Nova Scotia

Psychiatrist says accused killer Richard MacNeil not criminally responsible

Richard Wayne MacNeil, 40, of Gardiner Mines is charged with first-degree murder in the April 18 death of his common-law wife Sarabeth Anne Forbes, 33.

Crown is seeking 2nd opinion on psychiatrist's report into Richard MacNeil's state of mind

A psychiatrist has said Richard MacNeil (second from left) is not criminally responsible for the April 18 death of his common-law wife Sarabeth Anne Forbes. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

The Crown is getting a second opinion about whether a 40-year-old Cape Breton man can be held criminally responsible in the death of his common-law wife.

Richard Wayne MacNeil of Gardiner Mines is charged with first-degree murder in the April 18 death of Sarabeth Anne Forbes, 33.

The case returned to Sydney provincial court Friday to discuss the report of forensic psychiatrist Dr. Scott Theriault.

Theriault's report said MacNeil is fit to stand trial, but cannot be held criminally responsible for the killing.

'Just an opinion'

"This is just an opinion," Crown attorney Steve Drake said outside court.

"There's no finding of NCR (not criminally responsible) until he goes before a court. Only a judge can make that finding."

Sarabeth Anne Forbes, 33, was found dead April 18 in her Gardiner Mines home. Her common-law husband, Richard Wayne MacNeil, is charged with first-degree murder. (Submitted by Tanya Hennick-McNeil)

Police found Forbes dead inside the couple's home in Gardiner Mines. The woman was a teacher's assistant at Tompkins Memorial Elementary in nearby Reserve Mines. The couple's son is a student at the same school.

Drake has arranged for Dr. Stephen Hucker, a forensic psychiatrist based in Toronto, to do a second assessment of MacNeil.

The case will be back in court June 23. MacNeil is being kept in the East Coast Forensic Hospital until then.

"We hope by that point in time to have some information from Dr. Hucker and it could potentially be to set dates for a preliminary hearing or bail hearing, depending on the instructions he gives his counsel," Drake said.

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