February 21st, 2024

Lethbridge man accused of robbing banks fires lawyer

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 25, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man accused of robbing two banks earlier this year, and who is preparing to have a preliminary hearing, has fired his lawyer.

Jamie Gerald Bagu confirmed Friday in Lethbridge court of justice that he needs to retain a new lawyer after dismissing Katherin Beyak of Calgary. That, however, may delay his preliminary hearing, as well a detention review next week in Court of King’s Bench.

Jamie Gerald Bagu was denied bail in June, but he’s hoping the higher court will release him while he prepares for the preliminary hearing and possibly trial. Bagu was reminded, however, that the detention review may not proceed if he has not hired a new lawyer by Monday.

“I suspect the bail review will be adjourned because you won’t have counsel at that time,” Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox told court.

Fox noted that the Crown and defence were getting ready to have a pretrial conference and schedule the preliminary inquiry, when Beyak informed them that she had been dismissed by her client.

The accused, who appeared in court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, told court he has spoken to a Lethbridge lawyer, and although he has not yet retained her, she has agreed to take his case.

Bagu, who previously elected to be tried in King’s Bench with a judge and jury and preliminary hearing, is charged with two counts each of robbery with a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, pointing a firearm, use of a firearm while committing an offence, and disguised with intent, and one count each of assault with a weapon and unsafe storage of a firearm.

The charges stem from incidents on March 17 and April 11, 2023 at CIBC in the 500 block of 13 Street North.

Police reported that in both cases a man entered the bank, pointed a firearm at employees and demanded money, then fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured during either robbery.

A vehicle with distinctive features was identified after it was recorded by a video surveillance camera leaving the area of the second robbery at a high rate of speed. Police later found the vehicle and identified a suspect.

The matter is expected to return to court of justice on Dec. 6 to confirm whether Bagu has retained a lawyer.

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