Criminal court today. I will also be serving documents later today for civil court so while I am in Toronto later this week for the third proceeding involving same matter, I can file everything at the courthouse where the proceedings were started, as per the Rules of Civil Procedure.
I am in courtroom one. There is a mom with her baby sitting in the back. The baby is quiet until the first matter is spoken to. The Judge stops and asks the mom to wait outside for duty counsel. It is her second appearance and the mom begins to explain that at her first appearance, she was sent outside the courtroom and waited for four hours with her baby, only to be told that duty counsel had gone home for the day. The Judge tells the mom she is being aggressive. I think to myself, yeah of course she is. The court decides to speak to her matter now. She is facing jail time and qualifies for legal aid. I think to myself, she is lucky. I am not facing jail time, so I do not qualify for legal aid.
I am sitting in the front row as usual, waiting for my matter to come up. When it does, my lawyer tells the Judge we need to set a date for another judicial pretrial. The Crown says there have already been a few but if we really want to, she says okay. My lawyer reminds her that it was the Judge that requested another pretrial, so that I could participate in it. The pretrial date is set for March 20, 2018.
Sometimes my life feels like an episode of Law and Order. I always loved that show, but my brain is starting to hurt. There are three different proceedings and three different versions of events being presented to me, all regarding the same incident. I only want to tell the truth but there is a ton of law I need to read and understand to be able to do that. I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights reading the different legislation, lawyer guides and truisms that apply to each type of proceeding I face. I am self-representing in civil court, but had a lawyer review my materials. That moment when your lawyer on another matter looks impressed and asks you how you learned to prepare these documents and you tell them you googled it. Because justice is equally accessible for all, right?