The man accused of murdering a Red Deer doctor in his walk-in clinic in August pleaded not guilty and said he will defend himself.
Deng Mabiour, 54, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the death of Dr. Walter Reynolds, 45, at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic on Aug. 10, in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Monday morning.
The married father of two young girls was badly injured and died later in hospital.
RCMP have said that Mabiour and Reynolds knew each other but have not said whether he was a patient.
Mabiour also pleaded not guilty to assaulting a police officer who arrived on the scene and assaulting another doctor at the clinic with a machete.
Mabiour, who made his appearance by phone, was asked by Justice Bill Hopkins whether he had a lawyer.
“I don’t have a lawyer. I want to represent myself,” said Mabiour.
Hopkins cautioned Mabiour that he would be better off with a lawyer, pointing out that if he was convicted of first-degree murder he would be sentenced to life in prison. Under Canadian law, he would not be eligible for parole for 25 years.
“If you represent yourself, you will be at a disadvantage unless you have had extensive legal training,” Hopkins said. “My opinion, sir, is it would be in your best interests if you were represented by a lawyer.”
However, Mabiour was not moved.
“A lawyer can’t do anything for my case,” he said. “There is no lawyer good for me in Canada.”
As in several of his other court appearances, Mabiour rambled on about his case. His commentary continued as each charge was read to him and he was asked how he intended to plead.
“Please don’t speak when I’m speaking,” said Hopkins at one point, as Mabiour continued to interrupt.
After a series of bizarre appearances in court previously, a judge ordered that Mabiour undergo a psychiatric assessment. That was done and determined he was fit to stand trial.
Crown prosecutor Dominique Mathurin said the issue about legal representation has been reviewed.
“We’ve had many discussions about Mr. Mabiour finding counsel,” said Mathurin. “That appears to be his decision at this point.”
Mathurin estimated four weeks will be needed for trial, taking into account that Mabiour would be representing himself.
In his last court appearance, Mabiour waived his right to a preliminary hearing and said he wanted to go to trial as soon as possible.
The court’s trial co-ordinator said on Monday the earliest available dates would be in November 2021.
Justice Hopkins said he did not want to go ahead and set a trial date until their had been an “extensive” pre-trial conference on the case, which would include a judge, Crown prosecutor and Mabiour. Pre-trial conferences are commonly used to discuss the issues that may came up in trial, such as how many witnesses might be called.
The case returns to court on Feb. 1.