A man who was found guilty of aggravated assault of his psychiatrist at the Penticton Regional Hospital has been granted a new trial.
Gregory Stanley Nield, from Summerland, was involuntarily admitted to the hospital under the Mental Health Act in December 2014. The court heard that Nield was experiencing migraines and was self-medicating with magic mushrooms when he started experiencing mental health issues.
During admission to the hospital, Nield struck his treating psychiatrist — Dr. Rajeev Sheoran. He suffered serious injuries which required surgery, including a prosthetic cheekbone and dental work, and cognitive brain injuries.
Defence counsel Stan Tessmer argued during the trial that Nield’s mental state had deteriorated under Sheoran’s care and that the doctor had improperly medicated him. As well, defence argued that Nield’s mental state at the time was such that he believed he was being held unlawfully.
The jury at the trial found Nield guilty and he was sentenced to a 30-month probation order. Crown had asked for a two to four year sentence. After the jury decision, Tessmer said they would be making an appeal based on what they believed was errors by the judge preventing defence counsel from leading evidence.
In the written reasons by Justice Peter Willcock, dated Jan. 30, 2019, it states the trial judge did make errors in regards to evidence that could have gone toward establishing the available defence of the mental state of the defendant.
“The judge failed to weigh the costs and benefits of receiving the treating physician’s opinion evidence. Further, the judge erred in not admitting relevant portions of the hospital record … including observations on the patient’s behaviour and the administration of drugs, after a witness attested to the record’s authenticity,” Willcock wrote in his reasons.
The conviction is now set aside and a new trial has been ordered.
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