KAMLOOPS - A psychiatrist has told a second-degree murder trial that people awakening from a deep sleep show impaired mental functions made far worse by alcohol and drugs.
Cory Bird, 27, is accused in the death of Albert Michell, who was stabbed 73 times and found in a Lytton-area apartment in August 2008.
B.C. Supreme Court has heard that Bird and Michell drank 15 beers, nearly an entire bottle of liqueur and also smoked marijuana together before Bird passed out and awoke to find Michell sexually assaulting him.
While Bird’s recollections about what happened that night have shifted in different police interviews and testimony, he maintains that he was drunk when he was awakened by Michell.
Addictions specialist Dr. Shaohua Lu testified that Bird drank the equivalent of six to nine beers the night Michell was killed, and that amount of alcohol seriously impairs what he called “response inhibition."
Lu said alcohol impairs the ability to recognize the consequences of certain actions, but responses are highly variable from person to person.
“A guy in a bar with six drinks may get bumped into and be jovial and say, ‘How’s it going?,'" Lu said.
“Another guy might say, ‘What’s going on, buddy?’ and get into a fight.”
Lu said that in one example, any parent awakened by their child in the first few hours after falling into a deep sleep understands the confusion in the first few moments.
Under cross-examination from Crown lawyer Bernie Caffaro, Lu acknowledged his examples are hypothetical and that he couldn't find any studies.
“There’s not a lot of research,” he said.
Another witness testified earlier this week that Michell sexually assaulted him on two occasions years earlier as he slept and only stopped under threat.
Robert Bill, 35, said he was 17 when he drank and did cocaine and marijuana with his brother, a friend and Michell and awoke to find Michell sexually assaulting him.
He said he threatened Michell with a knife to make him stop, and told him he would kill him if he ever did it again.
Michell, he said, bought all the drugs and alcohol.
He said he first reported the incident to police in 1998 but no charges resulted.
The jury is expected to be sequestered on Monday to consider Bird’s fate.