Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man accused of stabbing neighbour remains in custody

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A Winnipeg man suffering from delusions that people are out to get him will stay in custody to face charges stemming from a terrifying and apparently random stabbing attack on a neighbour, which was partially captured on video.

"As long as his delusion disorder goes untreated, his release would threaten the safety of any community that he's in," provincial court Judge Catherine Carlson said Thursday of Gerald Chudy, 56.

Chudy is accused of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon and is presumed innocent.

He's been in custody since July 28, when he was arrested at his Manitoba Avenue home. Police arrested him soon after he allegedly accosted a male neighbour on the sidewalk and jabbed one of two concealed knives he was carrying into the man's chest.

"This was a scary knife... it was a large butcher knife," said Crown attorney Elizabeth Laite.

Chudy's lawyer, Brett Gladstone, argued it was a case of self-defence and that he was protecting himself from the neighbour.

"I was grabbed, I was threatened and I responded," was Gladstone's summary of Chudy's version.

The stabbing prompted the victim to try to run, but an armed Chudy chased him around a yard for four to five minutes until he was batted back with a garden tool, said Laite.

Another neighbour captured the event on a cellphone camera, she added.

Laite said the video shows Chudy "very calmly" walking up to his home after the chase ends.

The stabbed man was taken to hospital, but luckily the wound wasn't very deep, said Laite.

In a police interview, Chudy repeatedly denied having any psychological problems, she said.

At the time of his arrest, Chudy was on probation for uttering threats and also bound by bail conditions after being accused of mischief for tossing rocks at neighbouring homes last fall.

Carlson was told Chudy's neighbours have been "terrified" to the point they feel they can't take their kids outside or do yardwork without having a lookout. "They don't know when Mr. Chudy is going to pop out," said Laite. "They can't take their children out to play... unless they do it as a group effort...

"From listening to these neighbours, it's a horrible way to live," said Laite.

Chudy previously applied for bail but the judge at the time cited "grave concerns" about his mental health and instead ordered he submit to a psychological evaluation.

Laite said reports flowing from that assessment show Chudy suffers from delusions that neighbours and others are persecuting him and breaking into his house in the dead of night to assault him.

It's "frightening," said Laite, that Chudy has been admitted to hospital for mental-health intervention several times in the past, only to be discharged with no medication and no plan for followup treatment.

The recent in-custody assessment found doctors believe his disorder rendered him incapable of appreciating the nature of his alleged actions and he didn't know they were legally or morally wrong. Chudy may be found not criminally responsible down the road, but Gladstone signalled he's wanting to fight any such finding.

Gladstone argued Chudy hasn't shown violent tendencies in the past, has a good track record on bail and "is absolutely fit to stand trial."

His release plan was to reside at the Salvation Army at 180 Henry St., where there's "cameras, as well as locked doors," Gladstone said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 11, 2013 B3

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