The owner of the Smuggler’s Inn in Blaine has won an application to have the Canadian government fund his defence against human-smuggling-related charges. (File photo)

Canada to pay legal fees for U.S. inn owner accused of human-smuggling

Robert Boule’s ‘Rowbotham application’ granted Friday in B.C. Supreme Court

A U.S. inn owner facing charges in Canada relating to human smuggling has had an application to have his defence funded by the Canadian government granted.

According to court records, the decision regarding Smuggler’s Inn owner Robert Boule’s request was made Friday following a hearing in B.C. Supreme Court.

Boule made the “Rowbotham application” before Justice Frits Verhoeven at the New Westminster courthouse.

The application – named after a 1988 case in Ontario – is an option for people “facing serious and complex criminal charges,” who have been denied legal aid and can’t afford a lawyer.

Boule is facing charges related to knowingly inducing, aiding or abetting people in illegally attempting to enter Canada, as well as charges of breaching recognizance relating to a prior indictment.

READ MORE: Nine of 30 smuggling charges stayed against Smugglers Inn owner, trial date set

Arrested in April, the senior was released on $15,000 bail last month, with more than a dozen conditions, including that he must deny potential customers if they give any indication of a plan to enter Canada illegally.

Friday, prosecutor Daniel Meneley, counsel for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, told the court that a key to successful Rowbotham applications is that counsel representation be deemed essential to conduct a fair trial.

He noted “the complexity (of the case) is acknowledged and conceded” by the Crown.

Boule has been self-represented since January, the court heard.

He told PAN he can’t afford a lawyer.

“There’s no funds,” Boule said.

His former lawyer, Peter Edelmann, told Peace Arch News outside court – before the decision – that he couldn’t speak to Boule’s case specifically, but that ultimately, the matter was about an accused’s right to counsel. Edelmann was not available to comment further Monday, prior to PAN’s afternoon press deadline.

David MacAlister, director of Simon Fraser University’s school of criminology, said the step is not a common one.

“It’s something that you don’t hear very much about,” said MacAlister, who noted he was in law school when the Rowbotham case came up. “I’ve encountered a few… six or seven.”

MacAlister said while it is even less common to see applications involving non-Canadians, if the case is sufficiently complex, it doesn’t matter where the applicant resides.

“The rights that we have in the charter are applicable to all people,” he said.

Boule’s case is set for trial early next year, from Jan. 13 to Feb. 5.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fundraiser event scheduled for 10-year-old Cranbrook resident diagnosed with Leukaemia

Event at Soulfood on Dec. 11 will support Olivia Potorti and her family through a difficult time

UPDATED: Hwy 93 reopens after rockslide blocks traffic in Fairmont Hot Springs

Highway at Fairmont between Dutch Creek and Westside Road blocked until geotechnical team can assess

Feedback being sought for Koocanusa recreation plan

An updated Koocanusa Recreation Strategy is in the works following public input… Continue reading

Cranbrook RCMP report: Nov. 25-December 1

November 25 - December 1 • Calls for Service: 169 • Impaired… Continue reading

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Most Read