Provincial investigators will be sent to an Edmonton scrap metal shop that employed a man who was found to be suffering from heavy metal toxicity at the time he killed his wife in July 2008. 

In a joint submission made this week in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench, Crown and defence lawyers agreed that Narin Sok, 52, is not criminally responsible for Deang Huon's death due to delirium caused by the condition.

Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk promised to send investigators one day after Occupational Health and Safety said it would not look into General Scrap Iron and Metal because no complaints had been laid.

"I have dispatched an officer, or officers, and a nurse to visit that place of employment to inspect it and see whether, indeed, there are any infringements on the act and any practices that are not allowed under the auspices of the act," Lukaszuk said Wednesday.

Lukaszuk also promised to release the company's safety inspection reports.

Sok is charged with second-degree murder in the strangulation death of Huon, 40, on July 30, 2008. His trial started Monday in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench.

A forensic psychiatrist determined Sok was suffering from a mental disorder likely caused by heavy metal poisoning at the time his wife was slain.

Sok was found to be suffering from acute renal failure when he was arrested. Tests taken on that day showed he had toxic levels of lead, manganese and cadmium in his blood.

Sok had long-term exposure to toxic heavy metals at work, the psychiatric report stated.

In his delirium that day, he also tried to melt two belts made of zinc, sliver and lead on the stove which created a large amount of smoke in the apartment. The belts belonged to Sok and his wife and were purchased in Cambodia on the belief they would help the couple conceive a child. 


Narin Sok is shown here on the day he was arrested in his wife's death. (Edmonton Police Service)

According to the agreed statement of facts, Huon was found dead in the couple's apartment at 109th Avenue and 106th Street after her cousin called the Mobile Mental Health Crisis Unit.  Relatives were worried about her safety because Sok's behaviour had become increasingly paranoid and bizarre.

When police arrived at the apartment, they found the front door had been barricaded with sacks of rice. Sok was sitting on his bed surrounded by black garbage bags. Police found Huon's body under a pile of garbage bags, clothes and rice bags.

Sok was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital for a medical assessment after he was interviewed by police. Doctors who treated him for renal failure noticed his delusional and schizophrenic behaviour.  

Sok later told a psychiatrist that he didn't know how his wife died.

Sok worked for scrap metal firms for six years starting in 1986. He worked for General Scrap Iron and Metal from June 2005 to July 2008 where he was responsible for cutting and peeling wires and cables to recover copper, aluminum and lead.

Sok has since recovered from his mental illness. The judge will decide Monday whether to accept the joint submission from the Crown and defence.