As convoy leader Pat King's trial approaches, he's still 'shopping' for a lawyer

Pat King, one of the leaders of the convoy protest, poses for photos in front of Parliament Hill on Feb. 16. (Patrick Doyle/Reuters - image credit)
Pat King, one of the leaders of the convoy protest, poses for photos in front of Parliament Hill on Feb. 16. (Patrick Doyle/Reuters - image credit)

Convoy protest leader Pat King does not have a lawyer for his upcoming criminal trial, but he told a court this week he is "shopping" for one as his supporters boast of raising more than $60,000 to fund his legal defence.

King, an Alberta resident and one of the most vocal leaders of the three-week occupation, faces 10 charges that include obstructing police and counselling intimidation.

His Feb. 18 arrest was livestreamed to thousands of his viewers, and he has remained in jail since.

On Tuesday he appeared in court without a lawyer — one of a handful of court appearances where he had no representation.

Laurie Foster-MacLeod
Laurie Foster-MacLeod

King will have lawyer for upcoming bail review

Toronto-based lawyer Cal Rosemond unsuccessfully argued in February for King to be granted bail.

But on Tuesday, King told the court Rosemond "is not my counsel" while he spoke from a phone inside the Ottawa--Carleton Detention Centre where he remains in custody.

Lawyer Nicholas Charitsis confirmed he is scheduled to represent King at a bail review hearing scheduled for April 13 and 14.

"We're just preparing for the bail review and I don't want to discuss the plan we're proposing at this point, until there is a date and an open hearing in court. At that point it will be revealed, what the plan is," said Charitsis.

Trial set to begin April 19

On Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Moiz Karimjee questioned whether King would need to seek out legal aid for his criminal trial set to begin April 19.

King told the court he is looking for representation.

"I'm presently shopping for lawyers right now due to the importance of this matter," King said. "I want to make sure that we have proper representation."

King is co-accused with Tyson George Billings, who was arrested on similar charges on the weekend police cleared protesters. He has had representation in all of his court appearances.

During some court appearances, including Tuesday's, King was not represented by a lawyer and spoke for himself.

King is also a defendant in a proposed class-action lawsuit against many of the people involved with the protests in Ottawa. The majority of defendants, including Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, are represented by the same lawyer; but King has not had legal representation at any of the court proceedings related to that matter.

Patrick Doyle/Reuters
Patrick Doyle/Reuters

Supporters continue to raise money

While he remains behind bars, his social media pages have remained active. Supporters operating his Facebook page also continue to solicit funds to assist in King's legal defence.

On March 30, following online speculation and confusion as to who was representing King, his social media page shared a video that included screenshots of what appears to be a handful of receipts from legal firms. The video shows apparent payments, including one for $11,400.

The online fundraiser for King's legal fees has raised more than $62,000, according to the page.

"When the time comes, Pat King will select the best lawyer that he feels will perform their duties and have his best interest at heart for the 'actual case' and the 'actual trial' when he is required to do so," reads a portion of the post attached to the video.