The charges against Thomas Chan, the man who was found guilty of manslaughter in the death of his father in 2018, have been withdrawn by the Crown counsel in Canada.
Chan, 25, was previously found guilty in December 2018 for the charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder following an incident at his father’s Haggis Drive house in Peterborough, Ontario, on Dec. 28, 2015.
Chan had consumed magic mushrooms with his friends hours before entering his father’s house. A video recording of the incident captured a barefooted Chan entering the house with his shirt open, screaming “I’m not afraid anymore.” While experiencing a drug-induced psychotic episode, Chan stabbed his father Andrew Chan and his partner Lynn Witteveen with a butcher knife.
Andrew, a local doctor, died, and Witteveen was gravely injured. She previously went through eight surgeries, including the removal of her right eye and sections of her bowels and a hernia repair.
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During Chan’s trial, he was not allowed to use the automatism defense as Section 33.1 of the Criminal Code in Canada does not permit individuals charged with a violent assault to use impairment as a defense.
However, the Supreme Court found Section 33.1 of the Criminal Code unconstitutional this Spring, granting Chan a new trial.
Crown attorney Paul Murray told Peterborough Superior Court that it was not in the public interest to move forward with a retrial. Instead, the prosecution withdrew the charges on Thursday, citing the time Chan has already served, his restrictive bail conditions and the fact that he is doing well.
“He has completely turned his life around. At 25 years of age, he is now on the dean’s honor roll at university,” Murray reportedly said.
Chan’s defense lawyer Danielle Robitaille thanked prosecutors.
“Thomas Chan is not a criminal,” she told the court. “He was a kid who made a mistake for which he could never have foreseen the consequences.”
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The Crown, however, noted that they do not concede that Chan was an automaton during his attack. Although the Crown agreed Chan was likely in a psychotic state during the attack, attorneys previously stressed that he had willingly intoxicated himself.
“The psychiatric evidence adduced at his first trial suggested his conduct was driven by delusions, and that he had conscious control of his actions. He was therefore not an automaton,” Murray reportedly told Superior Court Justice Michelle Fuerst.
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Featured Image via Crime Beat TV