A legal aid lawyer in Grand Falls-Windsor is leaving the area, leading a Gander judge to note that the number of legal aid lawyers in central Newfoundland will drop from five to one.
The comment was made by Judge Jacqueline Jenkins during the trial of Jody Hale for internet luring.
"My calendar in Gander is most likely going to be opening up because, as you know, Legal Aid is going from five to one in this jurisdiction," Jenkins said.
Central region 'below par', says former lawyer
"It means the entire central region is below par, in terms of lawyers that are actively appointed to those particular offices," said Ray Kuszelewski, a former Legal Aid lawyer in Gander, who is now in Halifax.
By July, none of the legal aid lawyers in Gander will be on the job, and Grand Falls-Windsor will only have one full-time legal aid lawyer.
"I don't know how many lawyers one can send from the St. John's office to cover all of the holes that have now been left in central region," said Kuszelewski.
Nick Avis, the chair of the Legal Aid Commission, said it can be difficult to recruit lawyers to work outside St. John's, although he said that past efforts have been successful.
He said the commission will fill the job in Grand Falls-Windsor, but one of the positions in Gander is part of the recent round of budget cuts.