Emotions erupted in a Calgary courtroom Wednesday after a lawyer and his client did not get the ruling they wanted from a judge.
Talal Fouani was in court Wednesday as his lawyer, Yoav Niv, attempted to have the judge recuse himself and thwart a hearing set for monday.
When Justice Greg Stirling declined to recuse himself and ordered the matter continue as planned Monday, Fouani then stood up and said "I'm done."
"Your honour, I'm going to have to fire my lawyer. Right now."
He then stormed out of the courtroom, slamming the door against the wall.
Fouani was charged in June 2022 with money laundering and organized crime offences.
Two months later, Fouani and his spouse, Nakita Baron, were sitting in their Bentley outside their home when a man approached the vehicle and shot them both. Baron was killed. A man was charged with her murder but police haven't spoken about a connection between the two cases.
This March, Fouani pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with a major Calgary police drug investigation.
But since then, Niv has filed a number of applications. They include an abuse of process application, an application to vacate his client's guilty plea, and an application to have Crown lawyers removed from the case.
'Such a mess'
On Wednesday, Justice Stirling heard arguments from Niv that there is a perceived apprehension of bias against Fouani based on a document the Crown filed that shouldn't have been sent to the court.
"The prejudice is palpable, I can taste it in the air that I breathe in this file," said Niv.
Niv told the judge that he would be "withdrawing from the record" and would stop acting for Fouani if Stirling did not recuse himself.
"It's become such a mess," said Niv. "I'm at the end of my rope on this file."
After Fouani stormed out of the courtroom and tempers cooled, the court reconvened and Fouani was allowed to address the judge.
'Having a mental breakdown'
Through tears, he said he's broke after spending $500,000 on legal fees.
"I don't have another penny to spend on this," said Fouani. "I can not afford to lose my lawyer."
"I don't have a bank account. I can't get legal aid. I'm at a state, sir, where I'm having a mental breakdown."
Stirling adjourned the case to give Fouani time to find a new lawyer.
Niv had final words for the judge before he left the courtroom.
"I told the Crown this was going to happen. I told the Crown this was going to happen, and that's what happened and that's it. Thank you, sir."