Start of trial delayed after Pardy fires lawyer

Rosie
Rosie Mullaley
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Judge, Crown upset by the holdup

Lawyer Jeff Brace (lower left) and Trevor Pardy, sitting in the prisoner's dock in a courtroom at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's, await for proceedings to begin Monday. The court was informed the trial would be delayed because Pardy has fired Brace as his lawyer. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

It was supposed to be the start of a murder trial.

Instead, it ended with the defence lawyer being dismissed, along with 12 jury members and two alternates.

The trial for accused murderer Trevor Pardy was postponed Monday morning after the court was told that Pardy and his lawyer have parted ways.

“I’ve been fired,” Jeff Brace told Justice Wayne Dymond in Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Brace said he and Pardy have been disagreeing about how to conduct the defence.

“There’s been a difference of opinion,” said Brace, who said he’s never been fired before. “He’s a very bright man and he has his own ideas about how things should be done.”

Brace didn’t say exactly what they disagreed on, but said things came to a head at around 9 p.m. the night before.

“In my own defence, this is my seventh murder trial,” Brace told the judge. “I’ve done several jury trials. I have 25 years’ experience.”

However, he said the ongoing issues between him and Pardy were just too much to resolve.

“I don’t want the public to think this is solely on him,” Brace said. “He was disappointed with the direction we were going.

“He’s not a bad guy. This isn’t a game. The differences are irreconcilable.”

Pardy is accused of killing his former girlfriend Triffie Wadman on Oct. 1 of last year in St. John’s.

The incident happened on Boggy Hall Place, off Forbes Street in the Topsail Road area of the capital city. Witnesses called the RNC around

1 a.m. that day reporting a woman was lying in the street.

Wadman, of Freshwater, Placentia Bay, who lived in St. John’s, was brought to hospital and treated for gunshot wounds. She died of her injuries.

Pardy, who grew up in Keels, Bonavista Bay, but lived in Mount Pearl, was taken into custody following a four-hour standoff with police following the shooting. He’s been in custody ever since, having been denied bail.

He’s pleaded not guilty to all three charges he faces: first-degree murder, using a firearm to commit a crime, and having an unlicensed weapon (a nine-millimetre handgun).

The trial was expected to last for three weeks.

The judge expressed his displeasure with the last-minute development and said he hoped it wouldn’t lead to further delays down the road.

He mentioned the case of Leo Crockwell, who was convicted after a standoff with the RCMP at his family’s Bay Bulls house.

Crockwell represented himself at his trial after going through several lawyers. Dymond said accused people were “going through lawyers like cheddar cheese.”

When Dymond asked the Crown’s views on recent developments in the Pardy case, prosecutor Iain Hollett wasn’t happy about the setback.

“If Mr. Pardy wants to postpone this, he can certainly do that,” Hollett said. “But there are people upstairs (the jury), witnesses are here and members of the (Wadman) family are here.

“While Mr. Pardy has the right to a speedy trial, the (family), the people and the community also have a right to have this heard quickly as well.”

Before the jury was called in, Brace asked the judge for permission to leave. Dymond agreed.

Before exiting the courtroom, Brace walked over to the prisoner’s dock, shook Pardy’s hand and the two hugged.

When jury members entered the courtroom, Dymond told the jury that the trial cannot proceed due to the issues with Pardy and his counsel. He said it is “very unfortunate,” but noted it’s often the way things go in court.

“I hope it was, at least, an eye-opener as to how the process works,” he said.

He thanked them for their time and then formally dismissed them.

A new jury will now have to be chosen for the trial.

The case will be called in court again Dec. 3 for an update.

Family members of Wadman became emotional in court when it was decided the trial would be delayed. They opted not to speak to reporters outside court.

When contacted by The Telegram later in the day, Brace also declined comment.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: RCMP, Bay Bulls house

Geographic location: Forbes Street, Topsail Road, Freshwater Placentia Bay Keels Bonavista Bay Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Bullcrap
    November 20, 2012 - 14:58

    This is getting ridiculous. Crockwell, and now this guy? When is our Justice System going to wake up to the tactics of these low lifes?

  • anna
    November 20, 2012 - 09:51

    So Mr. Brace says of Pardy He’s not a bad guy, no wonder people think defence lawyers are the scum of the earth.

  • Happily retired
    November 20, 2012 - 09:38

    Are the judges that stupid that they don't see what's happening? Anybody who has committed a crime and thinks they will be convicted would be fools not to try everything to delay the trial. By delaying the trial, you get to do relatively easy time at the Pen in. St. John's (Yes, I know it's a hole, but still relatively easy time when you see the other places). Then when you're being sentenced, the stupid judges give you credit for serving twice the time you have already served. Why not fire your lawyer.

  • grant
    November 20, 2012 - 09:08

    This is how i see a lot of cases in Newfoundland, at some point when the trial gets delayed a few times, they will start bargaining and they will agree to Pardy pleading guilty to manslaughter, so that he will only have to serve a short time. This is how it works in most cases in Newfoundland, anyway thats what i would certainly go for.

  • Frank
    November 20, 2012 - 08:32

    They shook hands and hugged??? Sounds like a concocted scheme to me!!

  • well
    November 20, 2012 - 08:31

    Seems to me . Pardy wants to hold this over as long as he can

  • Colin Burke
    November 20, 2012 - 08:18

    The story above seems not to be entirely comprehensive: a radio network reported that Judge Dymond ordered the accused to get a lawyer, because a previous case showed that an accused who represented himself had not got justice at that trial. If true, that is outrageous: a judge who needs in court the help of another lawyer to make sure he does justice ought himself to pay that lawyer's fees. That aspect of the matter is worth reporting by The Telegram and also practically demands editorial comment.