Impaired driving trial. Accused hired a non-lawyer legal agent. The agent appeared at the CMO, entered not guilty pleas and scheduled a trial date. The agent did not report the scheduled date to the accused, and neither appeared for trial. A warrant issued. When the matter was rescheduled for trial, the defence sought a stay.
Held: Charges dismissed, Court lost jurisdiction.
Not appropriate to read the words “at trial” into s. 802.1 CC. Accordingly, legal agents not authorized by provincial statute are prohibited from appearing for an accused at any stage of summary conviction proceedings where the potential penalty is 18 months jail. The court lost jurisdiction over the accused when the JP at the CMO allowed an appearance by a legal agent. The lost jurisdiction was not regained within the required three month period as per s. 485(3) CC, and accordingly the case was dismissed for a want of prosecution.
R. Ziv, Defence Counsel