Legal advice offered free

A few words of advice and encouragement may be enough to prevent a young man from getting a criminal record.

Daniel Wilson and Brittany Ashmore outside the Red Deer Courthouse: the two law students are providing free advice to those in need in the community.

A few words of advice and encouragement may be enough to prevent a young man from getting a criminal record.

Student lawyers Brittany Ashmore and Daniel Wilson were assisting Legal Aid Society of Alberta lawyer Murray Shack outside Red Deer provincial court one day this week, explaining the workings of alternative measures to a young man who obviously faced his first encounter with the justice system.

If followed, the advice would take him on a journey in the next few months that could expunge his charge, resulting in no criminal record if he follows through on the tasks presented him.

The advice is a small part of the students’ duties this summer in providing people who can’t afford a lawyer — or even the small fee charged for a legal aid lawyer — options for their predicament.

“Student Legal Assistance is a non-profit organization run by the University of Calgary,” said Ashmore, a second-year law student who has an undergraduate degree in psychology and pharmacology. “We help fill a void in the legal system for those people who can’t afford legal aid.”

Wilson is entering his third year in law after graduating with a commerce degree.

The students offer advice and represent people in matters of small claims, criminal offences, traffic violations, family matters except divorce, student academic and non-academic appeals, social assistance, disability employment insurance appeals and some administrative tribunal work. They’re not allowed to appear for people in Court of Queen’s Bench.

A qualified lawyer oversees their work.

A nominal fee is charged at their office, located on the third floor of 5008 Ross St.

Wilson, 28, is entering his second year of the service in Red Deer.

“Every trial I’ve prepared for has been resolved either through a plea, charges withdrawn or witnesses not showing up.

“I can hardly wait for my first trial,” he laughed. “I’m hoping for one next week.”

He said he enjoyed the experience last year.

“I like working with people and the files are interesting. I would recommend it,” he added.

Wilson, from Central Alberta, said he had about four files that were headed to trial last year but all were resolved before trial.

“We can handle most things thrown our way,” said Ashmore, 23 and from Drumheller.

The students have acquired a few files since the office opened in late April.

“This is our summer job and there’s nothing second to learning in the field,” Ashmore said.

“It’s good experience,” said Ashmore, who is undecided about going to work for the Crown prosecutor’s office or becoming a defence lawyer.

Wilson said he’s leaning toward becoming a criminal defence lawyer.

Both have been with the school program since last September. “It runs all year in Calgary,” Ashmore said.

Summer programs also run in Lethbridge and Bow Valley.

The Red Deer office number is 403-309-1742.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month