Lawyers shouldn't represent others accused of sex crimes: critic
A woman who speaks on behalf of victims of violence is concerned that a Halifax lawyer accused of sexual assault is still representing clients, including others charged with sex crimes.
Lyle Howe, 26, is accused of drugging and attacking a woman last March. He's charged with administering a noxious substance and sexual assault.
Howe, a defence lawyer, is representing a 32-year-old man charged with sexual assault. When it's time for that trial, the alleged victim may have to face two men accused of a sex crime.
That courtroom situation troubles Irene Smith, executive director of the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax.
"It can do nothing but further shatter your confidence in the outcome of the case and furthermore add a layer of trauma that is in addition to what you've already experienced," Smith said.
Darrel Pink, executive director of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society, admits that could be seen as inappropriate and unfair.
Pink said he would advise Howe to stay away from sexual assault cases. However, he noted, Howe has not been convicted and therefore can continue to work.
Smith said teachers or police officers accused of a sex crime would be suspended or shuffled to a desk job, and she expects lawyers to be held to the same standard.
Howe is due in Halifax provincial court on Dec. 15.