04/05/2013 01:24 EDT | Updated 06/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Lawyer suspended for speaking out on N.L. budget cuts

A lawyer suspended for speaking out about Newfoundland and Labrador government cuts to the justice department has written a letter of apology to the Legal Aid Commission.

Ray Kuszelewski, area director of legal aid for central Newfoundland, was suspended from his job after speaking to CBC Radio and Television this week. Kuszelewski said cutbacks will mean longer wait times in the province's justice system.

Commission chair Nick Avis said there was an emergency meeting of the board after Kuszelewski did the interviews. Avis said board members felt it was necessary to suspend him, because it is the second time he's spoken publicly about the department, contravening commission policy.

Avis said he doesn't expect the suspension will last long — and there was no pressure from government to suspend Kuszelewski.

With Kuszelewski suspended, the workload for the two remaining legal aid lawyers in the Gander office will increase.

Each lawyer has about 100 client files, and now the two will have to split those that Kuszelewski was handling.