July 16th, 2024

Lawyer of accused shooter wants more time to review case

By Lethbridge Herald on October 13, 2023.

Delon Shurtz – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A lawyer only recently hired to defend a 27-year-old man accused of shooting a gun at a home and motorist last Spring, has asked for more time to review the case and obtain additional disclosure from the Crown’s office.

“I have reviewed disclosure on these matters (and) had a discussion with my client,” Calgary lawyer James McLeod said Wednesday in Lethbridge court of justice. 

“My application today would be to adjourn this matter for two weeks. The purpose of the adjournment is that there is one outstanding piece of information that I would like to seek from the assigned Crown, and also to engage in some discussions with the assigned Crown on these files.”

McLeod is the second lawyer to represent the accused. The first was allowed to step down on Sept. 20 after telling the judge there had been a breakdown in the solicitor-client relationship. A week later McLeod went on the record and requested an adjournment to allow time for him to receive and review disclosure from the Crown’s office.

Ferguson, who was denied bail in August and is remanded at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, faces nine criminal charges in relation to the shootings fived 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 a 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 a September court hearing, Ferguson was deemed fit to stand trial following a forensic assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre in Calgary.

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

In addition to his charges related specifically to the shootings, Ferguson also faces charges of assault, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, failure to comply with release conditions, resisting a peace officer and causing a disturbance by screaming. Those matters were also adjourned to Oct. 25.

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