Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/8/2009 (2832 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Lawyer Martin Glazer said he has been told the 18-year-old man arrested last week and accused of setting more than 20 fires in Tuxedo and River Heights during the last six months has the mental capacity of a child in Grade 3.
Glazer said it was a similar situation one of his clients faced during several court hearings in the 1990s.
That man -- who had been accused several times of arson but never convicted -- was born in 1967 and diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the mental capacity of a seven-year-old child.
"Jail is not the solution for people with mental disabilities in conflict with the law," Glazer said on Wednesday.
"Government-funded community supervision is more effective. It's better to have them treated humanely than keep them in jail.
"Jail simply puts off the inevitable. They will then be released without a safety net. Community supervision is the best protection for society," Glazer said.
Glazer's client was arrested and charged several times with offences, but after a bail hearing in 1994, and for the first time in North America, a program of 24-hour care was set up for him and paid by the provincial government.
When releasing him on bail into the program against the wishes of the Crown, provincial court Judge Frank Allen said it was worth trying, calling it a tragic case.
"I can well understand the Crown's concern for the safety of the public... I think it's in the best interests of society to let him out to his sister and let him get help. That will protect the public."
That man is still in the program.
In the latest arsons, two of the blazes damaged equipment used by the Assiniboine Park Steam Train.