Mental illness taints legal proceedings
Garry Roland Nordell to spend 60 days in medical facility
By: By Megan Sarrazin
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 13, 2013 06:00 am
An Edmonton man presumed to be a follower of a United States tax-protest group will spend 60 days in a medical facility to determine his ability to stand trial.
Crown prosecutor Douglas Taylor told the court that it appears Garry Roland Nordell follows the practices of activist David Wynn Miller, an individual who instructs followers to use a certain syntax in legal proceedings to limit the power of the courts.
Nordell faces seven charges, including two charges for obstructing a peace officer, resisting a peace officer, failing to attend court and three traffic offences.
“It started out with a complaint of a dog in distress on a warm day (in a vehicle),” Taylor said, adding when a bylaw officer responded to the complaint on July 30 she found the vehicle in question parked illegally.
Nordell returned to the vehicle and refused to provide identification to the bylaw officer, before getting in the vehicle and driving away. He was arrested Aug. 5 in a joint effort by bylaw officers, St. Albert RCMP and the Edmonton Police Service.
At his last court appearance Jan. 14, he refused to acknowledge his identity and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric assessment.
Three sheriffs escorted Nordell, bound by handcuffs and shackles, into the prisoners box in St. Albert Provincial Court Monday.
A psychiatric assessment performed at the Alberta Hospital diagnosed Nordell with paranoid delusional disorder and mentioned an unconfirmed history of schizophrenia.
The doctor who performed the assessment outlined two options for the court, including appointing a lawyer on Nordell’s behalf. This did not seem like a plausible option.
“I did try to help this man,” said lawyer Zane Pocha, adding Nordell declined all opportunities to discuss the matters.
The second recommendation was to have Nordell spend an additional 60 days in custody to receive treatment in an effort to make him fit to stand trial.
“He has ailing mental health,” Taylor said, adding the 60-day term imposed is not meant to be a punishment.
Nordell stood silent for much of the proceedings and stood with his back turned to Judge Norman Mackie.
On occasion, Nordell would interrupt proceedings with comments like “I have a contract with the postal office to keep me safe,” “I’m in bondage” as well as numerous instructions to sheriffs to return him to his postal station.
“It would be in (Nordell’s) best interest that I do impose a further 60 days to see if it’s possible to get him in a state to stand trial,” Mackie said.
“I’m in a box here, I can’t hear you. You’re on a different level, on a different playing field,” Nordell responded.
Mackie entertained the comment and asked members of the roughly 20-person gallery if they could hear what was being said, to which everyone responded in the affirmative.
Although Nordell claimed he couldn’t hear Mackie’s statements, he responded on numerous occasions to Mackie when asked if there was anything he wanted to add.
Nordell’s next court appearance is set for April 8, where it is expected to be determined if he is fit to stand trial.