ST. JOHN’S, NL –
A man charged with the murder of his stepfather in December appeared in provincial court Monday morning, where he told the judge he hoped Legal Aid would pay a private attorney for him.
Brandon Noftall, 26, has been in custody since December 18, when the RCMP charged him with second degree murder related to the death of 41-year-old Bobby Noftall in Renews that day. Sources say Bobby Noftall was stabbed to death.
Brandon Noftall was originally represented by a Legal Aid attorney who was forced to withdraw from the case due to a conflict of interest.
“I don’t really want to be represented by a second-rate lawyer in a murder trial,” said Noftall on Monday, appearing in court on video from Her Majesty’s prison.
He said he applied to Legal Aid to fund private defense attorney fees.
In 2008, the provincial government amended its Legal Aid Act to allow legal aid clients charged with murder or manslaughter to choose a private practice attorney if they prefer. The government removed this option in 2018, although the director of the Legal Aid Commission has the power to make an exception in extenuating circumstances.
“The Legal Aid Commission employs highly qualified and experienced lawyers with expertise in family and criminal law,” the Justice Department said in a press release when the option was revoked. “Legal Aid’s attorneys offer high quality service and competently represent the Commission’s clients in matters in which they have extensive experience.”
Judge David Orr postponed the matter until March 8th to allow time to hear Noftall’s motion and make further decisions on how to proceed.
In addition to the murder, Noftall faces two charges of assault and assault with a gun and statements of threats related to an incident in November 2019 against a claim that he violated an order prohibiting him from carrying or possessing a knife.