Accused charged with offences including arson and assault. Following the close of the Crown’s case, defence counsel was suspended by the Law Society. New counsel was retained and brought a mistrial application on grounds which included previous counsel having fallen asleep at one point in the trial, a failure to communicate with the accused, and general ineffectiveness.

Held: Application dismissed.

To succeed, an applicant must show: (1) facts in support of a claim of incompetence; (2) that the lawyer’s conduct fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment; and (3) that a miscarriage of justice resulted: Meer, 2015 ABCA 141. Test not met. As per B(GD), 2000 SCC 22, the applicant bears a “hefty onus”, as there is a “strong presumption that the lawyer’s conduct fell within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance”.

G. Wolch – Defence Counsel