POLITICS

Halifax lawyer represents himself and client in separate cases on same day

09/06/2012 09:39 EDT | Updated 11/06/2012 05:12 EST
HALIFAX - A Halifax lawyer says it's unusual to represent both a client and himself in court on the same day.

Lyle Douglas Howe was in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Thursday on behalf of Independent member Trevor Zinck, who is charged in the province's legislative spending scandal.

Moments later, the 27-year-old Howe represented himself to set a date for a pretrial conference on allegations that he drugged and raped a woman.

"It's a first time for me and the first time I've seen it," Howe said on his way into court.

Howe is charged with sexual assault and administering a noxious substance after an alleged incident that involved him, another man and a 19-year-old woman in March 2011.

A pretrial conference for that case has been set for Oct. 5. That's not open to the public.

Howe will also return to court Oct. 18 to set dates for his trial.

Dates for Zinck's trial, who is charged with theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust, are expected to be set next Thursday.

Howe said he is seeking about three weeks for Zinck's trial, although only a few days will be needed for defence evidence.

Zinck is one of four provincial politicians charged in February 2011 following an investigation into constituency allowance spending.

Dave Wilson was sentenced in April after admitting to defrauding the public purse of nearly $61,000 and was released from custody last week after serving four months of a nine-month sentence.

Richard Hurlburt, a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, was sentenced to a year of house arrest in July after pleading guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust.

Russell MacKinnon, a former Liberal cabinet minister, has pleaded not guilty to fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents and his trial is set to begin in March.