A former legal aid lawyer says government cutbacks will have a big impact on the court system in Gander.
Ray Kuszelewski said three lawyers in the central Newfoundland town are leaving, and a fourth is about to go on maternity leave – which he said will cause a backlog of court cases.
On Thursday, Corey Blake was supposed to be sentenced for shooting a woman he mistook for a moose.
But Kuszelewski, his legal aid lawyer, has suddenly taken a retirement package, after speaking out against cuts to the justice system.
It means Blake will have to wait another month before his case is dealt with.
Kuszelewski said he expects the delays will only get worse.
"Everything is going to be kicked over again, kicked over again. So you're now looking at the summer ... down season for the courts. We're now looking at the fall for anything really to start up," he said.
Kuszelewski isn't being replaced, which means there are only two legal aid lawyers left in the town.
One of the Crown attorneys has also lost his job, leaving only two in Gander. His wife is a legal aid lawyer, and the pair are planning to leave the town.
Kuszelewski also noted the only other legal aid lawyer is about to go on maternity leave.
"They made decisions and those decisions have cost the Gander office of legal aid to basically be down to one lawyer, who will be leaving July 1 for mat leave, which means there'll be zero lawyers in that office."
One defence lawyer in the town agreed that delays are inevitable.
A spokesperson for legal aid said the office has the situation under control, though he didn't want to elaborate.
Attorney General Tom Marshall said he will continue to monitor the caseload at the prosecution office.