June 16th, 2024

Psychological assessment extension ordered in hostage incident

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 22, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge judge has ordered an extension of a psychological assessment for a Lethbridge woman accused in relation to a stabbing and hostage-taking incident during the summer.

During a brief hearing Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, Judge Timothy Hironaka granted a request from the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary to extend Courtney Louise Shaw’s assessment for 30 days.

The original assessment, under 672 of the Criminal Code, was ordered in October to determine whether Shaw is unfit to stand trial and whether she was, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence, suffering from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility.

During Monday’s hearing Hironaka referred to a letter from the SAFPC requesting a 30-day extension, which he granted. The subsequent psychiatric report will be spoken to when the matter returns to court Dec. 23.

Shaw is charged with one count each of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and taking a hostage, and multiple counts of pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, unlawful confinement, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, and assault with a weapon.

The charges against the 40-year-old accused stem from an incident on July 14 when a woman entered Lethbridge Legal Guidance in the 400 block of 5 Street South, where four employees were working, and asked to speak to a specific lawyer. After being told the lawyer wasn’t available, the suspect asked to use a washroom and 10 minutes later returned and pointed a black handgun at two employees and threatened to kill them. One staffer grabbed a phone and hid under her desk to call 911.

Police said the woman also had a knife and threatened to kill the employees if they tried to leave and didn’t get the lawyer on the phone. She then forced a 54-year-old woman into an office and closed the door, allowing the other employees to escape. The hostage, however, was stabbed numerous times and required surgery. Police seized a knife and an airsoft handgun at the scene.

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