Jones to handle VandenElsen hearing 

By Rachel Boomer

Tuesday, July 6, 2004


BURNLEY (ROCKY) JONES: Says pair has right to their own lawyers. (File photo)
COURT – Carline VandenElsen has found a lawyer — at least for this week.

Burnley (Rocky) Jones, a well-known Halifax human-rights activist and lawyer, has agreed to represent the 41-year-old mom at a bail hearing tomorrow.

He said there’s no reason VandenElsen should stay behind bars.

“Unless it’s political, there’s really no reason,” Jones said yesterday.

‘No risk of flight’

“She’s not a danger to the public; she’s at no risk of flight. She isn’t going to leave the jurisdiction. Her baby’s here; her husband’s here. I hope they’ll release her with consent.”

Jones said if VandenElsen gets out of jail, she may try to regain custody of her child, but said he is not planning to represent her in family court.

“I’m sure that it’s her intention to get her child back. It’s her child. The state doesn’t own the baby.”

VandenElsen and her husband, Larry Finck, were charged in May after a couple held police at bay with a rifle for three days, refusing to hand over custody of a baby to Children’s Aid.

The baby, now six months old, has been in foster care since the arrest.

VandenElsen has delayed her bail hearing six times, arguing she wanted the chance to find a lawyer for herself and Finck.

Jones said yesterday that, so far, he has only agreed to represent VandenElsen in the bail hearing. He’s going on vacation, and won’t be available for the couple’s preliminary hearing set for July 26.

He has no plans to represent Finck.

“He has a right to have his own lawyer, and she has a right to have her own lawyer. There’s always a possibility of conflict, so they should have independent counsel,” Jones said.

During a brief court hearing yesterday, Finck told Halifax provincial court Judge John Nichols that he plans to continue representing himself.

Finck was supposed to have a bail hearing yesterday, but asked to have it delayed until his wife’s hearing tomorrow, arguing he wasn’t prepared. He’s made that argument several times.

Judge losing patience

Yesterday, he argued Crown attorneys should arrange to have the evidence bound, rather than delivered in boxes, before he would review it.

Nichols seemed to have little patience.

“You seem to be jerking the system around, Mr. Finck,” Nichols said.

“You’ve got to co-operate, too. There’s no sense in dancing around and grinding the whole system to a halt.”