By: Tim Petruk
A Shuswap man admitted in Kamloops court Monday he was responsible for the death of a motorcyclist he ran off the road in Magna Bay nearly three years ago — but maintained he should not be held to criminal account because of a mental disorder he was suffering at the time.
Brian Watson, 60, died on April 3, 2016, while riding his motorcycle on Squilax-Anglemont Road near Chase.
Raymond Swann was originally charged with murder in connection to Watson’s death, but that allegation was reduced last year to criminal negligence causing death.
Swann, 59, is in B.C. Supreme Court this week seeking a finding of not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder (NCRMD).
Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan said the onus is on Swann and his lawyer to prove he was suffering a “disease of the mind” at the time Watson was killed.
“A truck operated by Mr. Swann collided with a motorcycle operated by Mr. Watson,” Flanagan said.
“They were both travelling in the same direction. So, it was the front of Mr. Swann’s truck colliding with the rear tire of Mr. Watson’s motorcycle… The single issue this week is whether Mr. Swann is eligible for a finding that he is not criminally responsible for the death of Mr. Watson.”
Defence lawyer Ken Walker is expected to use evidence gathered by police and psychiatrists in seeking to convince B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley that Swann was suffering a mental disease and that the disease rendered him incapable of appreciating the consequences of his actions or knowing they were morally wrong.
“The sole issue here is about NCRMD,” Walker said.
Swann himself is expected to take the witness stand.
Watson was an employee of the Kamloops-Thompson school district, where he worked as a facilities painter. His widow, Ila, has previously said Watson, an avid motorcyclist, was out on one of his first rides of the season when he was killed.