Accused due to his mental illness and inability to communicate with his counsel due to absence of trust was ruled to be ‘unfit to stand trial’.
In this case, the accused Mr. Peter Kampos had been arrested for attempting to murder Cameron Rose in 2017 which is an offence under section 239(1)(a.1) of the Criminal Code R.S.C. 1985,c. C-46(Code). In addition to this, he was also charged on two counts regarding discharge of firearms contrary to sections 244(1) and 244(2)(1)(a) of the Code.
However, the present trial, as agreed upon by both the parties was to determine if Mr. Kampos was fit or not to communicate with his counsel owing to his mental illness. Mr. Kampos suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and believed that his counsel was withholding evidence to sabotage his case.
In 2018, after receiving his assessment report pursuant to section 672.23(1) of the Code, the first trial to determine his fitness was held wherein he was deemed unfit to stand in trial. Whereas in 2019, the Review Board again examined the question of his fitness and based on testimonies from Dr. Gharakhanian (the psychiatrist who treats him) and Dr. Murphy (who was asked to examine him by the Crown), he was deemed unfit yet again. Post that in 2019 itself, the Review Board said that he was not fit to stand in trial on two occasions. He was thus ordered to reside in custody and be detained in the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (“FPH”).
During his treatment with antipsychotic medication (with which he was compliant), the intensity and frequency of his delusions were observed to have reduced even though he still had them. To determine his fitness, in addition to taking into account the testimonies of Dr. Gharakhanian and Dr. Murphy, the learned Judge relied on the principles established in the case laws of Taylor, Morrissey and Daley.
While both the doctors agreed that Mr. Kampos was “marginally fit” and was responding well to treatment, their opinion on his ability to communicate with his counsel was different. Dr. Gharakhanian stated that Mr. Kampos told him he was ready to discuss ‘big points’ with his counsel. He interpreted information about Mr. Kampos being the victim and on the issue of his counsel withholding documents. While acknowledging his inability to effectively communicate with his counsel due to his distrust, Doctor felt that he had the ability to talk to his counsel and recount the incidents related to the offence which would help his counsel build his case. Dr. Murphy however believed that since he already was paranoid about the justice system, his delusional belief might lead him to not communicate effectively with the counsel and his mental health could worsen more by the many stresses during the trial.
Based on the testimony of these doctors and the principles contained in the cases stated above, the Judge found him unfit to stand in trial due to his mental illness in accordance with section 672.22 of the Code. His matter was referred back to the Review Board under section 672.45(1.1) of the Code which was ordered to conduct a hearing within 90 days in accordance with section 672.47(2) of the Code.