Former Sudbury contractor David Murray was in court on Jan. 21 to have his 35 counts of fraud over $5,000 spoken to.
Murray was in court on Jan. 7 for what was to be a judicial pre-trial, but that hit a snag as he had not yet retained legal counsel as he had been unsuccessful in finding a lawyer in Greater Sudbury and was looking to find outside representation.
The court was told that Murray had been inquiring if the legal aid certificate would cover travel costs for an out-of-town lawyer and was waiting to hear back. On Jan. 21, it was revealed that Murray's legal aid certificate has been cancelled and he is now in the process of appealing that decision.
"I contacted legal aid and they cancelled my certificate," said Murray in court on Jan. 21. "I'm making an appeal and I submitted it last week. They said it could take two weeks for them to make a decision."
Justice Andrew Buttazoni explained that he had already set aside one of his non-presiding days on Feb. 6 to sit at Murray's judicial pre-trial and was unwavering on his decision that Murray will be in court on that date, regardless of whether or not he has retained counsel.
"We're going to go ahead with the judicial pre-trial on that date. I don't want to keep adjourning this," said Buttazoni. "If (Murray) is representing himself then we will go ahead with it, if he's retained counsel and they're present on that date, then perhaps we can adjourn so that they can get caught up on everything. But if not, then we have to move ahead with this."
Crown attorney Patrick Travers appeared via telephone on Jan. 21 and was on board with Buttazoni's comments.
"I'd totally agree, I would like to proceed with this. The intent is to set a trial for this matter," said Travers.
Buttazoni advised Murray to continue searching for an in-town lawyer and make the effort to exhaust all possible options.
Murray told the judge that he has been making an effort, with no success.
"I have exhausted my efforts in Sudbury and they either said they aren't taking clients or they don't take legal aid," said Murray.
In the meantime, Buttazoni asked that Travers prepare a synopsis of the case and the number of complaints. He also advised Murray that if he is able to retain counsel to have them contact Travers in order to have everyone in the loop ahead of the pre-trial.
The judicial pre-trial is scheduled for Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. Pre-trials are not open to the public.