A man charged with robbery and auto theft fired his lawyer on Tuesday, prompting his family to ask for a cognitive assessment.
Edward Ross, 18, is charged with robbing the Asian Le restaurant on 6 Avenue East in March. According to court documents, police believe he entered the restaurant armed with a knife and wearing a face mask. He allegedly threatened to kill an employee. He is accused of stabbing, choking and confining her, before making off with cash and her Toyota Rav-4.
Ross appeared in Prince Albert’s provincial court on Tuesday, represented by legal aid lawyer and city councillor Terra Lennox-Zepp. Ross addressed the judge directly, asking her for a court-appointed lawyer instead. She refused. Unless he pays, she said, he doesn’t get to pick.
“I was wondering if I can fire my lawyer,” Ross said.
“You are not required to have a lawyer,” Judge Daunt told him. “So you want to represent yourself?”
Ross chose to face his charges in provincial court, but did not immediately enter a plea. He also declined to apply for bail. Daunt ordered the Crown to send its case materials to him in jail.
As soon as Ross left the screen, his aunt, Maggie Halcro, stood up to address the court. She said Edward and his family are “wondering whether we can get a mental assessment.”
“He doesn’t quite understand what’s going on,” Halcro said. “I don’t believe that he should be representing himself… His mentality is not all the way up there. He probably only thinks like a 10 or 11 year old.
“I think he should stick with his lawyer.”
Judge Daunt noted that Ross is an adult, and she can’t force him to keep Lennox-Zepp on board. She suggested that Halcro speak with the Crown and return on Monday, the date of Ross’s next scheduled court appearance.