Medicine Hat defence lawyer Randall Pick may have to testify in a cocaine trafficking case.
Pick was the lawyer when a guilty plea was entered to a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking May 11.
The accused was then released on bail until his sentencing, which was to have taken place in provincial court Tuesday. Instead, the accused’s new lawyer, Patrick Fagan of Calgary, asked to have the guilty plea overturned, saying Pick had given the accused an irresistible offer, tempting him to plead guilty to the charge.
In an unusual move, Fagan put 33¬year-old (the accused) on the stand to give evidence before the sentencing. the accused said he had set up a grow house for marijuana in Victoria, which a friend agreed to buy. At the end of the harvest the accused was expecting to receive $10,000 cash from the friend. When he phoned the friend he was told the parcel was being sent by Greyhound, but it arrived at the wrong address.
The accused said he went to the address to pick up the package, but was told by the man in the house that the package had been accidentally opened and had “a little bit of white powder” in it.
“I couldn’t believe my friend had sent it instead of cash,” the accused said.
At the time of the plea, the accused had spent 19 months in jail, mostly on other matters. He said Pick had told him if he pleaded guilty to the possession charge he could be on bail for the summer to sort out his affairs then be sentenced in the fall.
“I just wanted out, that’s all I cared about,” the accused said. He said he would have agreed to anything, and even if he was sentenced to five years in jail he wanted to be out of jail for the summer.
Fagan has suggested the accused’s plea may have been coloured by the offer of freedom and being separated from family and friends.
Fagan said he may call Pick to the stand to testify about his consultations with (the accused), who would have to waive his lawyer-client privilege. Pick could be cross-examined by Crown Prosecutor Bill Cocks acting as agent for the federal Crown in the case. Cocks was unhappy with the turn of events.
“I thought we were here for a sentencing,” Cocks said. He added he may even become a witness himself.
A date for the hearing will be set Nov. 24.