Like so many, Edgars is addicted to heroin, collects $230 a month from welfare, occasionally turns tricks to feed her habit and suffers from mental health issues.
She has at best a Grade 6 education.
Edgars is like most of the chronic offenders who get caught in the revolving
door of these minor charges tied to their addictions and homelessness. She has
no fixed address so there is no place to send Crown disclosures or to contact
her. And, let's be honest, she's incapable of understanding the nature of a
criminal trial and the issues at play.
Surprisingly, however, on the eve of her Rowbotham hearing (with Rankin in her corner), the attorney-general authorized funding.
'This came as surprise to me,' the lawyer said, 'as the LSS had twice denied funding and because the LSS has a policy of not funding category one offences unless a person suffers from a serious mental or physical disability.'
The society says it has approved 70 cases under its disability exemption so far.
Rankin figured Edgars received funding because the government knew it was about to lose -- as it would in similar, competently prepared cases -- and he thinks that stinks. Few of these individuals can produce a competently prepared case or properly defend themselves.
'Making the unrepresented accused jump through these hoops is too onerous and the AG is abusing the process and litigants by paying off those who can do a proper Rowbotham application,' he said.
'Ironically, the time and preparation and defence [of Rowbotham applications] is costing the taxpayer tens of thousands of dollars to prevent [the needy] getting legal aid which would be much less expensive.'"