Nicholas Layman found not criminally responsible for stabbing on soccer field

Nicholas Layman is not criminally responsible for stabbing an 11-year-old boy on a Conception Bay South, N.L., soccer field in 2014, a provincial court judge has ruled.

'He's a dangerous man,' says mother of 11-year-old N.L. boy who nearly died from wounds

The stepmother of Nicholas Layman reacts to the court's "not criminally responsible" verdict 1:01

A man has been found not criminally responsible in the stabbing an 11-year-old boy on a Conception Bay South, N.L., soccer field in 2014.

Provincial court Judge Colin Flynn handed down his decision Wednesday, based on a joint statement of facts from Crown and defence lawyers in December.

Nicholas Layman, 21, was charged with attempted murder after the boy was stabbed during a soccer practice in the Topsail neighbourhood.

Layman's family confirmed he had not received the treatment he needed for schizophrenia.

Nicholas Layman talks to his lawyer after a judge finds him not criminally responsible for attempted murder. (CBC)

'Dangerous man'

"We knew this would be the logical outcome," the father of the stabbing victim told reporters at court Wednesday. "We understand he [Layman] is a very sick man."

The boy's parents, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, said they hope Layman will get the help he needs at the Waterford Hospital, where he will be kept under a detention order.

His future will be determined by a review board of medical and legal professionals.

The young victim is doing well and is back playing sports, according to his parents. (Terry Roberts/CBC)

"Hopefully he will be there for a while until they see he's fit to be on the street again, if ever," said the boy's mother. "He's a dangerous man, and it's scary for a community and the children of the community."

The parents said their son, now nearly 13, is doing well.

"We take a page from his book, because he's trying to move on as best he can," said his mother.

"He's back to soccer and doing good in school, so hopefully he got a bright future and this won't plague him too long."

It's the first time the couple has talked publicly about what happened to their son while playing soccer, saying they were asked by the Crown to refrain from commenting until after the court ruling.

"Our child is a miracle," said the boy's mother, telling reporters that her son's carotid artery was severed in the attack.

"The fact that he made it off the field, they said, was unreal. He should have bled out on the field. We had angels watching over us that day." 

Glad it's over

Layman's parents, meanwhile, said Wednesday they are relieved the ruling was not criminally responsible.

"It's a decision that I hope will help him with his treatment and help him get better so this never happens again," said stepmother Doreen Layman.

"The last couple of years have been total chaos," said father Scott Layman. "We hope this decision will put pressure on our mental health people, and say listen, we need to change."

Layman will remain in psychiatric care at the Waterford Hospital in St. John's until a review panel determines he is well enough to be discharged. (CBC)

The Laymans have said their son showed symptoms of having mental illness in his teens, but they never expected him to turn violent.

They have called for more resources to treat mental illness, and more opportunities for families to be involved when the patient is a young adult.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Jasbir Gill testified in December that Layman heard voices through radio and TV around the time of the stabbing, adding that those voices were telling him what to do.

The Laymans said their son is responding to medication and is reading again, which they find encouraging.

Asked if his family can forgive Nicholas Layman, the father of the boy who was stabbed said, "To me, it's not us. I hope society can forgive him ... I don't see any remorse, and I don't think the young man has ever acknowledged what he's done."

With files from Mark Quinn