A trial date is expected to be set today for a man who wants to act as his own lawyer when he is tried in the killing of a family doctor at a medical clinic in central Alberta.
Deng Mabiour, 54, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying last summer of Dr. Walter Reynolds at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer.
Mabiour has said he intends to act as his own lawyer. At his last court appearance in December, despite a judge warning him about the seriousness of the offence, Mabiour insisted he did not want legal representation at his trial.
“A lawyer cannot do anything about my case. No lawyer is good for me in Canada. I’m a Black man,” Mabiour told the judge.
“There is no lawyer good for me to defend me.”
Mabiour has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, as well as to charges of assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer.
A University of Calgary law professor says she’s not aware of any other case this serious in which an accused has acted as his or her own lawyer, but it may have happened.
“It’s that person’s right to have (a lawyer) or not,” Lisa Silver said in an interview. “Some people are difficult or some people just don’t want one. It can happen.”
Silver expects the judge in Mabiour’s case will make every effort to ensure that he receives a fair trial. That may mean appointing an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to help out in some instances, she said.
“Sometimes they will do that particularly when expert evidence is called … or sometimes for legal arguments that an unrepresented person wouldn’t be able to make on their own,” Silver said.
Mabiour was found fit to stand trial following a psychiatric exam ordered by the court after a number of bizarre exchanges with the judge.
Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked with a weapon while working at the clinic on Aug. 10. He died in hospital.
One witness told media that she was in the waiting room when she heard cries for help and saw a man with a hammer and a machete.
RCMP have said the crime was not random and the two men knew each other through the clinic, although they have not said if Mabiour was a patient of Reynolds.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press