Shuswap man who killed motorcyclist given absolute discharge - InfoNews

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Shuswap man who killed motorcyclist given absolute discharge

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July 18, 2019 - 6:00 PM

SHUSWAP - A Sorrento man found not criminally responsible for causing the death of a motorcyclist in the Shuswap in 2016 has been granted an absolute discharge following a psychiatric assessment.

Raymond Edward Swann, 58, was originally charged in April 2016 with criminal negligence causing death, after he drove his truck into the rear of 60-year-old motorcyclist Brian Watson killing him.

In February 2018, 10 months after the event, Swann was charged with second-degree murder, but on Feb.1, 2019, Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley found Swann not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

After the finding, Justice Dley ordered a psychiatric assessment and in a June 28 decision, the B.C. Review Board granted Swann an absolute discharge.

The discharge means no restrictions will be placed on Swann and a bail condition prohibiting him from driving will no longer stand. The decision says it hopes the Crown will take the necessary steps to review Swann's driving privileges.

According to the B.C. Review Board decision, on the day of the event, Swann left his rural Sorrento property abruptly driving away irrationally. At one point he stopped his truck in the middle of the road, blocking traffic.

He told his partner of 30 years to be quiet because "they" could see them, and he threw both their cell phones in the bush because "they" could hear them "and were able to track them." At one point Swann asked his partner if "she had seen the blue van and the men with the guns."

He later told a police officer his phones were bugged and that "they" had killed his wife and dogs.

A psychiatrist diagnosed Swann with schizophrenia describing signs of mental illness which included agitation, thought disorder, auditory hallucinations, delusions, flattening and poor hygiene. The psychiatrist did, however, say it was unusual Swann had had a sudden onset of fear on the day of the incident as a major mental illness generally occurred gradually.

The psychiatrist also noted it was rare to have an onset of late age schizophrenia.

The decision says Swann had been a heavy user of cannabis for over 40 years, lived an isolated life, and had "little interest in day-to-day living."

A psychiatric report June 6 says Swann has experienced a full remission of symptoms since the crash and "did not present with any historical or current lifestyle or problems that would predispose him to act in a violent manner."

According to the decision, the Crown argued that without knowing what was in Swann's mind at the time of the incident, how could the Board have confidence that it would not happen again?

"Clearly, the Board has concerns," the decision says. "The evidence as presented left the Board with many unanswered questions."

No neuropsychological test was done on Swann and the Review Board also says it is "extremely unusual" for a person to have a rapid onset of mental disorders so late in life.

However, the Board concludes they can only deny an absolute discharge if there is a risk of physical or psychological harm.

Swann had experienced a full remission of symptoms and was abiding by mental health treatment. A psychiatrist report showed Swann was a low risk to re-offend in a violent manner and was therefore given an absolute discharge.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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