R v Geick, 2022 ABCA 150

This is an Application for s 684 Appeal Funding to be paid for by the Attorney General, the Respondent in the appeal. The Applicant was appealing his conviction on two counts of animal cruelty for beating his former common law partner’s two dogs to death. Legal Aid declined to provide coverage on the basis that the likelihood of success on the grounds set out in the Notice of Appeal is remote.

Trial details and the sentencing decision for this case can be found here, and a mistrial application is available here.

The appeal argued that it was not fair that his current counsel, or another lawyer I am told has agreed to take over the appeal, be required to provide legal assistance or cover disbursements on a pro bono basis. The court noted that was not one of the criteria in the legal test for an application for appointment of publicly funded counsel, which is based on whether:

a) the Appellant demonstrates insufficient means to obtain representation;

b) there is sufficient arguable merit to the appeal to justify public funding of counsel;

c) the issues transcend the interests of this particular appellant and engage broader societal concerns; and

d) the submissions to be made are sufficiently complex that the appellant would be unable to advance them without assistance.

While the court accepted that the Applicant could not afford representation, it was not satisfied that the other criterion had been met. The appeal was based on the trier of fact’s credibility on the grounds that the verdict had been unreasonable, that evidence was misunderstood and unevenly scrutinized and inadmissible bad character evidence had been introduced. Other grounds of the appeal related to the trial judge’s denial of the Applicant mistrial and fresh evidence applications, but the court found no error had been made that did not come back to Defence’s assertion that the trial judge should have believed the accused’s testimony.

The application was dismissed.