Questions Arise Over Drop in Electronic Monitoring of BC Convicts

Electronic monitoring of recently released convicts has dropped sharply in B.C. in recent years, numbers released by the government show.

The Crown did not seek electronic monitoring for Raymond Caissie, a high-risk sex offender who has now been charged in the slaying of a Surrey teen. The Crown also did not seek a curfew. A spokesman has refused to disclose why.

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Mr. Caissie is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Serena Vermeersch. She was last seen getting on a bus on the evening of Sept. 15. Her body was discovered the next day.

Mr. Caissie spent more than two decades in jail after he sexually assaulted a young woman who worked at a museum, and was the subject of a public alert when he was released from custody. The National Parole Board last year said he was likely to commit an offence causing serious harm. His sentence expired two months later.

The B.C. Ministry of Justice said the number of individuals under electronic monitoring has declined in the past five years. In fiscal year of 2009-10, there were 172 such cases. In 2011-12, there were 119. And in 2013-14, the number dropped to 75.

The ministry did not provide an explanation. It said the court ultimately determines which conditions are applied to a person.

Three defence lawyers who spoke with The Globe said they had noticed electronic monitoring was being used much less frequently.

Eric Gottardi said he hasn’t had a case where electronic monitoring was sought by the Crown for six or seven years.

“I don’t even know if it’s available right now,” he said in an interview. “I couldn’t tell you the state of affairs.”

Michael Mines, who has practised for about two decades, said electronic monitoring was much more common in his first 10 years than the past 10. Mark Thompson, who has also been a lawyer for about two decades, agreed with Mr. Mines’s assessment.

Exactly why is unclear. Mr. Mines wondered whether the system was too costly, while Mr. Thompson said he believed it was relatively inexpensive.

B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton – who earlier in the week said the province would review its monitoring of high-risk offenders – said Wednesday she would support a more extensive use of electronic monitoring in certain cases.

“It’s something that possibly could be used more,” she told reporters in Whistler.

Ms. Anton said she spoke with federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay about the case Tuesday night, and they discussed whether the necessary tools are in place. Mr. MacKay has said he is looking at ways to further protect the public from violent sexual offenders.

Mr. Mines and Mr. Thompson described a low-tech monitoring system in which a person is required to have a land line and answer it when an official calls. The ministry said it could not provide details about electronic monitoring for security reasons. It said B.C. Corrections monitors individuals 24 hours a day and has a protocol in place to attend to reported violations.

The Crown had obtained a Section 810.2 recognizance against Mr. Caissie, which placed several conditions on him, including that he keep the peace, not possess weapons, and not possess controlled substances.

An advisory committee that includes correctional officials, police, and the Crown determines whether court-ordered supervision is needed for a person who is a high risk to reoffend. The committee considers factors such as past offences, participation in programs while in custody, and psychiatric reports. The court order can last for up to two years.

Mr. Gottardi said the Crown is only supposed to seek conditions that are responsive to each specific case.

“It’s not necessarily a recommended Crown approach just to simply seek the most restrictive terms humanly possible in every case,” he said.

Mr. Gottardi said one option might be to give the Crown the ability to make a long-term or dangerous offender application in the months leading up to the end of an inmate’s sentence. Such a designation can currently be made only around the time of sentencing.

The Globe earlier this week reported on the release of parole board documents involving Mr. Caissie. The documents span from 2006 to 2013, a portion of his sentence.

In 2006, the board said Mr. Caissie had a “long history of sexually inappropriate and violent behaviour” and his time in prison had been marred by violence and threats.

A year later, the board said Mr. Caissie had agreed with his case management team and a psychologist that he was not ready for a release into the community.

In 2008, Mr. Caissie was reported as saying he feared he would harm another person if he were released from prison. The board said he later recanted that claim, but still expressed concern about finding a job and living independently.

In 2010, Mr. Caissie pushed a correctional officer and challenged him to a fight, but by 2012 he had told a psychologist he was older and more mature and had no desire to be violent any more.

Last year, the board noted Mr. Caissie had not participated in any supervision programs since his last review and said he had been part of a plot to injure a staff member, an accusation Mr. Caissie denied.

Source Article

Mines Client Sentenced to 20 Weekends for Internet Extortion

August 25, 2014

A North Vancouver judge has sentenced a 23-year-old man to jail for attempting to extort nude photos from a young woman.

In a case with similarities to that of Amanda Todd, the B.C. teenager who committed suicide after being blackmailed online, Mark Webber somehow obtained an explicit video of the victim from her boyfriend’s cellphone.

He then threatened to share the video with her Facebook friends unless she sent him nude images of herself — a threat he subsequently followed through on.

The young woman involved has not been named for legal reasons.

Sentencing Webber to 60 days in jail — to be served on weekends — the judge said it was important to send a message to the public that this kind of extortion will result in jail time.

The Crown had asked for nine months’ jail time.

Source CBC Article

Be Nice to Your Dog or Cat! – Animal Cruelty Allegations could lead to Search Warrant

Two recent cases that have hit the media shine light on the BC SPCA’s newer powers regarding search warrants in relation to animals in distress (stories attached). In one case the owner of a dog who had ingested drugs and been taken to the veterinarian was reported to the SPCA. In the other case the owner of a dog who had abused his dog while being filmed by a security camera in an elevator was reported. In both instances BC SPCA officers attended at private residences, armed with search warrants, made entry and seized the animals.

The BC SPCA gets its powers relating to search warrants under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (the “Act”). The Act was amended in 2008 to expand the powers of SPCA officers and constables to obtain search warrants in relation to animals in distress. The Act allows for warrants that authorize SPCA officers to enter a residence, and search for evidence of an offence under the Act as well as seize that evidence.

If while searching for evidence of an offence under the Act, SPCA officers were to uncover evidence of separate offence, such as one under the Criminal Code of Canada or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, there would be numerous intersecting areas of law that would govern whether that evidence may be admissible against the person whose residence was searched. What is more clear though is that if SPCA officers made entry into a home under one of their warrants and encountered evidence of a criminal offence that was in plain view in the home that evidence would very likely be admissible against the person whose residence was searched. That evidence would also likely be a solid foundation for asking a judge for a warrant to search the house for further evidence of suspected criminal activity.  

The most likely and plain examples of this relate to drug offences. If SPCA officers entered a home to seize an animal in distress and discovered an obvious marijuana grow operation, a drug lab or open evidence of drug dealing in plain view, the occupier of that home would certainly find the police attending very shortly thereafter.

It is probably a little known fact that SPCA officers have the ability to enter a person’s home in such a manner. Of course everyone enjoys not having their privacy and homes invaded, even if they are not doing anything illegal. So, be good to your animals. As if you needed another reason.  

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/stoned-dog-triggers-spca-raid-on-yaletown-apartment-1.2781133

http://www.theprovince.com/life/pets/SPCA+search+warrant+documents+identify+suspect+elevator+abuse/10143799/story.html

Why do Good People Shoplift ?

Some people turn to alcohol or overeating, others turn to shoplifting in a time of stress.

Everyone deals with difficulties differently. When people turn to prosocial ways of dealing with extreme stressors, it is likely that those around them will praise their decisions. Cycling, going to the gym or turning a new page in your diet when going through a rough patch is likely to make you look like a hero to your friends and family. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people don`t turn to such means. It is more likely that a person dealing with an extreme new change in life will turn to less acceptable means of coping, such as excessively drinking alcohol, taking drugs or overeating. If a person decides they have had enough of making their life worse through those coping mechanisms, their friends and families are likely to praise them for their courage in getting help. But what happens when someone turns to an illegal activity, such as shoplifting, to deal with what seems like the insurmountable in their person situation? The shame and discouragement can often be coupled with the threat of a criminal conviction and criminal record. Due to the surrounding stigma it is rare that people will reach out for help in this area until they are backed into a corner.  

As explained in the attached article, often times people turn to activities such as shoplifting when they face life’s most difficult challenges. There tends to be no good explanation for the behaviour, and those engaging in it can’t usually connect it to their surrounding struggles, but experts can and do. 

Michael and I have experienced this countless times in our practice. People of otherwise unblemished criminal background, or close to it, end up being charged with theft under $5000 or fraud under $5000. Usually they can’t explain why they did it and it is not because of financial need. During our interview it doesn’t take long to identify triggers in the personal life of the person to help explain why they may have done what they are accused of. Once potential areas of concern are identified, a plan can be developed to help ensure that the stressors can be dealt with in an alternative and legal way. From then on, the legal end of the problem is turned over to us and we go to the prosecutor and advocate for the client’s interests. 

When facing charges of theft or fraud, having competent legal counsel with experience in the area is crucial. With the right guidance, plan and advice often the situation can be turned to a positive. If the problem is ignored, especially a criminal charge, it will not go away; it will get worse. 

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16469928

 

Do Recent Cyber Bullying Cases Actually Highlight the Need for Canadian Law Reform?

Certainly, cyber bullying and harassment is a serious and issue in North American society, but recent claims that there is a need for a change in the current criminal law to deal with it may be overzealous.

As set out in the attached article, Bill C 13 is currently being considered by the Canadian parliament and is unlikely to pass it its current form. Bill C 13 proposes changes to the criminal code to make posting of sexually explicit images of a person without their consent illegal, and would allow courts to remove those images from the web. But, beyond that it calls to have the current standard required to be proved by the police lowered, for when they are attempting to obtain a warrant to search for someone’s online information.

The Amanda Todd case seems to be the catalyst for the movement, and the standard in the media, by which other cases are measured. Her story is tragic, and we as a country can only hope that her death brings about change, and I would say it has. It has brought this issue to the forefront of media attention and made it a must-have topic of conversation for parents and educators. But does this mean that it should transfer into law reform?

If Bill C 13 had been in place at the time Amanda Todd was being tormented would it have made a difference? Although the accused is innocent until proven guilty, the Canadian authorities are alleging that the person who cyber stalked and bullied Amanda Todd was doing it from a different continent. The police in Canada would have had to seek a warrant and the release of information from a foreign government and they would be subject to the rules associated with that country’s laws. Our laws would have been largely irrelevant in the investigation.

The existing Criminal Code offences of Criminal Harassment, Uttering Threats, Extortion and Child Pornography cover the vast majority of cyber stalking and bullying behaviour, and in fact even if Bill 13 were passed, it is almost certain that if the person who victimized Amanda Todd was charged in Canada he would be charged under those sections.

Making it criminal to post sexually explicit materials of a person without their consent seems to be a forward thinking response to new problems we are seeing associated with cyber stalking and bullying. But saying that recent cases highlight some sort of huge gap in Canadian law, that needs to catch up to current technology, is misleading. In Canada police have the tools they need to catch people who are committing these types of acts on-line, and the privacy rights of Canadians are well protected by that system.

Related Articles

ctvnews.ca

news1130.com

Mines Client Sentenced to 20 Weekends for Internet Extortion

Despite Crown Counsel’s  remarks that the case was “an Amanda Todd Situation”, we were able to convince a  North Vancouver Provincial Court Judge that our client should not be sentenced to the nine month period of incarceration sought by the Crown. Emphasising the need for denunciation, but tempering his sentence because he accepted that our client was a truly remorseful youthful man with no prior record, Judge Merrick placed our client on probation and ordered that he serve 20 consecutive weekends in custody.

The case invoved our client pleading guilty and taking full responsibility for his actions. Two years ago, when he and the complainant were 20, he obtained a pornographic video of her. Over a 26 hour period, he twice contacted her by Facebook and threatened to distribute the video to her Facebook friends unless she sent him nude photos of herself. She refused; he carried out his threat, including posting the video to a pornography site. This caused the complainant “severe psychological harm” for which she required treatment over a one year period. Our client, upon arrest, provided a full confession and wrote a letter of apology to the complainant. He underwent two psychological assessments which deemed him a “low risk to reoffend”.

In our view, this case is only similar to the Amanda Todd case in the sense that he used the internet to threaten the complainant. There are some clear distinctions. Our client and the complainant knew each other; they were both 20 when the offence occured. He committed the offence over a 26 hour period and then stopped. He confessed upon his arrest and apologized to the complainant. On the other hand, Aydin Coban, the 35 year old Dutchman who allegedly pushed 13 year old Amanda Todd to suicide after luring her and continuously extorting her over the internet has taken no responsibility. He remains in a Duth prison, vowing to fight “tooth and nail” agaist being extradited to Canada to face charges.

Watch the videos below and view full story by following this link

“Mr. Big” Sting rules made stricter by Supreme Court of Canada

Nelson Hart, a Newfoundland man accused of murdering his twin 3 year old daughters, has been granted a new trial after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the police improperly obtained his confession through a controversial police technique known as a “Mr. Big” sting operation. In this type of investigation, undercover police officers will befriend the suspect and recruit him into a ficticious crime group and then encourage him to commit illegal acts to gain the group’s trust. Ultimately, the undercover operators will tell the suspect that they’ve heard he may be in trouble for committing a serious offence in the past. In order to stay loyal to the group, and in order to have the “crime boss” make his troubles go away, the suspect is duped into providing a full confession, which is then used agaist him in court. Canadian defence lawyers for years have been arguing that this technique, because of the trickery, intimidation and hope of advantage presented to the suspect, can lead to unreliable, false confessions.

In its ruling, it appears that the Supreme Court of Canada largely agrees:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mr-big-ruling-a-game-changer-for-those-convicted-in-sting-operations-1.2724310

Hopefully, as a result of this decision, trial courts across Canada will  correctly apply the two pronged test and will only allow “Mr. Big” confessions into evidence when the Crown has demonstrated that it would be fair and safe to do so.

You can read the entire judgment here:  http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/14301/index.do

Vancouver Lawyers Withdraw from Legal Aid Cases

Lawyers that provide Legal Aid representation to clients in Vancouver criminal courts have taken action to withdraw their services this month. Legal Aid lawyers will not be taking on any new cases until early August. Further job action will be taken beginning the first week of October and the plan is to withdraw all legal aid services at Vancouver Provincial Court for the first week of every month thereafter.

A series of BC governments have not increased legal aid funding since 1992. in fact overall funding has decreased from 93 million dollars a decade ago to about 74 million currently. Clearly, lawyers are being asked to do more with less funding. This, in spite of the fact that in 1992, the Liberal government of the day introduced a 7% provincial sales tax on all legal fees in the province. This tax was intended to offset legal aid costs but that revenue was never designated to go directly to fund legal aid. The tax flows, instead, to general revenue.

See, Vancouver Sun article:  http://www.vancouversun.com/news/lawyers+withdraw+services+protest+lack+legal+funding/10009039/story.html?__federated=1

We fully support BC Lawyers in their effort to restore legal aid funding to appropriate levels. We encourage all members of the public to contact their local MLA and let them know that the government ought to do more to support legal aid in British Columbia.

Marc Emery, “Prince of Pot”, soon to be Free. What’s next for Canada’s Marijuana Laws?

“The Times, they are a Changin”….. It’s quite a different political and cultural landscape since Marc Emery, the self stylized “Prince of Pot” was sentenced over four years ago in the United States for  distribution of drugs – marijuana seeds. Colorado and Washington are two U.S. states that have beat Canada to the punch by recently decriminilzing cannabis. Both states have set up regulatory schemes for the legal distribution and consumption of marijuana to persons over the age of 21. It remains to be seen how these new freedoms will work out. Detractors suggest that the new laws will lead to an increase in motor vehicle accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Others suggest that the laws will cause children and teenagers to consume marijuana in ever increasing amounts. 

Clearly, the electors of Colorado and Washington have decided that it’s “high time” to end the prohibition and to make marijuana regulations that will control the distribution of a substance that is used by thousands of citizens without turning them into criminals. Is Canada far behind? Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is on record supporting legalization. The 56 year old Emery has vowed to support Trudeau in his bid to legalize pot once he is released from prison and is returned to Canada sometime next month.

Source CBC Article

Clearly, the Stephen Harper government does not support Justin Trudeau’s stance on Marijuana reforms.

As defence lawyers, we come across hundreds of cases where “the smell of burnt or vegetative marijuana” gives police the grounds to commence a search, often leading to drug charges or other criminal charges. Occasionally, these searches yield no evidence whatsoever, yet the suspect has been detained and, often, publicly embarassed. We wonder if part of the reason for keeping marijuana unlawful in Canada is that to legalize it would eliminate a very useful police tool – the power to detain and investigate people based on smell alone.  We’ll be keeping a watchful eye on the actions of police in Colorado and Washington State with respect to this issue. Will U.S. courts allow police to search people based only on the smell of marijuana now that is a legal substance? These are indeed changing times.

Thousands at Riot Broke Law, Few Convictions Are Assured

TheTyee.ca / June 2011

An image depicts a man, apparently in his 20s, wearing a Vancouver Canucks-branded T-shirt. With his arms spread, one hand grasping a hockey stick, the other open-palmed, he is gesturing to an off-camera crowd. The muscles in his forearms, chest and face appear flexed, his mouth gaping and his eyes wide.

Behind the man, shards of glass cling to a store-front window frame, its floor-to-ceiling panes all but completely shattered.

With thousands of similar riot-snapshots populating social media sites, it’s not a hard image to conjure up. But did the man smash the window? Did he just happen upon the scene after the fact? Or was he wielding the hockey stick to fend off would-be looters?

B.C. Crown prosecutors will have to answer those types of questions if they plan to convict people apparently caught in the act during last week’s post Stanley Cup finals riot.

About 3,500 emails flooded Vancouver Police Department inboxes following the riot, many of which contained photo or video evidence and thousands of links to Facebook profiles and YouTube clips, according to a VPD press release.

“The question that I would have is, what does the picture show?” says criminal defence lawyer Michael Mines. “It may show somebody standing in front of a broken window cheering with a certain expression on their face but that doesn’t necessarily say they’ve committed a property crime.”

“From a still picture it’s hard to tell beyond a reasonable doubt what’s going on,” says Mines.

But what if the man depicted in the image went home that Wednesday evening, logged on to Facebook and proclaimed that he indeed smashed some windows or “flipped a car and punched a pig and stole $2,000 worth of ephedrine,” as The Tyee reported one elated rioter posted to his Facebook profile?

Not even that guarantees a conviction, says Mines.

“It strikes me that there are a lot of bright, computer-savvy people that can make it look like someone is posting under their own name, when in fact they’re not.”

“Joe Blow that appears to have admitted to a crime but later denies they’re the one that actually posted the message, then the Crown has to prove beyond a doubt that it was them,” says Mines.

“In order to really prove that, the police have to get a search warrant and a production order to analyze the content of the computer to try to prove that person was the only person that had access to the computer. The burden is always on the Crown.”

‘Fullest extent of the law’: premier

B.C. Premier Christy Clark said last week that authorities would pursue all those “involved” in the riots.

“There is a mountain of evidence out there against you and it is coming into police every single day. It is coming in and we are going to find you, we are going to charge you and we are going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law,” said Clark in a statement made the day after the riot.

A recent Angus Reid poll suggests that most British Columbians agree with Clark.

Ninety-five per cent of polled Metro Vancouver residents said they agree with the following statement: “The people who took part in riots should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

But in this instance, says Mines, that would require thousands of arrests.

“There are sections in the Criminal Code about rioting and once the police tell you to clear, if you’re in the area and if you don’t have a justifiable excuse, presumably you’re guilty of that section,” says Mines.

The Criminal Code of Canada defines a riot as “an unlawful assembly that has begun to disturb the peace tumultuously.”

And “everyone who takes part in a riot is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years,” according to Section 65.

“What are the logistics of arresting thousands of people after the fact for just being there? I don’t know,” says Mines.

Given this broad definition of law breakers involved in a riot, The Tyee called Premier Clark’s office yesterday to ask if she would clarify who she intended to include in her vow to prosecute “to the fullest extent of the law.” The call was not answered by deadline time.

‘We will find you’: police chief

VPD arrested 117 people so far, 15 of whom turned themselves in, according to a press releaseissued Monday morning.

Many charges are pending, but VPD has only recommended formal charges against eight people so far, including aggravated assault, possessing a weapon harmful to the public, mischief and participation in a riot, break and enter, theft, arson and assaulting a police officer.

A dedicated Integrated Riot Investigative Unit, numbering more than three dozen, is now pouring over the “mountain of evidence,” and will be making more charges in the coming days, according to the announcement.

In the meantime, VPD Police Chief Jim Chu hopes more will turn themselves in.

“If you come in voluntarily, you can do so discreetly and at a time that is convenient for you. If you wait until we find you — and we will find you — we will arrest you in a public manner suitable to the public crimes you have committed.”

Mines client shares in Missing Women reward money

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pickton tipster to share in reward

Bill Hiscox was first person to alert police to serial killer

The man who first tipped off police about Robert Pickton more than three years before the serial killer’s arrest will share a $100,000 reward with five other people.

Bill Hiscox, who now lives in Victoria, will get $17,500, his lawyer, Michael Mines, confirmed Wednesday after contacting the Vancouver police board.

News Article online access: at The Vancouver Sun

The money was offered in May 1999 for information leading to a conviction in Vancouver’s missing women case.

“For Bill, it hasn’t been about the money,” Mines said. “It’s been about having the authorities listen to his story and acknowledge his story.”
Mines said the recent report by Deputy Chief Doug LePard on the botched investigation confirms Hiscox’s important role in the case.

“The crucial thing is that Bill provided the information in 1998 before there was any reward money,” Mines said. “So, hopefully, this will act as some sort of closure for him.”
LePard’s report confirms that Hiscox called police in July of that year “with second-hand information that Pickton was responsible for the killing of Sarah de Vries at his Coquitlam pig farm, and might be responsible for the rest of the missing women.”

Hiscox told the Victoria Times Colonist in a recent interview that he was working for Pickton’s P and B Salvage in Surrey at the time and occasionally visited the farm. A woman who cleaned Pickton’s trailer told Hiscox she had noticed bags of bloody clothing and women’s identification there.

“We sat down one night and [she] told me, ‘You know what, Billy, I think that’s where all the girls are going, right there.’ I said, ‘You know what? I’ve got the same friggin’ feeling.’ And she says, ‘Well, what are we going to do about it?’ And I said, ‘Well, somebody’s going to need to make a … phone call here, and I guess I’m going to have to do that.’ And I did.”

Vancouver police and Coquitlam RCMP followed up on the tip over the next months, and interviewed Hiscox a number of different times. Investigators also gathered other evidence pointing at Pickton before the investigation stalled in August 1999 due to jurisdictional disputes, poor management and shoddy analysis of the information, LePard found.

Pickton kept on killing for another 2 1/2 years. LePard said 13 more women went missing in that period, and DNA and other evidence connects 11 of them to Pickton’s farm.
Hiscox could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But he said in an interview two weeks ago that nothing about the case makes any sense to him, and that only a public inquiry will get to the bottom of what happened.

“I would like an inquiry, too, to find out why they didn’t act on all this information, why they didn’t do what they were supposed to do,” he said.
As for the reward, Hiscox said it was never about the money. The reward was posted some 10 months after he first came forward with information.
“I had no intentions about having any of this money in the first place,” he said. “But now that I’m in the situation I’m in, hey, that would be great. It would give me a new start in life again.”

Hiscox declined to go into much detail about his life, other than to say he’s struggling to get back on his feet after battles with substance abuse.
“I’ve been living,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”

The police board did not identify the other five people who will share the reward with Hiscox. The reward consisted of $70,000 from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor-General and $30,000 from the Vancouver police department.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

BY LINDSAY KINES, POSTMEDIA NEWS AUGUST 26, 2010

Man found not criminally responsible for attack on Landlady

A man who committed a violent sex attack on his landlady has been found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Steven Thomas Lowry, 26, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and aggravated assault in connection with the April 2008 attack on the victim, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban.

Lowry, a former member of Canada’s junior cross-country ski team, admitted he committed the violent acts. At trial, the only issue was his mental state at the time.

News Article online access: The Province

“I have concluded Mr. Lowry has proved at the time he committed the acts, he was suffering from a mental disorder,” said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Wendy Baker.

“Mr. Lowry is not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.”

Prior to the attack, Lowry had moved down to the Lower Mainland from Kelowna with the intent of attending university.

But Lowry, who had suffered from a number of mental problems, including symptoms of depression and anxiety earlier in his life, began having problems when he took a room in the victim’s home.

The victim attempted to help him and at one point took him to a hospital emergency ward, only to have him request that he be returned home.

On the night of the assault, the victim heard someone running up and down the hallway and doors opening and closing outside her bedroom.

Then Lowry came in and lay down on her bed, eventually straddling her and putting his hand over her mouth. Grabbing a clock radio, he smashed her over the head. She managed to crawl under the bed. He put his finger in her vagina.

She was able to leave the room but the assault continued downstairs, with Lowry grabbing a potted plant and hitting her over the head. He grabbed a rock and hit her 10 to times, the assault was only interrupted when another tenant courageously intervened.

Lowry, who was heard repeatedly telling the victim he was going to kill her, claimed at trial he was on a mission to have sex with her.

There was disputed psychiatric evidence, but the judge found the testimony of a defence psychiatrist that Lowry suffered from bipolar disorder and was in a mixed-mood state to be more acceptable.

Lowry is now entitled to an assessment within 45 days by a mental health review board to determine if and when he can be released.