Born in Rockingham, Nova Scotia, he went to Rockingham Public School and then St. Patrick's High School in Halifax. He graduated from St. Mary's University and Dalhousie University Law School.
After articling with the Department of the Attorney General, he was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar in 1952.
He continued to practice in the Department of the Attorney General and worked as a Senior Solicitor, a Crown Prosecutor, Legislative Counsel, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, and Associate Deputy Attorney General. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1967.
He also taught Criminal Law and Procedure at Dalhousie University and lectured at St. Mary's University. In 2003, he was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Laws from St. Mary's.
He served as Vice-Chairman of the Halifax Housing Authority and on the Board of the Home of the Good Shepherd in Halifax. He was a member of St. Agnes Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, and Saint Benedict's Parish.
He was President of St. Mary's Alumni Association, served on the University's Board of Governors, and was a life member and past president of the Charitable Irish Society of Halifax.