Court examines lawyer’s fee for accused murderer

Andrew Robinson
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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.

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.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Legal Aid Commission

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Recent comments

  • Gerry
    October 04, 2013 - 21:04

    Bob....walk away from this....your only going to get yourself a bad rap.....

  • Mindy
    October 02, 2013 - 11:32

    I needed a lawyer about 15 years ago and when trying to find one the cost did come into account. BUT guess what I took what I could afford. What is wrong with Legal Aid? They spend that much time in court they should have more than enough experience.!

  • shelly
    October 02, 2013 - 11:23

    This in not going to end well... If he gets what he wants then every legal aid case is going to end up like this. And to make matters worse, in the end he, if convicted, he will likely get 1.5 credit for time served before the trial. makes me sick to know this is what my tax dollars are going towards

  • Jokes on us
    October 02, 2013 - 09:41

    I shake my head that this is actually even considered. If he doesn't like the free representation then he should pay for his own. Or avoid situations that may require a lawyer like the majority of the population. Alas, no one likes the dirty word 'consequences' these days... And the sad fact is, he'll probably get the private lawyer paid for by the rest of us law abiding citizens.

  • Kevin Power
    October 02, 2013 - 09:16

    The tail is still wagging the dog.

  • Filly
    October 02, 2013 - 08:07

    What a joke. 2 years since the murder? Pardy is taking the "justice" system for a ride and Buckingham is helping him stall. This doesn't set a good precendent. Why should this person get special treatment?

  • W Bagg
    October 02, 2013 - 07:51

    How come every person who commits a serious offence is represented by legal aid. Anyone see a correlation, up the welfare cheques so they can afford one.