Keith Fraser (Vancouver Province) - Lawyers for two Mounties charged in connection with the Surrey Six murder investigation on Monday withdrew as counsel, citing the RCMP’s refusal to pay their legal fees.
David Crossin, a lawyer for Sgt. Derek Brassington, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman that the RCMP has not said whether they will abide by a policy wherein officers charged with criminal offences receive legal funding.
“The employer has not agreed to that — has not said yes, has not said no. It is as if they have reserved judgment.”
Crossin said he could not continue to represent his client for ethical reasons but would assist him in seeking to obtain legal aid.
Brassington, dressed in a suit and tie, appeared in court and sat in the public gallery.
Greg DelBigio, a lawyer for Cpl. Danny Michaud, told the judge he agreed with Crossin’s submissions, said he also was withdrawing as counsel and said his client is also planning to apply for legal aid.
Michaud was also in court Monday.
Two other lawyers for the two remaining accused also addressed the court.
Michael Bolton, representing Cpl. Paul Johnston, said he was planning to withdraw, but said he plans to write RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson to see whether he can get the RCMP to give a definitive answer to the question of funding.
He said one indemnity agreement for his client had already been cancelled and a second one put in place, but after some preliminary work following disclosure by the Crown he submitted a bill but has not yet been paid.
Bolton told the judge he would wait another month before withdrawing formally.
Michael Klein, who represents Sgt. David Attew, said he was in the same position as Bolton and will withdraw in a month if the RCMP does not make its position known.
The next court appearance is Oct. 29 in New Westminster.
The 40-day jury trial is set to open Sept. 16, 2013.
Brassington is charged with seven offences, including breach of trust, fraud, obstruction of justice and compromising the safety of a witness, identified only as Jane Doe.
Attew faces six counts, including claiming false expenses, falsifying overtime claims and compromising the safety of a witness.
Johnston and Michaud face four and three charges, respectively, including breach of trust, obstruction of justice and attempting to mislead investigators from the Ontario Provincial Police.