Newfoundland & Labrador

Not criminally responsible? Accused murderer Graham Veitch 'not well,' says lawyer

19-year-old often segregated at HMP because of more than 'normal emotional stress'

Terry Roberts - CBC News

October 06, 2017

Graham Veitch sits with his head down, expressionless, during an appearance at provincial court in St. John's Friday. (Cal Tobin/CBC)

The first-degree murder case against 19-year-old Graham Veitch is heading to Newfoundland and Labrador's Supreme Court, with strong indications that his lawyers will argue he was not criminally responsible for the death of David Collins.

"He's not very well. I'll leave it at that," Veitch's co-counsel, Mark Gruchy, replied when asked if that's the defence's strategy.

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"I don't want to get into the substantive aspects of the defence right now."

Veitch made another appearance at provincial court in St. John's Friday, where Gruchy advised the court that his client was waiving his right to a preliminary inquiry.

Pharmacist David Collins, 55, died in December 2016 following an assault at a home in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove. (Facebook)

In doing so, the matter will now go straight to Supreme Court for a trial, with an arraignment likely to take place in November.

Veitch is charged with first-degree murder and a long list of other offences stemming from the death of Collins, a 55-year-old pharmacist, at a home in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove on Dec. 18.

Collins was in a relationship with Veitch's mother, and the couple lived together in the home.

Segregated in prison because of health issues

Veitch was deemed fit to stand trial following an extended psychiatric evaluation in January, but Gruchy stressed the test for legal fitness is very low.

"All legal fitness requires is that a person have, at the moment they are evaluated, very basic orientation to space, time, and comprehension in the most basic of ways as to what is going on. So what that means is that people who are very ill can be legally fit, and frequently are," he said.

Veitch has been in custody at Her Majesty's Penitentiary, and often spends his time in administrative segregation because of health issues that "transcends normal emotional stress," said Gruchy.

Questions about Veitch's well-being have become increasingly apparent during court appearances, where he walks very slowly and shows very little sign that he is even aware of what's happening.

"Mr. Veitch has been having a very difficult time in a complex way," Gruchy added.‚Äč

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