Alleged arsonist mentally ill?

Chelsea Powrie

A psychiatric report has recommended the man accused of setting fire to the Osoyoos RCMP detachment in July be found not criminally responsible for his actions due to a mental disorder. 

Joseph Mcarthur-Pereira appeared in Penticton court Wednesday via video conference from custody at a mental health facility. He is charged with arson endangering life and mischief causing danger to life following an incident in which gasoline was spread on the walls and adjacent ground of the police detachment and lit on fire at around 9:30 p.m. July 25.

The psychiatric report was given to Crown and defence counsel this week prior to McArthur-Pereira's scheduled appearance in court. However, discussion of the implication of the report was stopped in its tracks.

When it became clear to Mcarthur-Pereira that bail was not being discussed, he became visibly distraught, hanging his head in his hands and asking to fire defence counsel Norm Yates as his lawyer and represent himself or get new counsel. 

“I’m not okay with sticking here for another couple of weeks while he decides whatever, because the fact is he’s my lawyer and he’s never attempted to contact me," he said. "I’ve been in here a month with no bail or nothing!"

Judge Jane Cartwright assured Mcarthur-Pereira that even if that claim were true, which Yates disputed, his custody was not up for debate. 

"You're not getting out today in any event," she said. "I would urge you to keep your lawyer ... I'm asking [Yates] to give you one more chance."

She called Mcarthur-Pereira "very vulnerable" and adjourned the proceedings for a week to give him time to further discuss his situation with Yates. 

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