Justin Christien Bourque, the 24-year-old accused of killing three Mounties and wounding two others last month in Moncton, N.B., has been ordered to undergo a 30-day psychiatric assessment.
The Moncton man is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with the June 4 shootings.
He has not yet entered any pleas.
Bourque was scheduled to elect his mode of trial Thursday before provincial court Judge Irwin Lampert at 1:30 p.m. AT, but his newly retained defence lawyer, David Lutz, requested the assessment.
Lutz said he met extensively with Bourque's father, Victor Bourque, as well as Bourque's mother, and is aware of the circumstances.
Bourque's father wrote an affidavit, supporting the assessment.
The judge said he believed the threshold for the order was met, based on what he read in the affidavit.
The assessment will be conducted at the Shepody Healing Centre in Dorchester.
Justin Bourque will return to court on July 31.
The Moncton courtroom was packed for his appearance on Thursday, with his father and several other supporters in attendance.
Codiac Regional RCMP Supt. Marlene Snowman was also in court.
Bourque, who was shaggy-haired and bearded, and wearing grey sweatpants and a grey T-shirt, did not make eye contact with anyone in the gallery.
Outside the courtroom, Bourque family friend Mirelle Thibeault said this has been difficult for his family.
"I think I wanted more answers which might come along after this evaluation," she said. "Just like everyone else, just to know what triggered this to happen."
Lutz declined to comment to reporters outside the courtroom, saying he will not speak while the process is underway.
Crown prosecutors Cameron Gunn and P.J. Veniot also declined interviews following the court proceedings.
Neither the court-appointed duty counsel nor the Crown had requested a psychiatric evaluation during Bourque's first court appearance on June 6.
He was arrested just after midnight that day, following a two-day manhunt that involved hundreds of police officers from across the country and saw much of the southeastern New Brunswick city locked down.
He has been in custody ever since.
The RCMP officers who were killed on June 4 were:
- Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, from Saint John.
- Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, from Victoriaville, Que.
- Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, originally from Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
Constables Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Marie Darlene Goguen were also wounded.