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Perfitt declared not criminally responsible rather than sentenced

He had been found guilty for Courtenay liquor store robbery, attack in 2020
Surveillance footage was used in Dustin Perfitt’s trial last December. Prior to sentencing though, he has been found not criminally responsible. File image, RCMP

Dustin Perfitt’s lawyer wanted a determination of his client’s mental state last December before Perfitt could be sentenced.

The accused, who was found guilty in B.C. Supreme Court for a robbery and stabbing at a local liquor store, has since been found not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder (NCRMD).

Perfitt was arrested following an incident at the Mex Pub liquor store in September 2020 in which he stabbed a clerk and stole cigarettes.

RELATED STORY: Suspect found guilty in Courtenay liquor store robbery and stabbing

He was convicted on Dec. 16, 2021, after which there were requests for a pre-sentence report and forensic report. Doug Marion, his lawyer, asked for a determination of Perfitt’s mental state at the time of the offence. He noted the nature of the crime itself as well as statements Perfitt had made while in remand as a basis for his request.

Most of the case took place within a voir dire to determine the admissibility of video evidence and the voluntariness of statements Perfitt made to police. Justice Barbara Norell admitted the evidence and in the end found Perfitt guilty.

“There were no inducements or threats,” she said at the of her decision. “There is no evidence of police trickery.”

After a few appearances earlier in the year, Crown counsel confirmed the court accepted the NCRMD designation at his most recent appearance on June 29.

Rather than sentencing before the courts, these matters typically go before the B.C. Review Board to determine conditions for the person based on risk. This can include requiring the person to remain in a psychiatric hospital setting or follow specific treatment or programs. As a federal Department of Justice webpage states, “Although it may avoid a criminal conviction, it can also lead to indeterminate involvement with the system responsible for managing mentally disordered accused.”

The board can grant an absolute or conditional discharge or order detention in hospital. At the time the story went to press, Crown counsel was trying to determine the status of Perfitt’s case before the review board.

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