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Accused in Red Deer cocaine case dumps lawyer

A two-day trial for a man charged with cocaine trafficking fell apart on Thursday after he dismissed his lawyer.

Defence lawyer Norm Claire said in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Thursday that his client, Peter Ker Ruach, 36, called him last Friday to say he no longer had confidence in him and wanted a new lawyer.

Justice A.G. Park approved his application to be removed as lawyer.

Ruach is now looking for his fourth lawyer since his arrest in December 2011 in an RCMP narcotics sting that rounded up nine suspects.

Park asked Ruach what steps he had taken to find a new lawyer.

Ruach, who is in custody, said he had contacted Legal Aid Alberta but no new lawyer had been appointed yet.

Federal Crown prosecutor Dave Inglis said Ruach is facing two drug trafficking charges and potentially faces prison time if convicted.

Inglis said he left the decision on whether to go ahead with the trial on Thursday with the court.

Park said he was reluctant to force the accused to stand trial without a lawyer and adjourned the case to Feb. 4 to see where it stands.

“Hopefully, you will have a lawyer at that time sir,” he told Ruach.

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