Why do Alberta judges use the constitutional rights of men who violently harm others to let them off, while refusing to allow me my Charter right to seek remedy for the oil and gas industry (AER) violating my rights? Is it because I am not a man in a province where misogyny is the rule of law and where the oil and gas industry (AER) is above the law?
Judge acquits former MRU hockey captain who assaulted professor while high on mushrooms, The judge said Brown’s consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms caused him to be in a state of “extreme intoxication akin to non-insane automatism.” by Kevin Martin, Mar 3, 2020, Calgary Herald
Matthew Brown quietly wiped away tears Tuesday as a judge found he was not in control of his actions when he broke into a southwest Calgary home, naked, and brutally attacked a female Mount Royal University professor.
Justice Michele Hollins said Brown’s consumption of hallucinogenic magic mushrooms caused him to be in a state of “extreme intoxication akin to non-insane automatism.”
As a result, the Court of Queen’s Bench judge said, Brown’s actions in the early morning hours of Jan. 13, 2018, were involuntary and therefore not criminal.
The former MRU hockey captain had consumed about four grams of magic mushrooms at a friend’s house party that night, before he stripped naked and ran outside in frigid temperatures.
He smashed his way into the home of Janet Hamnett, a Mount Royal professor whom he had never met, and beat her with a broken broom handle, causing severe injuries to her hands and arms.
Brown then fled Hamnett’s home and a neighbour saw him trying to get into some parked cars. A short time later he broke into a second home, where he was eventually found by police in a bathroom.
Hollins said the case was unique, in part because she believed the testimony of every witness, including Brown, who said he couldn’t recall any of his bizarre behaviour.
In a pretrial ruling, another judge determined a section of the Criminal Code that prohibited self-induced intoxication as a defence to crimes of violence was unconstitutional.
Outside court, Crown prosecutor Matt Block said an appeal will be considered, especially on the pretrial decision.
“Obviously it had a lot to do with the previous ruling . . . on the constitutional issue,” Block said of Hollins’ decision to acquit Brown for the break-ins and assaulting Hamnett.
“We’re certainly considering it for appeal, particularly on the constitutional question.”
Hamnett’s daughter and son-in-law, Lara and Jason Unsworth, are hopeful that occurs.
Both expressed concern this could open the door to future violent acts by individuals consuming intoxicants and walking free from criminal liability.
“I think we’re a little bit in shock,” Lara Unsworth said.
“We knew this was a possibility, but we are disappointed,” she said.
“We didn’t want him to be severely punished, but we did want accountability and we wanted a lesson shared with society that it’s not OK to get that out of control and to hurt people.”
She said she’s concerned how this case could affect public safety.
“I’m very scared for the doors this will open.”
Defence counsel Sean Fagan said the decision was a relief for his client, who had no prior history of criminal behaviour.
“It means the world to him, it means his future,” Fagan said.
“His life’s been put on hold over the past couple of years, now he gets to move on.”
Brown said he believes the victims know the apology he gave in court was sincere.
“When I issued an apology it came from my heart,” he said.
“I meant it and I think they know how remorseful I am.”
The comments to the article as of March 4, 2020, 10:40am:
How is this OK? He didn’t even get so much as a slap on the wrist for this. Absolutely disgusting
not even probation, drug counselling, community service?
Mike Vine Commenting. Absolutely ridiculous ruling. Shame. This guy has no guts at all. This ruling should be appealed for sure. This can not Stand. This judge has no clue about what justice is, in this case. Absolutely shocking. Give your head a shake.
Female judge. Go figure.
I have never heard of anyone ever becoming aggressive on shrooms. I mean never. He was on something else and was embarrassed to admit what it was. This whole thing is bogus and the offender should not have been acquitted.
Walter Schmenky Reply to Default User
I have. I watched a guy have a psychotic break on shrooms and he started smashing windows trying to “let something out”. He had to be tackled and taken to the psyche ward.
Default User Reply to Walter Schmenky
Ok, well I guess this is the first time I’ve heard about it happening then but it’s definitely not the norm.
This one may not be over. It could be appealed. If you hit someone when you are drunk the judge will say that you ought to have known that drinking excessively could lead to bad things and this is why this defence can’t be used in DWI cases. But it makes me wonder why this does no apply here. Surely when you take a hallucinogen there is a risk that bad things can happen.
Have these two supposed stewards of our legal system completely lost their minds?
They have colluded with each other’s ridiculous logic to generate utter nonsense. They are collectively responsible for a coordinated assault on personal accountability. Shame on them. Hopefully, we will find competence in another arm of the system, to the point that this insanity will be appealed. With any luck, more competent judges can come out of the draw the next time around. If by some twisted reasoning it is deemed somehow sensible that the offender should have no consequences for his reckless and dangerous actions, at least, for goodness sake find a conclusion that says his behavior was wrong. The judges in this situation should find other work. We need more moral and intelligent leadership in our justice system.
Ann Denny Reply to Lance Taylor
This almost sounds like an NCR defense ?! Not criminally responsible ? I don’t think the guy should be put on death row or anything, but a total acquittal ? He took the drugs on his own. Nobody forced him. If he was drunk he wouldn’t have got off so easy. Don’t people have to be responsible for their actions ? This is precedent setting for sure. Now everyone & their dog will claim there weren’t in control of themselves when they do something wrong. He should have received some sort of punishment if only to dissuade others from using this defense in the future..
A member of a town police force once told me many years ago, “There are lots of laws but very little justice”. If he only know just how correct his statement would really came to be in Canada, I think that even he would be astounded. I’m not sure most Canadians have even the slightest idea of true justice at this stage in Canada’s life. I know that our governments don’t!
Would he have gotten the same verdict if he had driven his car and injured someone while intoxicated? Surely “extreme intoxication akin to non-insane automatism.” would apply in these circumstances also.
What a joke. Our legal system is pathetic.
Here’s hoping this follows him around for the future, and that any prospective employers do a thorough Google search of his name.
Fairly sure Justice Michele Hollins is a Trudeau -appointee. Just another piece of the puzzle that fits this guy getting off any punishment at all. Affluenza-defence? Can anyone check to see if this guy’s family was a Liberal Party donor?
Baz Dionysos Reply to Tanis Despas
At English common law (which is our law except to the extent it has been changed by Parliament or a legislature), intoxication was always a defence in crimes where there had to be “intent” on the part of the accused. It was the Liberal government of Jean Chretien who in the 1990’s amended the criminal code to take away that common law defence passed down from ancestral times. Not Hollins but another judge at a pre-trial hearing in this case ruled Chretien’s amendment was unconstitutional. Hollins was bound by that pre-trial ruling, apparently, and so had to consider the extreme intoxication defence. Has to go to the Supreme Court I guess.
This decision is almost unbelievable! Nobody is responsible for their own actions because they were intoxicated? What a bunch of hog wash!
It was not an allergic reaction to peanuts. He took drugs and beat up a woman. Who else is responsible for his actions? How will you feel if he attacked your daughter or wife and then claim not guilty because he was high? What is this insanity?
So somebody who is drunk or high isn’t responsible for their criminal actions!?
As i keep on saying in what the corrupt governments, courts keep on telling you voters, that criminals are now the victims and the victims are the criminals… everything now is backwards… so the only justice you get these days is by your own hands, what else can you do … there no rule of law anymore and judges are too corrupt
So, he is not responsible for acts causing someone else physical harm due to his irresponsible behavior in consuming psychoactive drugs and other mind and mood altering drugs.
Hey! He did it. He owns it. “Man” up, buddy.
I didn’t think intoxication was a defense.
I fear the day is approaching when victims of violence are going to be forced into taking their own corrective action against perpetrators like this.
Bill Martin Reply to Ed Henderson
Years ago my wife and I were rear-ended by a drunk driver. Our car was destroyed but luckily we were OK. It went to court and his lawyer argued that he was too drunk to understand his rights and as a result his rights were violated although he was drunk, blew drunk and almost killed us. He got off. And we got stuck with having to buy a new car and having to deal with the trauma of being hit that hard. It was a wake up call about justice in Alberta.
Compare to how the justice industry treats women in Alberta!