Man accused of multiple sex offences fires lawyer before trial starts

Published on February 15, 2017

Charlottetown courtroom

©TC Media file photo

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — A man who fired his lawyer the day of his trial on multiple alleged sex offences will have a chance to find new legal counsel.

Joseph Gordon MacRoberts. 42, appeared before Justice Nancy Key in P.E.I. Supreme Court twice this week for what was supposed to have been a five-day trial.

Instead, Key granted an adjournment on Wednesday and said in her opinion what MacRoberts did was a stunt.

“It’s a delay tactic which doesn’t serve anybody well,” she said.

MacRoberts is facing charges for alleged sex offences that include multiple counts of sexual assault, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching.

Those charges relate to alleged incidents over several years.

His first court appearance was in January 2016 and after later pleading not guilty his trial was scheduled to start this week.

On Monday, which was the day the trial was supposed to begin, MacRoberts’s lawyer Brendan Hubley told the court he was dismissed as counsel over a difference of opinion in conducting the trial.

When the matter was before the court again on Wednesday, Crown attorney Valerie Moore said it was in the best interests of justice and the complainant to concede the adjournment.

Moore also said if MacRoberts is self-represented at trial she will make an application that he not be allowed to cross-examine the complainant.

In that case, a lawyer would be called on for the cross-examination.

Key told MacRoberts he was getting one free pass and she adjourned the matter until March 10 to set a new date for trial.