The Yukon Legal Services Society (YLSS) is canvassing for lawyers to represent two Pelly Crossing sisters charged with first-degree murder after their unsuccessful funding challenge. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Search underway for lawyers to take on Pelly Crossing murder case

The Yukon Legal Services Society (YLSS) is canvassing for lawyers to represent two Pelly Crossing sisters charged with first-degree murder after their unsuccessful funding challenge.

Charabelle and Lynzee Silverfox had filed an application to the Yukon Supreme Court requesting a stay until they received state-funded counsel. It came after YLSS, also known as legal aid, offered lawyers Jennifer Cunningham and Jennifer Budgell 100 hours of preparation for the case.

While then-YLSS executive director David Christie said in an affidavit YLSS would consider requests for more time, he later said under cross-examination that legal aid’s limited budget wouldn’t allow for additional hours.

The sisters argued 100 hours wasn’t enough for a proper defence but a judge dismissed the application last month as “premature.”

Cunningham and Budgell were to decide by Oct. 6 whether they would go “on record” as lawyers for the sisters on a 100-hour certificate.

However, in court, Cunningham and Budgell said legal aid rescinded the certificate after they said they wanted to go on-record for the sisters’ upcoming preliminary inquiry and discuss negotiating more hours after that.

YLSS executive director Lynn MacDiarmid, in reply, denied YLSS withdrew the certificate but said it only offers certificates for entire cases, not just preliminary inquiries. YLSS therefore is considering Cunningham and Budgell as having rejected the offer, she said, and is looking for other lawyers who might accept the certificate.

MacDiarmid said she’d found one lawyer interested in taking the case and was seeking a second.

She’s expected to provide an update to the court on the search next week.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Yukon courts

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