Dangerous offender application on hold
Psychiatric observation fought but judge rules it goes ahead

by Chris Meyers Almey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 10/97) - A move by a Crown prosecutor to have a Fort Simpson man declared a dangerous offender is temporarily on hold.

In the meantime, Irvin George McPherson's defence lawyer has resisted efforts to have him sent for a lengthy psychiatric observation.

McPherson, 36, was found guilty of sexual assault by a Supreme Court jury in Fort Simpson earlier this month.

RCMP charged him with the assault after he broke into a residence there and attacked a woman. He has a lengthy criminal record and the Crown viewed the sexual assault as serious.

He has been remanded in custody for sentencing, but if found to be a dangerous offender, could be held in custody indefinitely.

In a Supreme Court hearing in Yellowknife on Feb. 21, Crown attorney Margo Nightingale asked Justice John Vertes to order a 60-day psychiatric observation of McPherson.

She also told court more time was needed to prepare the dangerous offender application.

Defence lawyer Tom Boyd opposed the psychiatric observation, but Vertes said sending an offender for observation has been ruled to not offend the Charter of Rights.

Vertes said it was in the defendant's interests to co-operate in the matter and the Crown in turn would co-operate when it came to choice of psychiatrists.

McPherson was remanded in custody until March 14 when the matter will come before the court again, but the judge said if there were faster developments it would be dealt with earlier.