In addition to an assessment of the accused’s finances, the other general issue on a Rowbotham application is whether it is essential for the accused to be represented at this stage of the proceedings. That, in turn, requires consideration of the: 1. seriousness of the charge(s); 2. the length and complexity of the proceedings; and 3. the ability of the applicant to participate effectively without counsel. On this last point, the court must also have in mind the duty of the presiding judge to assist an unrepresented litigant: Italy v. Seifert, cited above, para. 45.
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