Stanley Whitford

Man charged with sex offences fires lawyer on first day of trial

Stanley Whitford, arrested in Surrey, accused of assaulting teen girl in Abbotsford

A man charged with four sexual offences involving a 13-year-old girl had his trial delayed today (Monday) after firing his lawyer.

Jason Stanley Whitford, 37, was scheduled to be tried in Abbotsford provincial court on charges of sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, exposure, sexual assault and trafficking in methamphetamine.

But defence lawyer Stephanie Head told judge Kenneth Skilnick that she had been fired by Whitford just moments before entering the courtroom.

A reason for the decision was not provided in the courtroom, but Skilnick asked Whitford how long he had been considering obtaining a new lawyer.

“I was thinking about it for a couple of weeks,” Whitford said.

Skilnick said he had no choice but to adjourn the start of the judge-only trial until Whitford can hire new counsel.

Whitford said he had a couple of people in mind for the job, but had not yet had an opportunity to consult with them.

The complainant in the case, accompanied by her mother, had been scheduled to begin her testimony today.

Whitford was charged in June 2017 for the alleged offences occurring on March 10 and 27, 2017 in Abbotsford, but police could not locate him, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was apprehended on June 7 with the help of Surrey RCMP officers.

Whitford has an extensive criminal record, including prior convictions for offences such as assault, breaching his probation, resisting a police officer, mischief, possession of stolen property, drug possession and theft.

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