Defense lawyer in Saskatoon trial withdraws counsel due to 'ethical reasons'

Joseph Yaremko. (Facebook photo)

The defense lawyer in the Joseph Yaremko trial entered an application to withdraw counsel last week at Court of Queen's Bench.

Yaremko is accused of forcibly entering a woman's condo and sexually assaulting her multiple times. The woman was 21 at the time.

The incident occurred in the 100 block of Wellman Crescent in the Stonebridge neighborhood on June 3, 2019.

In Sept. 2019, Yaremko asked to represent himself. Considering the seriousness of the charges, Yaremko was advised by the judge to seek the help of a lawyer to cross-examine victims and witnesses related to the case.

Meaghan Bortis was appointed by the courts to represent Yaremko and told the courtroom her decision to withdraw was due to "ethical reasons."

Justice Naheed Bardai on Tuesday approved Bortis' request, leaving Yaremko with no counsel.

"This can't go on forever, what do you want to do?" Bardai asked Yaremko.

After a 10 minute adjournment, Yaremko told the courtroom he wished to represent himself and requested a copy of transcripts in order to prepare before making his closing arguments when court returns on Friday.

While serving time on remand at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon, Yaremko was charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement following an incident involving an employee. Yaremko pleaded guilty to those charges.

With files from Francois Biber