Michee Roy’s former lawyer attacks legal aid rates

Michée Roy’s situation in Richmond serves as the backdrop for a challenge to legal aid rates led by his former lawyer, Félix-Antoine Doyon.
Thislast raises the unconstitutionality of the rules of the legal aid which makes that a lawyer is not paid for the preparation of a file outside the established fixed amount.

“For all services rendered to the plaintiff, up to and including sentencing, the law provides that the plaintiff has access to a lump sum of $ 550. No money is specifically allocated to the preparation of the plaintiff’s file, “explains Mr. Félix-Antoine Doyon in his motion filed this week at the Quebec City Court House.

Michée Roy was found guilty of manslaughter of his 69-day-old child in March 2017. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, a sentence reduced to 8 years and 7 months, taking into account the time spent in custody.

Last March, the Quebec Court of Appeal ordered a new trial given the new medical evidence presented where there is “risk of miscarriage of justice”.

Three months later, Michée Roy was released conditionally by the Superior Court.

When Michée Roy went to court in August, he raised the insufficient remuneration of his lawyer as the reason for his change of lawyer.

“As of the date hereof, I still have difficulties in constituting an experienced lawyer under a legal aid mandate, having the skills to conduct my trial. I wish to be represented by counsel, because I am not able to represent myself, “says Michée Roy in the sworn statement filed in support of the motion.

“I refuse to personally finance a third procedure in this case. ”
– Me Félix-Antoine Doyon, lawyer of Michée Roy

“Extremely complex”

Me Félix-Antoine Doyon points out that Michée Roy’s file is “extremely complex” and that it becomes ethically dangerous to accept such a mandate with the amounts granted by legal aid.

“At the end of the proceedings, we may ask for special considerations so that the $ 550 flat fee is increased. However, it is necessary to finance the file during the whole duration of the procedures, “says Mr. Doyon.

In the case of Michée Roy in first instance, Mr. Doyon spent nearly 220 hours preparing the file, while he invested more than 375 hours on appeal.

Me Félix-Anotine Doyon argues that the Legal Aid Act “does not provide any mechanism to provide the applicant with resources before the trial ends. Given the total lack of standards in the agreement to pay a lawyer so that he can prepare. ”

“I refuse to personally finance a third procedure in this case,” said Mr. Doyon in his sworn statement.

He argues that the Legal Aid Attorney Compensation Agreement is contrary to the principles of equality and contravenes the right of the accused to full and complete defense.

“We can not speak of equity here. ”
– Me Félix-Anotine Doyon

In an interview at La Tribune, Mr. Doyon recalls that the situation of Michée Roy is far from exceptional.

“Defense counsel gets nothing to prepare for, while criminal prosecutors have all the resources. We can not speak of equity here, “laments Mr. Doyon. Michée Roy has spent more than four and a half years in prison after being convicted of the manslaughter of his son in 2015.

In the event of a possible trial, an Ontario neuropathologist Dr. David Ramsay will be able to present a new expertise in the cause, including the analysis of parts of the child’s brain that have been preserved. In the original trial, there was no file analysis by a neuropathologist. No expert had even testified for the defense.

Dr. Ramsay agreed to analyze the pro bono file. It has already passed nearly 75 hours. The theory of defense of the cause of injury has not changed, namely that non-accidental head injury (TCNA) has been concluded due to the absence of external signs and is based on the exclusion of other pathologies .

In the first trial, the court held that it was by shaking it violently that Michée Roy had thus caused the death of his son Kylen Roy on June 7, 2015. The little Kylen had remained in a neuro-vegetative state before succumbing about six months after being shaken.

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