Frustration at Edmonton law courts over justice delayed

24/09/2019 Posted by admin

Late Friday morning, a small group of people emerged from the Edmonton law courts angry and frustrated.

“I’m shocked that this can even be happening,” Lori McConnell said.

“How can we keep delaying this process for an indefinite period of time,” McConnell asked.

McConnell was speaking for her friend Gina Robinson, an Edmonton woman who died in April 2014.

The 54-year-old was found in a northwest Edmonton home with serious injuries. She died days later as a result of blunt force trauma according to the autopsy.

Gilbert Robinson, Gina’s estranged husband, is facing a second-degree murder charge.

Gilbert Robinson is facing a charge of second degree murder in the death of Gina Robinson.

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The case was scheduled to go to trial twice, but both times the accused fired his lawyer at the last minute; most recently, last week.

“Gina’s brother drove from Chicago, got here in the afternoon just to find out everything had been delayed,” McConnell explained, adding, “her daughter came from England.”

There is worry the accused, who is out on bail, is firing his counsel as a stall tactic.

In court Friday morning, the judge ordered the accused must be ready for the new trial dates. It’s now been set to be heard between Jan. 8 to 26, 2018, nearly four years after Gina’s death.

“This is difficult,” McConnell said.

“Any client has the right to fire their lawyer for any reason,” Kelly Dawson, president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers’ Association, said.

Dawson said a lawyer being fired by a client is not a “common occurrence.”

“They (an accused) can’t use that delay to argue that their right to a trial in a reasonable time has been violated,” Dawson said.

When it comes to the administration of justice, the onus is on the Crown and the courts to ensure a trial proceeds in a reasonable amount of time. As for delays caused by an accused?

“We trust the court to guarantee, not only the rights of the accused, but to make sure that the system is not abused,” Dawson explained.

“And I think judges are very aware of that and very cautious about what they do in these kinds of situations.”

Gina Robinson’s family and friends vow to continue to be there for their friend, no matter what obstacles come up.

“Gina is very much alive in our hearts and she will remain very alive in our hearts,” McConnell said. “And so, we just have to keep digging in.”