An Eckville man facing 80 child sexual exploitation charges told a Red Deer judge on Wednesday he is doing his best from behind bars to get a lawyer.
Christopher Juneau, 35, has been in the Red Deer Remand Centre since his arrest mid-January on dozens of charges, including child sexual assault, child pornography-related charges and other offences related to sexual exploitation of children.
It is alleged Juneau sexually assaulted at least eight child victims dating back to 2013.
Juneau appeared in Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday to give the judge an update on his efforts to get a lawyer.
The Legal Aid Society turned down Juneau’s application to provide a free lawyer because his income was too high.
Judge Jim Mitchell urged Juneau to get moving on his case.
“These charges aren’t going to disappear, Mr. Juneau,” said Mitchell. “You have to deal with them.”
Juneau said he is filing an application to have the court appoint a lawyer for him under a process designed to provide legal representation to those turned down by Legal Aid, but who cannot afford a lawyer.
“It’s not that I’m just sitting here not doing anything,” said Juneau. “I’m trying everything I can to get a lawyer.”
Juneau said he was still trying to pull together all of the paperwork necessary for his application.
He told the judge that remand sheriffs told him that it can take three to five weeks from when mail arrives at the prison to pass it on to prisoners.
Carolyn Ayre, the Crown prosecutor from specialized prosecutions in Calgary, said she was not sure what to make of that statement. “I’m incredulous.”
Ayre offered to help with Juneau’s application for a lawyer. She also planned to look into arranging a detention review hearing for the accused, who has now been in custody for 3 1/2 months.
Juneau was arrested by Sylvan Lake RCMP on Jan. 10 after Australian police tipped off the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s internet child exploitation unit about a suspect involved in trading child pornography images online.
Investigators searched homes in Eckville and Fox Creek associated with the suspect and recovered half a million photos and videos.
Juneau’s case will be back in court on Monday.