Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Brain surgery led to assault: lawyer

Man pleads guilty to dangerous driving, assaulting officer

- By Betty Ann Adam

A man who kneed a female police officer in the head while she tried to arrest him was suffering from a mental syndrome caused by the removal of a brain tumour five years earlier, his lawyer told a judge Wednesday.

Dearle Pilon, 44, was “frontal lobish” as a result of the surgery, which caused him to exhibit abnormal behaviour and poor judgment, to act in socially inappropri­ate ways without realizing it and to misperceiv­e environmen­tal stimuli, lawyer Michael Owens said, referring to notes of the evidence he had planned to call from the neurosurge­on who operated on Pilon in 2000.

The doctor was not called to testify, however, because Pilon pleaded guilty Wednesday to dangerous driving and assaulting a peace officer.

Queen’s Bench Justice Irving Goldenberg imposed a $500 fine for the dangerous driving charge and a 12-month suspended sentence for assaulting a police officer.

The judge did not order Pilon to write a letter of apology to Const. Tonya Gresty, as Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss had requested. Bliss had also asked for a $1,000 fine, a curfew and a driving prohibitio­n.

The matter went to trial at Court of Queen’s Bench in February, when evidence was heard during three days. The trial ran out of the time scheduled for it and was set to resume for three more days beginning Wednesday.

The charges were laid after a police pursuit in the Exhibition area at around 3 a.m. on June 15, 2005.

It began when Pilon ran a stop sign at McPherson Avenue and Taylor Street and nearly T-boned a police cruiser, Bliss said in a review of the evidence Wednesday.

The dangerous driving

contin- ued as Pilon exceeded the speed limit, drove through intersecti­ons without concern for cross traffic and failed to signal turns, even as police pursued with their lights flashing and siren blaring, Bliss said. Pilon stopped when one of his tires blew. A police cruiser pulled up close in an attempt to prevent him from leaving.

Pilon got out of his vehicle anyway and ran from the scene. Gresty, one of two female officers in the car, chased Pilon and took him to the ground. A tussle ensued, during which Pilon grabbed Gresty’s sleeve and pulled her toward himself as he raised his leg and made contact with her head, Bliss said.

Pilon was later found to be the subject of a warrant on an unpaid traffic ticket, Bliss said.

In accepting the guilty plea on two charges, the Crown agreed to stay charges of assaulting two other police officers, evading police and mischief for allegedly spitting at officers in the cruiser.

When the police pursuit began, Pilon was already operating on an impression he was being pursued by two men who wanted to rob him, Owens said.

While that perception may have been the result of his mental disorder, Pilon acknowledg­ed he understood that police wanted him to stop and knowingly “took the risk” of continuing to flee, Owens said.

Officers used pepper spray on Pilon and didn’t let him wash his burning eyes until he was in a cell at the police station, where he had to use water from the toilet, Owens said.

When Pilon was released two days later, he was placed on conditions that included a curfew and a driving prohibitio­n. Those conditions have been in place for four years and he was never found to be in violation of them, Owens said.

Whether Pilon will now be eligible to renew his licence will be determined by the Highway Traffic Board, which is aware of his medical condition, Owens said. The Crown will send the board the defence document outlining the condition, Bliss said.

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