Edmonton

Suspect in Alberta doctor's death won't have a lawyer in November trial

A four-week jury trial for a man accused in the killing of a family doctor at a medical clinic in central Alberta has been scheduled for November.

'They ignore my case because I am a Black man,' says the accused

Deng Mabiour, 54, is arrested by RCMP outside a Red Deer medical clinic. Mabiour is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Dr. Walter Reynolds last summer. (Facebook )

The man accused of killing a family doctor at a medical clinic in central Alberta will represent himself at trial. 

A four-week jury trial has been scheduled for November for Deng Mabiour, accused in the death of Dr. Walter Reynolds at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer.

Mabiour, 54, insisting on representing himself on the charge of first-degree murder. He spoke in court by phone Monday.

The trial is set for Nov. 22 to Dec. 17.

Mabiour has been urged several times to obtain a lawyer, and Court of Queen's Bench Justice Paul Belzil repeated the request.

"Sir, I strongly, strongly recommend that you get a lawyer. You're facing a very, very serious charge here," Belzil said.

"The penalty is life in prison if you're convicted. It's very, very serious."

But Mabiour insisted he won't accept the help of a lawyer.

"To have a lawyer represent me? No, no, no, no," he told the judge.

Court previously ordered a psychiatric exam for Mabiour after a number of bizarre exchanges with the judge, and he was found fit to stand trial.

Mabiour told court Monday he doesn't trust the governments of Alberta or Canada.

"They ignore my case because I am a Black man and this kind of abuse is very serious abuse. I don't believe it when the government of Canada says Canada is a leader of human rights."

The judge asked the Crown in the case to request to an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, be appointed to assist Mabiour, who immediately objected.

"This lawyer would help the court. It's not your lawyer, OK?" Belzil explained.

"I cannot force you to get a lawyer. So if you want to represent yourself, you may do so. I assure you sir, you will get a fair trial."

Mabiour earlier pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, as well as to charges of assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer.

Belzil ordered Mabiour to appear in Red Deer court in person on Mar. 22 for a second arraignment.

Judge may appoint amicus curiae

A University of Calgary law professor said she's not aware of any other case this serious in which an accused has acted as his or her own lawyer, but it may have happened.

"It's that person's right to have [a lawyer] or not," Lisa Silver said in an interview. "Some people are difficult or some people just don't want one. It can happen."

Silver expects the judge in Mabiour's case will make every effort to ensure that he receives a fair trial. That may mean appointing an amicus curiae to help out in some instances, she said.

"Sometimes they will do that, particularly when expert evidence is called ... or sometimes for legal arguments that an unrepresented person wouldn't be able to make on their own," Silver said.

Reynolds died after being attacked inside a Red Deer walk-in medical clinic. (Submitted by Anelia Reynolds)

Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked with a weapon while working at the clinic on Aug. 10. He died in hospital.

One witness told media that she was in the waiting room when she heard cries for help and saw a man with a hammer and a machete.

RCMP have said the crime was not random and the two men knew each other through the clinic, although they have not said if Mabiour was a patient of Reynolds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Graveland is a Calgary-based reporter for The Canadian Press.

now