January 11, 2016 - 4:28 PM
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops Supreme Court justice ordered a psychiatric assessment for a local man convicted of arson and manslaughter to determine if he is eligible to be declared a dangerous offender.
Last November, a jury convicted David Peter Gordon of two counts of arson which caused the death of his house guest Cheryl William in April 2013.
As part of his court application Friday. Jan. 8, Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan talked about Gordon’s criminal record which had two prior convictions for arson.
Prior to setting the fire which caused Cheryl William’s death, Gordon had a domestic dispute with his girlfriend. Police were called to break the two up and an officer removed Gordon’s girlfriend from the home on St. Paul Street. Frustrated and angry, Gordon set fire to a pile of clothes in his bedroom before the fire quickly spread throughout the house. William was left behind when Gordon and his roommate escaped the flames and she later died in hospital from smoke inhalation.
Flanagan said the details of the recent arson conviction are similar to an arson charge Gordon was convicted of in Ontario.
In April 2002, Gordon, while drunk, broke into a store in Brantford, Ontario and lit the building on fire after discovering the cash register was empty. The fire spread to neighbouring buildings and Flanagan said it caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Once he was in custody, Flanagan said Gordon discussed with someone at the jail what caused him to commit the crime. Flanagan said Gordon admitted to committing the crime because he was angry after a fight with his step-father and was frustrated with his girlfriend.
Flanagan said Gordon committed another arson when he was intoxicated and lit a picnic table on fire in February 2010.
“What you have before you is arguably a pattern of behaviour that may cause you to conclude Mr. Gordon is a dangerous offender,” Flanagan said.
A dangerous offender status is reserved for criminals convicted of the most violent offences with little to no chance of rehabilitating or changing their behaviour. The designation comes with an indefinite prison sentence.
Justice Hope Hyslop granted the order which will give the courts a psychiatric analysis of Gordon. Depending on what the results are, Crown will determine whether to pursue dangerous offender designation, a long-term offender designation, or sentence based on the most recent conviction.
“All of these things will have to be reconsidered in light of the assessment,” Flanagan said. "I wish to make it plain from the outset. This is not an application for a directional order that you find that Mr. Gordon is a dangerous offender. I simply ask that you order that an assessment be conducted."
To read more on Gordon's trial, click here.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016