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‘As soon as possible:’ Suspect to represent himself at trial in death of doctor

RED DEER, Alta. — A man accused of killing a family doctor at a medical clinic in central Alberta last summer has been committed to stand trial. 

Deng Mabiour, 54, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Dr. Walter Reynolds at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer in August.  

Mabiour has had a number of unusual interactions with the court since his arrest and a judge ordered an initial five-day psychiatric examination to determine if the accused understood the charges against him. The judge extended it another month because Mabiour was refusing to co-operate with medical staff.  

Last month, a psychiatrist found Mabiour fit to stand trial, despite his behaviour in court. He wasn’t given an opportunity to address the court Friday, but appeared via video from Calgary where he complained he needed a chair because he had leg pain.  

Mabiour has indicated on a number of occasions that he didn’t want a lawyer, didn’t trust the Canadian justice system and would represent himself at trial.

That position didn’t change Friday at his appearance before Judge Gordon Yake, who ordered the duty counsel to speak to Mabiour.

“I tried to persuade him (about) the benefits of having a lawyer and I could not convince him there is any merit in obtaining a lawyer. One of the things he expressed … is that he didn’t think a lawyer would follow his instructions,” defence lawyer Murray Shack told the judge.  

“He is not prepared to apply for legal aid or allow a lawyer.”

The prosecution has decided not to seek a preliminary hearing in the case and instead go directly to trial.

Shack said Mabiour didn’t want a preliminary hearing either.

“He advised me that his interest is in going to a trial as soon as possible,” said the defence lawyer.  

Prosecutor Bina Border expressed concern that Mabiour would be self-represented at trial and that a section of the Criminal Code would allow court to appoint a lawyer to a self-represented individual.

The judge said that’s not the case. 

“That part of the Criminal Code, that I reviewed carefully, only allows me to appoint counsel in the event that the fitness issue remains before the court. I don’t have jurisdiction at this point to appoint counsel,” said Yake.

“I am compelled to commit Mr. Mabiour to stand trial on the charges … and to send him for arraignment to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Red Deer.”

Mabiour’s trial date is to be scheduled on Dec. 7.  

Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked with a weapon while he was working at the clinic on Aug. 10. He died later in hospital.   

One witness told media that she was in the waiting room when she heard cries for help and saw a man with a hammer and a machete.   

RCMP have said the crime was not random and the two men knew each other through the clinic, although they have not said if Mabiour was a patient of Reynolds.   

Mabiour is also charged with assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 6, 2020.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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