June 20th, 2024

Assessment could be challenged when hostage case returns to court

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on March 9, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

The results of a psychological assessment, ordered last year for a Lethbridge woman charged with attempted murder, may be disputed when the matter returns to court later this month.

The case against Courtney Louise Shaw was in Lethbridge provincial court this week, where an agent for the accused’s lawyer requested another adjournment to allow defence more time to discuss its next steps and consider the impact of the assessment.

“I am seeking an adjournment to March 21, remand by consent, for election and plea instructions, and contemplate a potential challenge of the psych assessment,” Lethbridge lawyer Justin Dean told court.

Shaw, who remains in custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre and was not required to attend court Tuesday, was sent to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in December to determine 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.

Although the assessment has been completed and a report prepared, the results have not been disclosed in court.

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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