June 16th, 2024

Extension requested for assessment in hostage case


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 8, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman who has spent the last month in Calgary undergoing a psychological assessment, will have to continue the assessment for another two weeks, and possibly longer.

Courtney Louise Shaw, who faces several criminal charges, including attempted murder, was sent to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in December for a 30-day assessment. However, during a brief hearing Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, the judge was told the centre requested a 14-day extension to complete the assessment.

Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller told court his client wants a longer extension, but the Crown recommended the matter be adjourned until Feb. 21 to check on the progress of the assessment before deciding whether more time is needed.

The assessment is to determine whether Shaw was, at the time of the commission of the alleged offence, suffering from a mental disorder so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility.

In addition to attempted murder, Shaw is also charged with numerous additional offences, including aggravated assault, 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, according to police, 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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