Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan (PBLS) is celebrating Access to Justice Week by sharing stories from our volunteers. PBLS volunteers directly support low-income people in Saskatchewan who would otherwise not be able to access a lawyer.
Today’s Pro Bono Stories are from two of our many amazing volunteers who volunteer under Pro Bono Membership Status. The Pro Bono Membership Status allows lawyers to volunteer with approved pro bono organizations. Pro Bono members are exempt from Law Society and SLIA fees. Fees are also waived for Law Society provided CPD.
I assisted a client who was charged with assault. Although the client’s version of the facts would have supported a finding of assault at trial, the facts alleged by the Crown were outrageously different from those stated by this client. The client decided that the matter needed to go to trial.
At trial, none of the Crown witnesses appeared. The trial prosecutor interviewed the co-accused on the spot. The co-accused’s version of events was the same as that of our client, and nothing like the facts on the Crown file. The Crown called no evidence and the charge was dismissed.
This client struggled throughout all the court appearances with physical and mental health issues and with COVID-related job issues. The client was very happy to have the charge dismissed. I was very happy. It was the best possible result.
Pat Tondevold volunteers at CLASSIC Law and received the 2019 Victor P Dietz Pro Bono Service Award. This award is presented annually to a recipient who engages in delivering, establishing, coordinating or advocating in relation to pro bono legal services in Saskatchewan.
I recently met with a client about his ongoing criminal matter at the Regina Free Legal Clinic. During the conversation I learned that the client had been working towards a resolution on his matter for some time with the help of Legal Aid, but unfortunately, he had fired his lawyer because of a breakdown in communication. To make matters worse, his charges included a particularly serious assault offence and the trial was scheduled to take place in a matter of weeks. Based on our conversation I decided to represent him as it was clear he needed a lawyer’s support. After reaching out to the Crown, on my client’s behalf, I learned that the assault charge had in fact been stayed. We were then able to start a conversation with the Crown about resolving the outstanding matters without going to trial and a plea deal was ultimately reached. By supporting this client, Pro Bono not only helped avoid an unnecessary trial but also allowed the client to resolve his matters more quickly so he could move on with his life.
Simon Hutton volunteers with the Regina Free Legal Clinic and on the Immigration and Refugee Panel, Residential and Tenancies Panel, General Panel and the Cory Cardinal Inmates Legal Assistance Panel.