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Court-Appointed Attorney Robert Borden

Can You Dismiss Court-Appointed Counsel?

SCC Ruling:  Brydges Duty Counsel Service

In R. v. Brydges, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that a temporary lawyer (Duty Counsel) shall be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to any person detained by police.

Duty Counsel representation is minimal, and may be contrary to your interests (read commentary from Clarence Darrow in sidebar).

For legal advice as a case proceeds, a client must apply for, and quality for, Legal Aid in a specific province. At a Legal Aid Office, the lawyers are assigned on rotation, thus clients cannot exercise choice in which lawyer represents them.

A Legal Aid Office sometimes farms out a case to a lawyer in private practice, for example when a conflict of interest is found, or during a period of strenuous workload.

R. v. Brydges 1990 SCC

A Review of Brydges Duty Counsel

Canadian Charter of Rights

Borden Embezzled Funds
Financial Summary Chart

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Financial Summary:  Saskatoon Attorney Robert Laird Borden
Source:  Law Society Amended Formal Complaint (2015)
Saskatoon lawyer Robert Borden misappropriated from his trust account the sums at right: 2011 Sept 8 $4,200
2011 Sept 9 $3,000
Total $7,200
For the clients listed at right, Robert Borden:
  • failed to act in a diligent, conscientious & efficient manner;
  • failed to complete any of the services for which he was retained;
  • failed to deposit retainers to his trust account (the amounts are listed at right)
Client J.I. $2,200
Client D.L. $1,116
Client B.W. $1,500 and $200
Client L.U. $3,900
Client P.L. $825
Client K.S. $7,550
Client A.K. $20,000
Client L.K. $1,100
Client M.C. $1,100
Client M.J. $1,417
Total $40,908

Letter Terminating Court-Appointed Attorney Robert Borden
Reasons Cited / Addressed to Judge Barry Singer

Reply from Provincial Court Judge Barry Singer
Allows Firing of Court-Appointed Attorney Robert Borden

Letter from Judge Singer to fire attorney Robert Borden
Georgena S. Sil
Saskatoon, Canada
Physicist & Technical Writer
Alumnus: University of British Columbia
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Sphere Within a Sphere, Sculpture, Pomodoro

Sphere Within a Sphere

Pomodoro, United Nations, NYC

The puzzle is truth.
Each piece is a fragment of truth.
But truth is irreducible.
It cannot be broken into parts.

And therefore, if you have even
the smallest scrap of truth,
you have the entire thing.

The trick is being able to examine
those few shards that come your
way, and see in them what they
always were and always will be.

The puzzle is not the pieces;
the real and genuine puzzle is
the one and only way in which
they can be assembled.

Joseph Garber



Court-Appointed Attorney: Only
Nominally Represents the Defence

State Defender

State officials, or those chosen by the State, usually come to regard themselves as a part of the machinery of justice and to stand with the Prosecuting Attorney for conviction.

It will most likely be the same with State Defenders. No one who really would defend could be elected or could be appointed, and it would work out in really having two Prosecutors, one nominally representing the defense.

A defendant should be left to get any lawyer or any expert he wishes.

State Expert

No one can be sure that the State expert will be better than the others. All one can say is that State experts may not be partisans, but, in effect, this would mean that they would not be partisans for the defendant.

The constant association with the Prosecutor, the officers of the jail, the public officials, and those charged with enforcing the law, would almost surely place them on the side of the State.

Such men must be elected or appointed by some tribunal. This brings them to the attention of the public and makes them dependent on the public.

The expert's interest will then be the same as the interest of the Prosecutor and the Judge.

American Civil Liberties lawyer and humanist Clarence Darrow made the observations above in Crime: Its Causes and Treatment.


When the Court granted me the right to a Court-Appointed attorney, I selected Robert Borden from the list — an obvious choice due to his ongoing experience with Dr. Yelland.

Two years on, my case contributions had gone from diligence to indentured servitude. My knowledge of the Disclosure, and my affinity with precedents, far exceeded the lawyer's.

Was a remedy possible? On the spectrum of representation, we have self-rep at the low end, and teams of multiple lawyers at the high end. Why not a hybrid? Why not a law team which includes the client?

I filed an Application at Saskatoon Provincial Court to ask this. The arguments of Judge Barry Singer are below.

Ct Transcript Aug31 p555

Georgena Sil application to the Court: "My attorney would take a lead role, but I ask to speak directly to the court myself when necessary on a topic ₀ and to participate in the examination of witnesses. I would only step in when I have data or precedents to offer beyond what my attorney presents."

Attorney Robert Borden reply: "My client feels that I am not prepared enough or that I’ve got too many other things going on."

Ct Transcript Aug31 p561

Georgena Sil: "Mr. Borden, you know that you haven't had time to be prepared."

Judge Singer: "I was told through your counsel last time that you no longer wanted him as your lawyer. Did I get that right?"

Georgena Sil: "It was one option. You had listed 3 options and I believe I said there was a fourth option. This (my application) is an attempt to continue with him as my attorney and yet solve the problem."

Judge Singer: "It's a novel attempt, but not one I can allow."

Sil Application re Prelim

Sil Application to Judge Singer: "Canadian Statutes permit clients to (1) represent themselves in Court, or (2) hire legal advice (a solo lawyer or a law-team)."

"Merge those options. In Court, I ask for equal standing in the case as if I were self-represented. But I also know the wisdom of legal advice. What I suggest is that Robert Borden and I be perceived as a legal team."

Reason: Attorney Borden lacks dedication to the preparations. It was I who sorted the voluminous Disclosure, and wrote detailed answers to prepare for the Prelim."

This Application was formally discussed in Saskatoon Provincial Court on Aug 31, 2005 (see Transcript pages above).

Court-Appointed Attorney List

The Saskatchewan Court publishes a list of private-practice attorneys who take cases farmed out by Legal Aid. These attorneys are paid at Legal Aid tariffs.

This annually updated list bears a title such as "Lawyers for Court-Appointed Counsel Matters." Robert Borden and his law partner Ed Holgate (of the two-man firm Borden-Holgate) were both fixtures on this list.


The three Memos below provide a glimpse into why Robert Borden was never prepared for his Court dates.

Copyright © 2008-2019 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.