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Alberta to provide duty counsel services at bail hearings

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 2:26 PM | By Ian Burns

The Alberta government is introducing duty counsel at first appearance bail hearings in an attempt to reduce court backlogs, with a prominent defence lawyer saying many in the criminal justice system have been “clamouring” for these services.

Duty counsel is a free service that is available to all Albertans regardless of income levels. Under the new system, legal aid lawyers will provide basic information, guidance and advice to help accused persons at their first bail appearance. The government said many people facing charges are self-represented during...