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Defence lawyer forced to meet with client through meal slot

The defence lawyer representing Steven Sayine in Hay River, N.W.T., says he wasn't allowed to meet his client face-to-face in custody. Instead, they were forced to speak on their hands and knees through a meal slot.

'Interfering with access to counsel in this fashion is not acceptable,' says Charles Davison

The defence lawyer representing Steven Sayine says he wasn't allowed to meet his client face-to-face in custody.

Sayine is being held at the South Mackenzie Correctional Centre in Hay River, N.W.T. His trial for manslaughter began last week and continues this week.

Steven Sayine will likely be sentenced in November for the manslaughter of his common-law wife Mary Laboucan in Fort Resolution in 2012. (CBC)

Charles Davison planned to meet with Sayine over the weekend.

When he arrived, authorities at the jail told him that no one was allowed into Sayine's cell. They also said they couldn't let Sayine out.

Davison says authorities told him they received the instructions from the RCMP.

He says he and Sayine were forced to speak on their hands and knees through a meal slot.

Davison says that isn't proper.

"There are basic legal requirements that ensure when somebody is held in custody, even if they're awaiting trial or even if they're sentenced, that they're given access to counsel," he says. "Interfering with access to counsel in this fashion is not acceptable." 

Justice Louise Charbonneau said she found it disturbing that counsel didn't have access to his client during a trial.

She asked the Crown to look into the matter.

The judge hopes to get some answers today.

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