June 16th, 2024

Conflict hearing cancelled for Shaw hostage case

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on October 25, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A conflict hearing to determine whether a Lethbridge law firm should be allowed to represent a woman accused of stabbing another woman during a hostage-taking incident earlier in the summer, has been cancelled.

The hearing, which was scheduled for Dec. 9 in Lethbridge provincial court, was cancelled Monday after Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller of the Michael Dietrich Law Office was allowed to take over the file from Vincent Guinan with the law firm of Connolly Shurtz.

Connolly Shurtz had represented the accused, Courtney Louise Shaw, but the Medicine Hat Crown prosecutors’ office opposed the firm’s representation and said the lawyers were in conflict of interest. The Crown maintained the Lethbridge law firm should not represent Shaw because one of the firm’s lawyers, Miranda Hlady, is the wife of Wade Hlady, an employee of Lethbridge Legal Guidance, which is the site of the stabbing.

Shaw is charged with one count each of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and taking a hostage, and multiple counts of pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, unlawful confinement, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, and assault with a weapon.

The charges against the 40-year-old accused stem from an incident on July 14 when a woman entered Lethbridge Legal Guidance in the 400 block of 5 Street South, where four employees were working, and asked to speak to a specific lawyer. After being told the lawyer wasn’t available, the suspect asked to use a washroom and 10 minutes later returned and pointed a black handgun at two employees and threatened to kill them. One staffer grabbed a phone and hid under her desk to call 911.

Police said the woman also had a knife and threatened to kill the employees if they tried to leave and didn’t get the lawyer on the phone. She then forced a 54-year-old woman into an office and closed the door, allowing the other employees to escape. The hostage, however, was stabbed numerous times and required surgery. Police seized a knife and an airsoft handgun at the scene.

Shaw, who remains in remand custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, was also ordered Monday to have a psychological assessment to determine whether she is unfit to stand trial and whether she was, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence, suffering from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility.

The matter is scheduled to return to court in a month.

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