Conviction appeal regarding charges of fraud and money laundering. Issue of competence of first trial counsel raised on appeal. Accused declined to waive solicitor-client privilege as it related to the two lawyers who took over from original trial counsel.
Held: Appeal dismissed.
The starting point is that there is a strong presumption that counsel is competent, and it is insufficient that other counsel might have made different decisions. There must be actual prejudice shown. “An appellant cannot argue that his counsel was incompetent but at the same time refuse to disclose what advice he received from subsequent counsel in the same proceedings where the alleged incompetence of earlier counsel includes allegations that may well have been addressed by subsequent counsel before completion of the proceedings were there any merit to them.”