Men checked for trial fitness
THE TRIAL of Shane Parker for assaulting a police officer, eventually resulting in him receiving a conditional discharge, was stopped at one point so his mental fitness could be assessed.
The halt was ordered by provincial court judge Christine Birnie during proceedings in May after she found that Parker, who she described as agitated, had been vague and evasive to questions from his own lawyer and it was difficult to tell if he was confused or chose to misunderstand the questions.
A physician’s report was finished in August and concluded that while Parker at first said he knew nothing of how a trial is run he was aware of the charges against him.
The physician then found Parker was able to understand the trial process, could identify and knew the roles of the prosecutor and defence lawyer, was aware that an oath was taken and people promised to tell the truth, and that lying under oath was perjury, which was a serious offence.
Birnie then decided the trial could continue, saying, “I am satisfied [Parker] is fit to stand trial.”
When the trial did resume in October, Parker was not agitated, was calmer and straightforward, responsive and candid, said Birnie in reviewing the case prior to her sentencing decision.
During the sentencing phase of Parker’s trial, his lawyer, Terrance Hudson, said that Parker had an undiagnosed thought disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder from the June incident in which he ended up with injuries after an altercation with RCMP officers.
Hudson also said Parker had a history of mental health concerns and had been assessed at a psychiatric facility in Grande Prairie.
Parker was now taking medication and seeing a doctor here, Hudson added.