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Crown cautions against losing accused man in system

Lauren McKeon
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 7, 2009

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - A man accused of assault, criminal harassment and careless use of a firearm has undergone two mental health assessments and has been in custody since February - but it appears he will have to continue to wait for the decision on whether he is fit to stand trial.

To date, the accused has undergone two mental assessments in Alberta, the second of which was ordered because the man was said to be unresponsive during the first and doctors could not gather enough information to write a report. The second assessment proved more effective and the report was recently completed. His case was then set for Aug. 5 to determine how the Crown would proceed. However, defence counsel had not reviewed the second assessment.

"It appears Mr. Fuglsang hasn't (had) the opportunity to review the assessment - (or he) wasn't even aware an assessment had been made," said Judge Robert Gorin, referring to defence attorney Peter Fuglsang.

Fuglsang, who was appearing as show cause duty counsel for the week, told Gorin he was not the regular attorney on the case and asked the matter be set over for Friday.

"We can't just be putting things over to Friday," Gorin answered. "We have all of this court time right now and it appears it's all going to go to waste."

Crown attorney Glen Boyd agreed dealing with the matter soonest was best.

"They (the Crown) don't want (the accused) to get lost in the system, as it may be," he said.

Crown lawyers are now seeking a signed affidavit to determine whether the man is fit to stand trial and whether he can be held criminally responsible.