Judge finds man with long record not criminally responsible 

Spate of bizarre public behavior.

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on January 27, 2016
Prince Edward Island provincial court
Guardian photo

A judge ruled that a man with an extensive criminal record was not criminally responsible for breach of probation following a spate of bizarre public behavior.

Provincial court Judge John Douglas referred Dean Carl Chappell to the Criminal Code Review Board for disposition.

The Board must hold a hearing within 45 days.

Douglas ordered Chappell detained at Hillsborough Hospital until the hearing.

The Criminal Code Review Board has three options in dealing with Chappell: grant an absolute discharge which would set him free; grant conditional discharge allowing Chappell to live in the community or hospital subject to the conditions and restrictions set by the Review Board; detain him in custody in a hospital.

Chappell was initially charged with breach of probation for a string of incidents that took place last year place between Nov. 26 and Dec. 9, including numerous cases of trespassing, exhibiting strange behavior in Montague, and scrubbing his bare feet with a mop in the washroom of a Charlottetown bar.

Chappell had pleaded guilty to breaching probation and sought to contest a psychiatric assessment that determined he was not criminally responsible for his actions during that two-week period of bizarre behavior.

With his hands cuffed and legs shackled, Chappell came to court Wednesday dressed in a grey sweatshirt and blue jeans looking to convince Douglas of his criminal responsibility in the case.

Appearing via video, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Grainne Neilson told the court that after assessing Chappell at the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Nova Scotia, she concluded he has bipolar disorder and personality disorder.

She is also certain Chappell had a mental disorder during the period he breached probation. As a result, he could not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

Neilson noted Chappell, who has a long criminal record including armed robbery and assaulting a peace officer, at times exhibits acts of aggression, irritable moods and incrased energy.

"He tends to be very aggressive towards property and sometimes people,'' Neilson told the court.

She also determined that Chappell is capable at times of "fake wellness'' when he is highly motivated to behave well.

Neilson said Chappell lacks insight into his mental condition and cannot be trusted to take prescribed medication on his own.

She notes Chappell has been hospitalized on numerous occasions where he had to be treated involuntarily.

He is currently taking anti-psychotic and anti-anxiety medication.

Chappell told the court he felt he was ready to return to the community.

"I'm feeling a lot better, yes I am,'' he told the judge.