Accused killer to be assessed by psychiatrist


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A Manitoba man accused of murdering his parents and stabbing his nursing supervisor in the entrance of a city hospital will argue he was not criminally responsible for his actions.

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A Manitoba man accused of murdering his parents and stabbing his nursing supervisor in the entrance of a city hospital will argue he was not criminally responsible for his actions.

Trevor Farley appeared in a Winnipeg courtroom Tuesday. A judge approved a Crown application ordering that he undergo a forensic psychiatric assessment.

Farley, 38, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of his mother, Judy Swain, 73, at her New Bothwell home on Oct. 27, 2021; and with second-degree murder in the killing of his father, Stuart Farley, 71, at his home on Toronto Street in Winnipeg.

Farley is also charged with attempted murder for a knife attack that same day on nursing supervisor Candyse Szkwarek inside Seven Oaks General Hospital, where Farley worked as a nurse.

Farley is set to stand trial next fall.

The Crown’s request for a forensic assessment came after Farley’s lawyers confirmed they plan to argue he was not criminally responsible for his actions. Under the Criminal Code, the Crown can only request a fitness assessment if the accused has put their mental capacity forward as an issue or if the Crown can satisfy the court there are “reasonable grounds” to doubt the accused is criminally responsible for the offences.

“The Crown is applying for an assessment order… to determine if the accused was suffering from a mental disorder at the time of the offence so as to be exempt from criminal responsibility,” Crown attorney Shannon Benevides told King’s Bench Justice Ken Champagne during the brief hearing.

Champagne approved a 30-day order to complete the assessment.

Under the Criminal Code, court-ordered criminal responsibility assessments are required to be completed within 30 days, plus a 30-day extension, if necessary. If the report isn’t done in that time period, a new application must be made to the court.

“I appreciate the report may be some time after that,” Champagne said. “The key is to get him assessed and, if need be, the Crown can come back and ask for an extension of time.”

Criminal responsibility assessments have been the subject of ongoing delays due to several factors, including a psychiatrist shortage, a shortage of psychiatric beds and pandemic issues.

Court was told no psychiatric bed is currently available for Farley.

“The reality is, in order to get him in the queue, we have to get the order first,” said Crown attorney Mark Kantor.

According to search warrant documents, Farley’s wife told police he had struggled with mental illness for four years.

The documents say that in the week prior to the attacks, Farley’s wife accompanied him to the Crisis Response Centre, but he left when he was unable to get a bed. From there, they went to Health Sciences Centre, but left before seeing a doctor.

On Oct. 26, 2021, a day before the killings, Farley was involuntarily admitted to the Crisis Stabilization Unit. He later left the unit on his own.

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.


Updated on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 4:32 PM CST: Adds image, related stories

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