A hearing is underway at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John’s to determine whether the offices of the attorney general should cover the cost of an accused murderer’s private counsel at a rate of pay above what the Legal Aid Commission allows.
Trevor Pardy, pictured in the prisoner’s box, is hoping St. John’s lawyer Bob Buckingham can convince a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court justice that the attorney general should cover fees for a private lawyer in his murder case. The family of Pardy’s alleged victim, Triffie Wadman, is pictured in the background. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram
Trevor Pardy took his place in the prisoner’s box as proceedings began Tuesday morning before Justice James Adams. Pardy is facing a charge of first-degree murder for the shooting death of Triffie Wadman. Tuesday marked the two-year anniversary of Wadman’s death on Oct. 1, 2011.
Pardy has pleaded not guilty to that charge.
The Legal Aid Commission has already approved funding for Pardy to cover the cost of private counsel at legal aid rates or a legal aid staff lawyer. Pardy has argued the legal aid rate of $60 per hour is too low for the purposes of obtaining an experienced lawyer to represent him.
The hearing got off to a slow start on Tuesday, as questions arose as to whether all the relevant parties in the matter were represented.
Lawyer Peter Ralph, representing the attorney general, informed the court of a rule requiring all parties to be served materials relevant to the hearing. He contended that should have included the Legal Aid Commission, which did not have a representative present when the hearing got underway shortly after 10 a.m.
St. John’s lawyer Bob Buckingham, who is representing Pardy at the hearing, admitted he had not served the Legal Aid Commission with documents, but said he did speak last week with its director Nick Summers about the matter.
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Following a recess, the court was informed that the Legal Aid Commission did want to be represented at the hearing by veteran defence lawyer Randy Piercey. Piercey was present in the courtroom when proceedings resumed in the afternoon.
The hearing is scheduled to last four days. Both Ralph and Buckingham told the court it was unlikely the hearing would take that much time to finish.
At one point in the morning, Adams asked why there were no estimates provided about the cost of Pardy’s representation for the murder trial.
“It’s an enormous cost just to get everybody assembled here,” he noted. Legal aid is covering the cost of Pardy’s representation for the hearing.
“I’m not prepared to sign a blank cheque,” Adams later added.
Pardy’s trial was scheduled to start last November, but Pardy fired his lawyer the day before it was set to begin. A new trial date has not been set.
The hearing is scheduled to resume Wednesday.