Top News

Psychologist says former university hockey captain from N.S. was in drug-induced delirium during Calgary attack

Former Mount Royal hockey captain Matthew Brown leaves the Calgary Courts Centre. Brown is accused of attacking an MRU professor in her Springbank Hill home last year. Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
Former Mount Royal University hockey captain Matthew Brown leaves the Calgary Courts Centre. Brown, who is from the Truro area, is accused of attacking an MRU professor in her Springbank Hill home last year. Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. - Brendan Miller

Former Mount Royal University hockey captain Matthew Brown was in a state of delirium triggered by magic mushroom consumption when he nakedly attacked a professor in her home, a psychologist said Monday

But Justice Michele Hollins must still determine whether Dr. Thomas Dalby is qualified to give an opinion on the effects of drug consumption on the human mind.

Defence lawyer Sean Fagan wants Hollins to rule Dalby’s expertise extends to psilocybin intoxication and he is able to explain what caused Brown, who is from the Truro area, to attack Mount Royal professor Janet Hamnett in her home in the early morning hours of Jan. 13, 2018.

Brown, 28, is charged with breaking into the victim’s southwest Calgary home and committing an aggravated assault on her after repeatedly striking her with an object, severely injuring both her hands and arms.

Brown, who was a Mount Royal student, but unknown to Hamnett, is also charged with breaking into a second nearby residence, where he was found by police, naked, in a main floor bathroom after he’d fled a house party into freezing temperatures.

Dalby, who testified via video link from Arizona, conducted an assessment of Brown in May 2018.

“It was highly probable that he had a delirium … brought on by his use of hallucinogenic mushrooms,” the doctor told Fagan.

He said the effect would put a person in a state of confusion.

“The primary issue is confusion. The person doesn’t know where they are, they may not know who they are,” Dalby said.

“What they see, what they hear, what they think can be extremely distorted.”

He said the state would impact how Brown recalled the events.

“Memories are always disturbed in a state of delirium.”

Brown testified last week he consumed magic mushrooms and some alcohol at a small gathering at the home of a friend who lived not far from Hamnett’s residence.

He said he has no memory from the time they were playing beer pong in the basement to seeing his girlfriend’s face in the hospital and then being in a jail cell.

Under cross-examination by Crown attorney Matt Block, Dalby agreed subjects will often fake symptoms to escape criminal liability.

“If an individual is faking, your opinion could be wrong,” Block suggested.

“My opinion could be wrong for many reasons, but faking is one of them,” Dalby said.

Block wants Hollins to rule the psychologist shouldn’t be allowed to give opinion evidence in the trial.

She will hand down a decision Tuesday, and if she permits it, Dalby will give further testimony on his assessment of Brown.

While a section of the Criminal Code prohibits a defence of non-insane automatism in crimes of violence, Fagan successfully had the law ruled unconstitutional during a pretrial motion.

KMartin@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @KMartinCourts

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

Recent Stories