January 22nd, 2021

Woman facing arson, drug charges could have matter resolved without trial

By Shurtz, Delon on October 9, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald


A Lethbridge woman found mentally fit to stand trial on charges of arson and drug possession could resolve the charges without a trial.

Following the completion last month of a forensic assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary, doctors concluded Mary-Lee Roy Parks is able to provide instructions to her lawyer.

The woman was sent for an assessment in May to determine whether she is unfit to stand trial or was, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence, suffering from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility.

Although she has been found fit to stand trial, a trial may not be necessary.

The matter was back in Lethbridge provincial court Tuesday, but adjourned to Oct. 20 after Lethbridge lawyer Greg White said defence needs more time to complete resolution discussions with the accused and the Crown.

Parks is accused of starting a fire May 13 near the Umami Shop in the 800 block of 4 Avenue South. When police arrived at the business, they found wood pallets and cardboard piled up against the building in flames.

Firefighters extinguished the fire, but not before it caused about $6,000 worth of damage to the store and overhead phone lines. A suspect was identified through security video footage and arrested without incident the following morning. The suspect was also caught with a small amount of drugs.

Parks was charged with one count each of arson and failing to comply with release conditions, and three counts of drug possession. Two of the drug charges were later withdrawn, however.

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