Current Conditions

Mainly Sunny
22.6°C

Crown's conflict of interest concerns dashed in officer assault case

March 02, 2016 - 10:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - A Crown application to have a criminal defence lawyer tossed from a case out of conflict of interest concerns was dismissed by a Kamloops Supreme Court justice last week.

Jerry Lee Lamar and Leon Francis Leclerc are both charged with aggravated assault of a peace officer and at one point both retained Don Campbell to represent them.

Lamar and Leclerc signed affidavits agreeing to be represented by Jeremy Jensen and Campbell, but due to Jensen’s unavailability for a preliminary inquiry, Campbell represented both accused for that hearing.

A preliminary inquiry is held to determine if there’s enough evidence to warrant a trial.

"Both accused have sworn affidavits asserting that it was their understanding “from the beginning” or “from the outset” that Mr. Campbell and Mr. Jensen would be representing them separately at trial, but Mr. Jensen was not available for the available preliminary hearing dates and, in order to save time and money, the accused agreed to have Mr. Campbell conduct a preliminary hearing for both of them,” Justice Ian Meiklem said in his decision.

Both accused were ordered to stand trial and since then Jensen took over Leclerc’s case again.

Crown argued that Campbell should remove himself as counsel for Lamar in the interest of fairness and suggested a conflict of interest might arise if he has to cross-examine his former client during trial.

Both accused said they stand by the confidential information they gave to Campbell about their case and their separate defences won’t conflict during trial. Campbell, who was retained by Lamar before his arrest, argued removing him from the case would be prejudicial to both defendants, create more expense and delay trial.

Meiklem said Crown intends to present a video caught on the peace officer’s dash cam which allegedly shows two men brutally assaulting the officer by kicking and stomping on his head.

"Mr. Campbell submitted that in the presently unforeseeable and unlikely event that proper defence of his client Mr. Lamar calls for him to cross-examine Mr. Leclerc, the appearance of impropriety or unfairness could be avoided by having independent counsel brought in to conduct that cross-examination,” Meiklem said. "That may or may not be sufficient to address the public confidence concerns, but it is quite a speculative possibility at this time and it is impossible to predict how the evidence will unfold at trial, so I will leave it to future consideration by the trial judge."

"On my understanding of the issues and the nature of the evidence in this case, I do not find that there is a sufficient potential risk of a future conflict of interest arising that outweighs the significant prejudice that would certainly accrue to both accused if Mr. Campbell were disqualified at this stage. When I speak of prejudice I include interference with their choice of counsel, and unnecessary cost and delay."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at gbrothen@infonews.ca or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular penticton News
  • Comments
  • Body of missing Cache Creek fire chief found
    CACHE CREEK - The body of Clayton Cassidy has been found. Around 10:30 p.m. yesterday, May 27, members of the Ashcroft fire department found his body during a patrol of Cache Creek, accordin
  • TRENDING NOW: Instant karma for angry dog walker
    When crossing a street we all pay attention to a car pulling up to an intersection, but this man seems to get really riled up for some reason. Of course, his threatening behaviour is under c
  • Firefighters rescue unexpected visitors during blaze battle in Calgary
    Calgary firefighters made an unexpected rescue when they were battling a house fire in the city's southwest. On Friday afternoon, a passerby called 911 to report smoking coming from a ho
  • Fire on Front Street
    PENTICTON - Penticton firefighters spent a hot afternoon battling a fire on Front Street today. Penticton Deputy Fire Chief Chris Forester said in a release Sunday evening, May 28, firefight
  • FLOOD WATCH 2017: Oyama is stuck between two overflowing lakes
    OYAMA – Stuck between two lakes is probably the worst place to be during a flood. Tween Lakes Resort, located between Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake, is close to be completely covered in
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile