Murray approved for Legal Aid

Rob Antle
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New lawyer gets two months to review file

Taxpayers are now footing the legal bills of former House of Assembly bureaucrat Bill Murray.

On Thursday morning, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Maureen Dunn approved the transfer of his file to a new lawyer.

Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission attorney Michelle Coady is now representing Murray.

Legal Aid ensures people with limited financial means have access to counsel.

Bill Murray

Taxpayers are now footing the legal bills of former House of Assembly bureaucrat Bill Murray.

On Thursday morning, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Maureen Dunn approved the transfer of his file to a new lawyer.

Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission attorney Michelle Coady is now representing Murray.

Legal Aid ensures people with limited financial means have access to counsel.

Defence lawyer Averill Baker had represented the former civil servant since he was first implicated in the House of Assembly spending scandal.

But last month, Baker provided notice that she was withdrawing from the case.

Murray had applied to Legal Aid for funding, but was turned down.

He then appealed. A hearing was held last month to discuss the issue.

Murray was apparently successful.

His Legal Aid attorney will now get two months to review the case. The matter is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 8.

Murray is a key figure in the spending scandal, which broke in 2006 following a series of reports by the auditor general and a lengthy investigation by police.

Three former MHAs have pleaded guilty to corruption charges in relation to spending from their constituency allowances. A fourth is on trial.

As director of financial operations for the legislature, Murray oversaw constituency accounts.

He faces seven charges - four counts of fraud against the provincial government and one count each of fraud over $5,000, breach of trust by a public officer and uttering a forged document.

Baker represented Murray at his preliminary inquiry.

In August, a provincial court judge decided there was sufficient evidence for the Crown to proceed to trial.

The news media is barred from reporting on evidence disclosed in the preliminary inquiry, because it may taint a jury pool.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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