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Convicted pedophile Andre Birbal had a change of heart about dismissing his second court-appointed attorney when appellate court justices told him he would have to represent himself.
Birbal, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a jury convicted him of having unnatural sex with two male students at Eight Mile Rock High School, appeared before the Court of Appeal yesterday to challenge his conviction.
Before the proceedings began, defense lawyer Jairam Mangra informed the Bench of Court President Anita Allen and Justices of Appeal Stanley John and Abdulai Conteh that Birbal did not want him to appear on his behalf.
Mangra said he had discussed the prospects of the appeal with Birbal and gave him advice, which he did not accept.
Birbal confirmed that he did not want Mangra to represent him, adding that he was under the impression that Wayne Munroe was his lawyer.
Allen replied, "No one ever told you that."
Birbal reversed his decision on firing Mangra once the Court made it clear that it would not appoint a third lawyer for him.
Allen said: "You must be prepared to represent yourself."
Birbal acknowledged that he was unable to argue his appeal. He said since the Court was not going to assign another attorney he would give Mangra 'a chance' to represent him.
Mangra agreed to represent Birbal as he gave insight into the source of tension between him and Birbal. He said, "I have a difficulty when an appellant tries to advise me. I have no problem if Birbal cooperates; I will pursue his appeal."
The appeal is now set for June 7.
Back in March, Birbal fired Craig Butler over differences on how his appeal should be presented.