Teen accused in stabbing will wait to learn fate

Victims and family of a Lacombe teenager who has admitted to stabbing his stepmother must wait two more weeks to learn his fate.

Victims and family of a Lacombe teenager who has admitted to stabbing his stepmother must wait two more weeks to learn his fate.

The 17-year-old boy was charged after attacking his stepmother while she was getting ready to take him to school at about 7:30 a.m. on April 12. The boy cannot be named under provisions of the Canada Youth Justice Act.

Red Deer lawyers Luke Kurata and John MacNaughton, working together in the his defence, said they do not take issue with the facts. They seek a verdict of not guilty based on their contention that the boy was not criminally responsible for the attack.

A statement of those facts, included in a forensic psychiatrist’s report, was read into the record for the first time in Red Deer youth court on Thursday.

Crown prosecutor Denis Huot said the boy had been living with his father and stepmother in Lacombe for the previous year with no signs of any difficulty.

The stepmother was at the door of the house waiting to take him to school when he grabbed her from behind and stuck a seven-cm knife into the right side of her neck.

The two struggled in the doorway and the woman was able to break free and run away when the boy was distracted when the family dog bolted out of the house, said Huot.

Seriously injured, she was in stable condition at last report, he said.

Neighbours called 911 when they saw the commotion and police arrived to arrest the boy, who was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, use of a knife to commit an offence and unlawful possession of a 12-guage shotgun.

A number of items relevant to the charges, including cartoons and drawings, were discovered in a search of the boy’s room, said Huot.

Huot told Judge David Plosz in court on Thursday that the Crown had granted consent for a not criminally responsibility verdict.

The forensic psychiatrist’s report indicates that the accused had suffered a “transient psychiatric episode” at the time of the attack, said Kurata. The verdict has been sought as a means of getting the boy into treatment, he said.

Physicians involved in his assessment want to examine him as soon as possible for underlying causes, including the possibility of a brain tumour.

Kurata said he had already booked a bed in Edmonton for the boy, presuming that the verdict arranged with consent of the Crown in a previous court appearance would be pronounced on Thursday.

The plan, as he and MacNaughton had discussed previously with the Crown, was to have the boy plead not criminally responsible on one charge and have the others stayed for 90 days, pending a diagnosis of the boy’s mental and physical state.

However, Judge David Plosz said that considering the severity of the offence he was not prepared to pronounce a verdict on evidence he had not yet seen, including a 28-page report submitted on Thursday.

“This should have been brought to my attention beforehand so I could look at the report. The first I heard of it was today,” said Plosz.

He apologized to family members who had travelled from Lethbridge to support the boy, who sat impassionately in the prisoner’s box as his charges were discussed.

The boy will remain in custody at Calgary Young Offenders Centre until his next hearing, set for the afternoon of Aug. 22.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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