Janson Baker to be evaluated by forensic psychiatrist

Janson Baker to be evaluated by forensic psychiatrist
Janson Baker to be evaluated by forensic psychiatrist

Alex Pate, the attorney for Janson Bryan Baker, who is accused of trying to kill a Riverview teacher, has found a forensic psychiatrist who can evaluate his client as his trial has been delayed several times.

Baker faces 16 counts of pointing a prohibited firearm at two teachers from a vehicle as they were leaving Riverview High School. One of them was shot but escaped alive.

Although he pleaded not guilty to all charges related to the January 5, 2021 incident, his lawyer had signed a joint agreement with the Crown indicating that his client was indeed the perpetrator of the alleged acts. That said, Mr. Pate had argued that for Janson Baker to benefit from a fair trial, the services of a forensic psychiatrist would be required.

While the courtroom had been booked for three weeks on the Moncton courthouse calendar, the trial was adjourned after six days, since June 3, so that the defence lawyer could find the necessary expert. Despite this stay, Me Pate had argued before the judge, Richard Petrie, that the total duration of the hearings would be shortened.

It was during a conference call on Friday that Mr. Pate confirmed the retention of the services of Dr. Klassen, based in Ontario. However, certain steps will be necessary for the latter’s expertise to be recognized in New Brunswick.

“We are working on what could be described as a logistical challenge related to the transfer of his licence from Ontario to New Brunswick,” the lawyer said.

“He said he might speak with Mr. Baker at some point in September.”

“The Crown will most likely want to present a rebuttal and, presumably, an expert as well. We would like to ask the defence if they will allow our expert to question Mr. Baker,” then announced the Crown’s representative, Me Malika Levesque.

Without immediately answering in the affirmative, Mr. Pate indicated that he would have to study the question with his client, but that he would probably accept.

“I expected that. It’s something I discussed with Mr. Baker,” he said, indicating that a definitive answer could be provided sometime next week.

With the evaluation process scheduled for September, Me Levesque stressed the time that will be necessary for the experts to draw their conclusions and then for the lawyers, who will have to take note of them before returning before Judge Petrie.

“The report will have to be submitted to the Crown. I would expect that once Dr. Klassen has spoken to Mr. Baker, it will take him some time to prepare it,” she said, noting that November seemed like a reasonable time to resume the trial, something that Justice Petrie and Mr. Pate agreed with.

Another conference call is scheduled for July 22. The parties will then be able to provide updates on the progress of their respective efforts and confirm specific dates for future steps in the case.



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