Nelson Hart alleges mistreatment at HMP, wants lawyers fired

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Nelson Hart is seen in court in this Telegram file photo.

Nelson Hart complained in Newfoundland Supreme Court of Appeal in St. John’s today that he is being mistreated at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s.

He also applied to the court to have his defence lawyers fired and another appointed.

Hart, now 44, was found guilty in 2007 of first-degree murder in the 2002 deaths of his three-year-old twins Karen and Krista at Gander Lake. He was sentenced to life behind bars.

Last September, the appeals court ordered a new trial in the case.

In response, the provincial Crown has applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal that decision.

Hart, who remains in custody at HMP in St. John’s awaiting a bail review, told Chief Justice Derek Green that he wanted to have defence lawyers Rosellen Sullivan and Peter Ralph removed from the case, and was trying to get St. John’s lawyer Jeff Brace to take on his case. Green asked Crown prosecutor Frances Knickle to contact Brace to see what the status is.

Hart told the court he is being blocked at HMP from getting a new lawyer. He alleged he was denied phone calls, being charged with minor infractions and refused requests for a writing pen to fill out forms.

Knickle noted, however, she had spoken to the superintendent of the prison and it was her understanding he was being treated fairly.

Green said that, if Hart’s allegations are true, it is a serious matter. He asked that a representative of the Attorney General look into the matter and inform the Justice Minister of the situation.

Green said he wants a representative of HMP present when the case is called again Jan. 15 in Newfoundland Supreme Court of Appeal for a status update.

More details in Wednesday’s full edition of The Telegram.

Organizations: Supreme Court of Canada

Geographic location: Gander Lake

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