Charge against se­nior to be up­graded af­ter fire vic­tim dies

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - KEVIN MARTIN Kmartin@postmedia.com Twit­ter: @Kmart­in­courts

The Crown will upgrade crim­i­nal charges against a se­nior ac­cused of ar­son in a care fa­cil­ity fire fol­low­ing the death of a fel­low res­i­dent.

Prose­cu­tor Tom Bu­glas said out­side court Mon­day that he will be in­creas­ing the charge against 78-year-old Robert Eyre, who cur­rently faces an al­le­ga­tion of ar­son caus­ing bod­ily harm.

“The Crown will be lay­ing an in­for­ma­tion that speaks to the fact that the vic­tim of this mat­ter is de­ceased,” Bu­glas told Postmedia, af­ter a brief court ap­pear­ance ad­dress­ing the case.

Bu­glas said he will have to re­view the file be­fore de­ter­min­ing whether the ap­pro­pri­ate charge will be man­slaugh­ter, or crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing death.

Court heard that an as­sess­ment by Dr. Yuri Metelitsa de­ter­mined the de­men­tia-suf­fer­ing ac­cused is med­i­cally un­fit to stand trial.

As a re­sult, a court hear­ing will have to be set to get a rul­ing on whether Eyre meets the le­gal test for a find­ing that he is un­fit, Bu­glas said.

Un­der the Crim­i­nal Code, a per­son is un­fit to stand trial if he can’t un­der­stand the pro­ceed­ings or in­struct coun­sel.

De­fence lawyer Vince Se­menuk ap­peared on be­half of Eyre’s lawyer, Matt De­shaye, to ask that the lat­ter be re­moved as coun­sel of record. Se­menuk told pro­vin­cial court Judge Mike Dinkel the lawyer was only re­tained to han­dle a bail hear­ing, which now won’t be pro­ceed­ing in the near fu­ture.

Eyre’s adult chil­dren have ap­plied to Le­gal Aid to have a new lawyer ap­pointed.

Eyre was charged with ar­son af­ter an early morn­ing fire April 27 at the Went­worth Manor on 14 Av­enue S.W. sent fel­low res­i­dent John Ban­natyne to hos­pi­tal.

Po­lice an­nounced last Fri­day the vic­tim had died of his in­juries and the case was now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated as a homi­cide.

Eyre, who is cur­rently housed at the South­ern Al­berta Foren­sic Psy­chi­a­try Cen­tre, did not ap­pear in court. His case will be back in court later this month.

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