Adam Troy Gaudet, 42, of Deblois, is charged with conspiracy to traffic the prescription painkiller hydromorphone, and possession of the drug for the purpose of trafficking.
Monday was scheduled to be the first day of a two-week Supreme Court trial, but Gaudet told the court he couldn’t afford to pay his attorney and asked for more time to find another lawyer.
But Crown attorneys opposed any adjournment, citing numerous previous delays since Gaudet’s case first came before the courts in January, and that it was now “years past” the date of the alleged offences.
The charges stem from the culmination of a two-year undercover investigation, dubbed “Operation LASH,” which resulted in raids of five rural Prince County residences in April 2010.
Police used court-ordered wiretaps and video surveillance to build a case against six people from P.E.I., two from New Brunswick and one from Nova Scotia.
In November 2011, 37-year-old Trevor Jerry Delaney, of Palmer Road, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for purchasing hydromorphone off-Island and selling the pills to street-level dealers on P.E.I.
The alleged offences took place between Dec. 16, 2009 and April 11, 2010.
Two others named in the conspiracy case also appeared, or were represented, in Supreme Court on Monday.
Joseph Timothee Donald Leger, 61, of Westmoreland, N.B., who had previously pleaded guilty to the charges, will have his case transferred to his home province. Joseph Philip Arsenault, 31, of P.E.I., also entered guilty pleas and will be sentenced after the case against Gaudet is resolved.
Justice Gordon Campbell ruled that Gaudet’s trial would begin with the accused representing himself.
Some evidence was given Monday before the trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning.