A St. John's court has been told that Trevor Pardy, the accused in a murder trial that had been scheduled to start Monday, has fired his lawyer.
Pardy's decision to part ways with criminal defence lawyer Jeff Brace led to a jury being dismissed, and a frustrated judge raising questions about Pardy's motives.
Brace told Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador that for some time he and Trevor Pardy were having differences of opinion on how to conduct the defence.
Brace, who gave no details on differences between himself and his former client, said it culminated last night with Pardy firing him, and that there had been an irreparable breakdown in the solicitor-client relationship.
Pardy is charged with first-degree murder for the alleged shooting death of his former girlfriend, Triffie Wadman, on Boggy Hall Place in St. John's in October 2011.
Justice Wayne Dymond made it clear he was not happy with the 11th-hour development, and told Brace that "the court has to be suspect" that something was going on. Brace said no games were being played.
"In my defence, this is my seventh murder trial. I've probably done more than anyone," Brace told the court.
Justice raises questions about motives
Dymond then asked Pardy why he fired Brace just as the trial was about to start.
"I guess I gave Mr. Brace the benefit of the doubt until last night," Pardy said.
Dymond said he had no choice but to release the jury.
Dymond also raised concerns about other delays at court, and cited the high-profile trial of Leo Crockwell who was found guilty in June on charges laid after a standoff with RCMP in Bay Bulls in 2010.
"We had the Leo Crockwell case going through lawyers like Swiss cheese," said Dymond, referring to how Crockwell repeatedly fired different lawyers.
"I'm telling you, I'm upset. The public is losing confidence in the administration of justice."
Crockwell wound up representing himself.
Dymond warned Pardy, "There's no justice in self-represented cases. It's not happening in my court."
Meanwhile, members of Wadman's family were in court today, and some cried when they learned about the delay.
A new jury will now have to be selected for Pardy's trial.
The case is due back in court on Dec. 3.
Dymond told Pardy he expects him to appear on that date with a new lawyer.
A representative from Legal Aid was in court Monday.