 1980 and practiced as a Crown Attorney with the Department of Justice from April 1980 to May 1983. From 1983 to 1984 Mr. Simmonds was Executive Director – Legal with Johnson Insurance. From 1984 to 1997 Mr. Simmonds practiced law with a number of firms in Newfoundland and Labrador. Mr. Simmonds received and honorary Doctorate of Laws in the 2013. Since 1997 Mr. Simmonds has been the Managing Partner of the St. John’s firm which he founded, Simmonds Kennedy. His areas of practice are criminal law, disciplinary proceedings and litigation.
In 2001 Mr. Simmonds was appointed as Queen’s counsel. During the years 2000 to 2004 Mr. Simmonds was a member of the Advisory Committee on Federal Judicial Appointments for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. In November 2008 Mr. Simmonds accepted the position of Chairperson of the Board of Regents of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was awarded the designation of Best Lawyers in Canada specializing in criminal law for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Mr. Simmonds has also been awarded several community based awards including the Humanitarian Service Award from the John Howard Society whose goal it is to understand and respond to problems of crime and the criminal justice system.
Rosellen Sullivan was born in St. John’s. She graduated from University of Ottawa in 1995 with a Master’s of Criminology and from Dalhousie Law School in 1998. Rosellen worked with the Department of Justice until 2006. She was Junior Inquiry Counsel to Commissioner Antonio Lamer at the Lamer Inquiry which examined three wrongful convictions in Newfoundland and Labrador. Her work on the Inquiry led to a keen interest criminal defence law, which she pursued in 2006 when she joined Robert Simmonds, QC. She is also a former member of the Board of Regents at Memorial University.
Rosellen appears in all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada. Rosellen has been a director of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers (CCCDL) since 2015. The CCCDL is a national body that represents defence counsel and provides a national perspective on Criminal Justice issues. The CCCDL has been granted intervenor status at the Supreme Court of Canada, and routinely appears before the House and Senate Committees on legal and Constitutional issues. The CCCDL is often consulted on matters of national importance.
On behalf of the CCCDL, Rosellen appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights along with other members in relation to Bill c.75 and changes to the Criminal Code.
Rosellen was named Best Lawyer by her peers in 2020 and has become a senior observing member of The Criminal Lawyers Association.
Erin K. Breen was born and raised in St. John’s and is a Gonzaga High School graduate of the Class of 1992. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 1997 and earned her Master of Arts (History) in 1998 at Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador. In 2002 she graduated from the University of New Brunswick Law School with a Bachelor of Law degree and was the recipient of the Canadian Counsel of Criminal Defence Lawyers prize and the Blake Lynch prize in criminal law & evidence. She was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador bar in 2003. She has volunteered with the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted in Toronto, Ontario as a case review lawyer. Since 1998 she volunteered at MacMorran Community Centre and served as a Board member. From 2010-2016 she was the Canadian Bar Association representative on the Judicial Advisory Committee for Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2013 she was named the recipient of the Michael F. Galway Gonzaga High School Alumnus of the year award. In 2017, Erin represented the family of Donald Dunphy at the Dunphy Inquiry. Since 2017, she has been recognized and included in the Best Lawyers in Canada and was named Lawyer of the Year in the practice area of criminal defence for 2020. In 2019 she was named a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Erin practices in all aspects of criminal defence with a special focus in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Mark’s family comes from Pouch Cove. He was raised in Paradise.
Mark is a graduate of Memorial University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History with a heavy ancillary focus on sociology, political science and religious studies. He completed his law degree at the University of New Brunswick where he received the prestigious Lord Beaverbrook Scholarship in Law.
Mark was called to the bar in 2007. Since then, Mark has worked almost exclusively in criminal defense, with case work in arson, commercial fraud, drug matters, electronic and computer crime
s, sex offenses, impaired driving, wildlife and fisheries, serious assault, robbery and murder.
Mark is a nationally known mental health advocate. He has been engaged in serious mental health advocacy for almost 15 years. Mark was the longest standing President in the history of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Division serving six years. He was awarded the national consumer involvement award and Pottle Award for his service to the organization. He has a very advanced and specific understanding of individual mental illnesses and their impact on individuals and society.
Mark has also been involved in alliance-based work with multiple social advocacy organizations in the area. This work eventually led him to become President of the New Democratic Party of Newfoundland and Labrador. He has served on the Provincial Advisory Council to the Minister on Mental Health and Addictions.
Mark was also awarded the Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Award in 2016 and the NLC President’s Award in 2015 for saving lives though advocacy. He received the Canadian Senate Sesquicentennial award in 2017 in recognition of his service to the nation though his legal and mental health advocacy work.
Marianne Rennie was born and raised in downtown St. John’s and graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology. She attended law school at the University of New Brunswick, where she focused her studies primarily on criminal law and trial practice. Marianne completed her articles at Sullivan Breen Defence and was called to the Bar in April of 2019. She has volunteered with legal assistance clinics in the community and is passionate about access to justice.
Janet Wight was born and raised in Rocky Harbour in the heart of beautiful Gros Morne National Park. Janet graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Arts and from the Graduate Centre of Applied Technology with a graduate program in Information Technology. Janet has been an active team member with Sullivan Breen Defence as our Office Manager and Commissioner of Oaths, since 2002. Janet fills many roles as Office Manager but does one best: keeping us all in line. She runs our office with clockwork precision and efficiency and keeps everything running as it should.
Nancy Gulliver was born and raised in St. John’s. Nancy graduated from Prince of Wales Collegiate and College of the North Atlantic with a diploma in Legal Office Administration. Nancy has been an active team member with Sullivan Breen Defence in the role of Legal Assistant/Receptionist and Commissioner of Oaths, since 2008. Nancy is the smiling face greeting you when you visit our office and welcoming voice when you call. She provides administrative assistance and support to our team and clients.