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Mental health assessment ordered for P.E.I. man after standoff with police

An armed Charlottetown police officer walks through the scene of a standoff after a report of someone seeing a man carrying a gun and a sword on Aug. 21, 2020.
An armed Charlottetown police officer walks through the scene of a standoff after a report of someone seeing a man carrying a gun and a sword on Aug. 21, 2020. - Ryan Ross
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A P.E.I. man facing multiple charges after a standoff with Charlottetown police in August will undergo a mental health assessment to see if he can be held criminally responsible.

Ronald Douglas Gay, 44, appeared before Judge Jeff Lantz in provincial court in Charlottetown Thursday by video from jail where he has been in custody since his arrest.   

Gay is facing charges of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, pointing a firearm, mischief and uttering threats.

During Thursday’s proceedings, defence lawyer Alex Dalton asked to have a psychological assessment completed specific to Gay’s criminal responsibility.

Charlottetown police arrested Gay after a standoff that lasted several hours outside a building on Upper Hillsborough Street on Aug. 21.

Dalton told the court a previous assessment completed in 2000 in relation to a robbery found Gay was not criminally responsible. 

She also said Gay had more recent diagnoses that included schizophrenia.

The court heard the assessment related to the standoff will be done by teleconference over three days in October.

That timeframe stands in sharp contrast to the lengthy delays the courts were seeing in recent years when judges were ordering mental health assessments.

Past delays have led judges to give extensions of orders for assessments that were supposed to be completed within 30 days but went far beyond that deadline.

In one case, Chief Judge Nancy Orr warned the province could find itself in contempt of court over the issue.

To address the delays, Health P.E.I. started using psychiatrists who performed the assessments by teleconference.

Lantz granted the assessment order and adjourned the matter until Oct. 21. 

Before returning to his cell on Thursday, Gay sat at a table with his arms crossed in the video conference room at the jail where he said he was telling the truth about everything.

“I am innocent and I am not insane,” he said.

Twitter.com/ryanrross

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