July 24th, 2024

Accused shooter hires new lawyer

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on September 28, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 27-year-old man accused of shooting a gun at a home and motorist, and who earlier this month parted ways with his lawyer, was back in court this week with a new lawyer.

James McLeod of Calgary went on the record for Danial Mark Ferguson during an appearance in Lethbridge court of justice Wednesday. McLeod’s appearance was brief, however, and the matter was adjourned to Oct. 11 to allow time for him to receive and review disclosure from the Crown’s office.

Ferguson’s previous lawyer was allowed to withdraw as counsel on Sept. 20, after telling the judge there had been a breakdown in the solicitor-client relationship.

Ferguson, who attended court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, faces nine criminal charges in relation to the shootings four months ago: two charges each of pointing a firearm, discharging a firearm with intent, and mischief causing damage under $5,000, as well as single charges of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, dangerous driving, and failure to comply with release conditions.

Police reported that shortly before 5 p.m. May 26 RCMP responded to a report of a shooting at a home in Coaldale. When police arrived the alleged shooter had already left, and was reportedly driving toward Lethbridge on Highway 3. Police said he also shot at another motorist.

The suspect was stopped at the intersection of Highway 3 and 43 Street in Lethbridge, and arrested by RCMP and Lethbridge police.

“A pistol was located in the vehicle and was determined to be a Winchester BB gun replica of a 1911 pistol,” officials said in a news release.

During last week’s court appearance, Ferguson was deemed fit to stand trial following a forensic assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary.

During court hearings earlier this year, Ferguson said he was crazy and needed to have a psychiatric evaluation. Section 672 of the Criminal Code allows the court to order an assessment of the mental condition of an accused, if there are reasonable grounds to believe it’s necessary to determine whether the accused is unfit to stand trial.

Ferguson had initially asked for the assessment on June 16, but the judge denied his request in absence of substantial evidence, even though the accused told court, “do you need me to kill myself or kill someone else? I am crazy, I’m just telling you that right now. I could kill myself right now.”

Ferguson also said, “I do drywall by myself and talk crazy to the walls. Everyone thinks I’m crazy.”

The matter was adjourned, but a few days later another judge granted the assessment.

Ferguson was denied bail last month and remanded at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre. He was subsequently moved to the Calgary Remand Centre so he could be assessed.

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