Nfld. & Labrador

Lawyer says Crown trying to remove her from murder case

Defence lawyer Averill Baker says the Crown Attorneys' Office in Newfoundland and Labrador is trying to force her off a murder case.
Lawyer Averill Baker speaks to reporters outside court in St. John's last week. (CBC)

Defence lawyer Averill Baker says the Crown Attorneys' Office in Newfoundland and Labrador is trying to force her off a murder case.

In a letter Baker received Monday from Crown Attorney Lisa Stead, the Crown says Baker is in a conflict of interest.

Baker said the letter from the Crown stated, "If you still intend to represent Mr. Pynn in these matters, the Crown will bring an application to have you removed."

The Crown's letter also said she "may" be called as a "witness to the matters presently before the court."

Baker is the lawyer for Phillip Pynn, 25, a man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Nick Winsor, 20, in St. John's July 9.

The shooting occurred during a botched robbery attempt at a house on Portugal Cove Road in St. John's.

Pynn is also charged with the attempted murder of the owner of the house where the shooting happened.

Baker represented the homeowner in 2005 when that man was convicted of possessing stolen goods and possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking.

Baker fired back at the Crown in a strongly worded letter on Tuesday writing: "This appears on its face to be a threat."

Baker added if she gets called as a witness she will apply to have it struck down.

"You [the Crown] will have to convince a judge that you have legitimate reasons to call me as a witness," she wrote.

"I have no information relating to the alleged murder or alleged attempted murder."

Baker said she only spent half a day in court with the homeowner in 2005, and knows "nothing about his personal life or any matters connected to his character or credibility."

She also said that she thinks the court found out about her connection with the homeowner through media reports. 

Baker said she could get an "independent legal counsel to cross-examine the complainant." She added that she would seal all files in storage relating to the homeowner.

Baker said if the Crown comes up with other charges to attempt to make her be a witness, she will apply to Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court to rule on malicious prosecution.