Simard found criminally responsible in vicious beating at CPRI
A 24-year-old London man has been found criminally responsible for the vicious beating of an autistic boy at London’s Child and Parent Resource Institute.
The decision means Greg Simard, who was a full-time contract employee at CPRI when the attack happened, will face prison time for the attack.
Simard pleaded guilty to attempted murder and other charges in connection with the assault of a 12-year-old boy found seriously injured on Sept. 9, 2012.
Despite that plea, Simard’s lawyers applied to have him declared not criminally responsible.
On May 10, Ontario Court Justice Jeanine LeRoy reserved her decision on whether Simard was so mentally ill he didn’t know what he was doing when he beat the boy.
Simard was sent for a 30-day psychiatric assessment at the Regional Mental Health Centre in St. Thomas.
LeRoy heard from two forensic psychiatrists before making her decision.
One testified Simard is likely schizophrenic and not criminally responsible, the other believed he had adjustment disorder and psychosis related to drug use but that he was responsible for his actions.
The key question was whether Simard understood what he was doing at the time of the attack.
And when a co-worker demanded to know what happened to the boy, Simard reportedly said ‘Shut up Sharon, or I will kill you,” and then quickly left the area.
The family of the victim, whose identities are protected by a court order, is expressing relief following the decision.
His father says “When you think about stomping on a child’s head, trying to beat somebody to death, someone who is completely defenceless, non-verbal, you know, it’s incredible…and have to hear it again and again. I don’t know how we would have done it.”
The family’s greatest concern was that if Simard was found not criminally responsible he could have, theoretically, been back on the streets in a matter of weeks and could have, once again, posed a threat to their son.
"It's not joy or happiness,” the victim’s father says. “There's no joy or happiness from this at all for us. But it is a relief for us to know that we don't have to deal with this man hopefully for a very long time."
With both psychiatrists agreeing that Simard has some form of mental health issue, his lawyer Gord Cudmore says he’s worried his client may not get the help he needs.
“The question is whether or not - given the inadequate facilities we have in the prison system - whether or not he will get that treatment. But that's clearly what we're going to stress."
Cudmore also hasn’t ruled out filing an appeal in the case, “It was a lengthy decision that we just heard for the first time. We haven't had a chance to read it, and totally comprehend the reasons behind it. So, that's what we'll look at."
The two sides are expected back in court on July 5th, when a date will be set for sentencing.