Disposition date to be set in March for man found not criminally responsible in hit and run death

Raymond Edward Swann had been charged with criminal negligence causing death after the truck he was driving struck and killed Brian Watson, who was on a motorcycle

It will be more than a month before a Shuswap man who struck and killed a motorcyclist in 2016 learns his fate.

On Feb. 1, Raymond Edward Swann was found not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder (NCRMD) of criminal negligence causing death.

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Swann, 58, was originally charged with murder after Brian Watson was killed while riding his motorcycle outside Chase on April 3, 2016. That charge was later reduced to criminal negligence causing death.

Swann admitted he was behind the wheel of his truck when it struck and killed Watson, but his lawyers successfully argued he had a mental disorder at the time.

Defence lawyer Ken Walker argued Swann had a disease of the mind at the time Watson was killed and should undergo treatment rather than spend time in prison.

At the core of the case, Justice Dev Dley said, was whether Swann was suffering from a confused state of mind as a result of sleep deprivation and use of or withdrawal from drugs, or if he had an underlying mental disorder.

If under a self-induced state, the NCRMD defence would not apply.

Though court heard Swann smoked two marijuana joints on the day of the crash, had stopped taking methadone and had been experiencing sleep deprivation, Dley said expert testimony of a doctor who had prescribed Swann methadone was "crucial” as it ruled out those external factors as causes of Swann’s psychosis.

Brian Watson
Brian Watson was killed in an April 3, 2016, hit-and-run crash in Magna Bay.

Psychiatrists who examined Swann agreed he was not in his usual mental state, but disagreed on the cause.

Dley relied on testimony from a doctor who had provided ongoing treatment in determining Swann was suffering from some type of mental disorder. Dley accepted that Swann thought he had been hearing voices and feared for his life, noting actions such as throwing his and his wife’s cellphones into the bush just before the crash, out of fear of being tracked, as “unmistakable signs of thought disorder and hallucination.”

Lawyers will be in court on March 4 to set a date for disposition. Walker said Monday he thinks the matter will be dealt with in late March.

When an NCRMD ruling is made, an offender is dealt with by the B.C. Review Board rather than criminally. The review board can detain a person in a medical facility and order treatment and supervision in the community as it sees fit.

Swann is not in custody.

© Kamloops This Week


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