Simard pleads guilty to attempted murder
Gregory Simard has pleaded guilty to attempted murder in connection with the beating of a resident at the Child and Parent Research Institute.
The 12-year-old boy, who has autism and is non-verbal, using an iPad to communicate, was found severely injured after the attack on Sept. 9, 2012.
The brain damage he suffered means he can no longer feed himself, walk or go to the bathroom alone.
At the time of the attack, 24-year-old Simard was an employee at CPRI, and friends and co-workers say he was good with special needs children.
But something went terribly wrong. According to the Crown's statement of evidence, after his arrest Simard told police “I killed a retard. No big deal.”
He claimed there were voices speaking to him and that the government was controlling him.
Simard also reportedly told police "I took him into the bush and I beat the f--- out of him. He’s a drain on society…I hope he’s dead. I killed him for our country, I tried to kill him for our country."
The court heard disturbing evidence about the attack itself at Friday’s hearing, which left the victim’s mother sobbing uncontrollably.
A police report stated the boy was found naked from the waist down and beaten so badly his eyes were swollen shut.
Psychiatrist William Comer, who did the initial assessment of Simard, said on Friday “He knows right from wrong. He knows that hurting someone, killing someone, running naked is wrong.”
But he added that changes in behaviour, references to working for the government and publicly exposing himself are signs of some kind of psychosis.
Comer says Simard believed “This is something the government wanted him to do, something that he was going to get therapy for and get paid for.”
The initial psychological assessment concluded Simard suffered from schizophrenia and should not be held criminally responsible for his actions.
However a second assessment requested by the Crown and done by a different psychiatrist found Simard suffered from adjustment disorder and should stand trial.
So despite his guilty plea, it’s still not clear whether a mental disorder will prevent Simard from being held criminally responsible.
The judge in the case has decided to reserve a decision on Simard’s mental fitness until after reviewing all of the evidence.