An Alberta youth who was forced to represent himself at a bail hearing ended up spending four days in jail because he had nowhere to go and no lawyer to advocate for him.

The boy’s charges were ultimately withdrawn once defence lawyer Ben Leung and prosecutor Dane Rolfe got hold of the file. Even if the teen had been convicted, his breach charges would not have resulted in a jail sentence for a first offence.

On Friday, Leung sent a letter to the province’s justice minister, calling on the government to fund a duty counsel lawyer so children do not have to represent themselves at bail hearings.