PUBLICATION: The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
SECTION: General News
BYLINE: CP wire
KENORA, Ontario (CP) - A northwestern Ontario man challenging the
constitutionality of the Firearms Act has fired his lawyer - a move that
could delay the case by up to four months.
Bruce Montague dismissed Toronto lawyer Calvin Martin on Tuesday and
asked Justice John Wright for a four-month adjournment in order to
obtain a new lawyer.
Wright reluctantly granted the four-month adjournment, but ordered
Montague to return to court on a monthly basis to provide an update on
his progress in finding new counsel.
The next date, in which Montague will appear before Wright by video
conference, is April 24.
Wright noted the difficulties Montague will have in finding a new lawyer
who is familiar with both criminal and constitutional law.
The judge also said new counsel will have to step in where Martin left
off, since he was in the middle of his submissions on the Charter of
Rights and Freedoms application.
"You understand the seriousness of changing horses midstream?" Wright
asked. "If this were a trial, chances are I would simply proceed and
leave you to act for yourself."
Crown attorney Peter Keen told the court the delay will result in
"significant prejudice" to the Crown's case, and also expressed
concerned about the "public safety issue" considering the
firearms-related charges Montague is facing.
"We want this to get to trial as early as possible," Keen said.
Montague, from Dryden, is charged with 53 counts of weapons-related
offences, including the unauthorized possession and careless storage of
non-restricted firearms, explosives and restricted firearms.
His wife, Donna Montague, is facing three charges: unauthorized
possession of a firearm and two counts of careless storage of a firearm.
Their charter application is seeking to strike out sections of the
Criminal Code of Canada related to the Firearms Act, to have their
criminal charges dismissed and to have the Firearms Act declared
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