Men facing criminal trials with no lawyers

| 27/08/2013

(CNS): There are currently a number of serious criminal cases where the defendants are left unrepresented as a result of disagreements with attorneys, conflicts of interest and other legal problems with representation, which means that the men could face trial without legal representation. Shane Connor is charged with rape, Garry Hurlstone is charged with attempted murder and Andre Chase with an attack on a fellow prison inmate. Although they have all been granted legal aid, their constant disagreements with attorneys or conflicts have left the men without lawyers, the court heard Friday during the regular mention list.

Shane Connor, who has denied the rape charges he faces, has sacked numerous lawyers and has been on remand for almost 18 months. On Friday Connor revealed that he had sacked Clive Allen, who is believed to be the fifth attorney he has dismissed, and complained that the lawyer had jumbled up the documentation relating to his case.

Despite being on remand at HMP Northward, Connor said he had “no time” to sort out the mess made by the lawyer as he “is not a secretary”. Handing a letter to the court pointing to other documents he believed he had not received from the crown that relate to his case, Connor asked the judge to make sure he received everything he needed before his case was adjourned.

Garry Hurlston, whose case was adjourned in April, is only a few weeks away from the continuation of his trial for the attempted murder of a man who remains in a coma, but is also without a lawyer. Expressing his deep distrust of legal aid lawyers, he said his previous attorney was being “interfered with” by the prosecution. Hurlston asked the court to release him so he could finance his own attorney, as he said he could not represent himself. However, he did not make a formal bail application.

Acting Justice Nova Hall, who has part heard the trial, has indicated that Hurlston’s trial will go ahead on 21 October regardless of his representation as a result of his constant dismissal of the lawyers provided to him. Nevertheless, Hurlstone insisted that he should be provided with a QC from overseas and a blood spatter expert. He was told that he needed to find a Cayman registered lawyer in order to instruct counsel from overseas but Hurlston insisted he did not trust any of the legal aid defence lawyers.

Visiting judge, Justice Malcolm Swift, jumped to the defence of the local lawyers and pointed out that there were some very good local legal aid attorneys and unless Hurlston was prepared to represent himself he ought to find one to work with. However, the judge pointed out that it was up to Hurlston to take the necessary steps to deal with his representation and that the court could not force him to find a lawyer.

The defendant complained that his instructions had not been followed, and despite being half way through a judge alone trial, Hurlston declared to the court that he had wanted a jury trial. With little to be done, the judge adjourned the matter to go before Justice Hall on 20 September.

Meanwhile, Andre Chase, who is no stranger to the criminal justice system, is accused of slashing a fellow inmate in the face with a make-shift blade during a fight at the prison. He is also without representation as his usual attorney, John Furniss, is unable to represent him in the case because the man that Chase  is alleged to have stabbed is also his client.

Chase was also directed to seek representation before his return to the court next week and his pending trial in November.

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Category: Crime

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  1. Whodatis says:

    Oh, the joys of a criminal defence attorney.

    I believe no other profession is filled with such irony.

    Since all the defendants appear to be so "well learned" – maybe they ought to represent one another.