A Canadian appeal court has found itself handling its own Lawyer X-esque drama, after police used a defence team's private investigator as a lawyer.
Novia Scotia's Court of Appeal said their case was unique, but referred to the Australia's High Court decision on gangland lawyer turned police informer Nicola Gobbo in ordering a retrial for a murder accused.
William Sandeson's lawyers asked for a mistrial after it was revealed a private investigator they'd hired and shared defence strategies with was a police informer.
The investigator had located and put police in contact with two witnesses in the case.
Police took steps to conceal the investigator's identity, and the connection was only revealed at trial.
The mistrial was refused and Sandeson was convicted, but that decision has been overturned.
"What has occurred here is unique. The parties and this court were unable to find any cases where a situation like this has occurred before," the appeal judges said.
But Sandeson's lawyers pointed to the Australia's High Court proceedings around the identification of Ms Gobbo.
Her informing has already resulted in one quashed murder conviction and several other appeals are underway in Victoria's Court of Appeal.
The Canadian court noted similarities, but said their case did not involve lawyer-client privilege like that breached by Ms Gobbo, who snitched on a number of her clients while registered as a police informer.
They said it was possible for a court could find it "offends society's sense of fair play and fundamental notions of justice" for the state to accept help from a professional hired by an accused to help their defence.