Shania Twain's accused stalker changes plea to guilty

The former Ottawa doctor accused of stalking singer Shania Twain changes his plea to guilty on charges of criminal harrassment and breaching a court order.
A courtoom sketch shows John Palumbo of Ottawa watching testimony from country-pop superstar Shania Twain. (Natalie Berman/CBC)

The man accused of stalking singer Shania Twain changed his plea to guilty on two charges on Friday.

After a morning of testimony from Twain, the lawyer for Giovanni (John) Palumbo told a Toronto court that his client would be changing his plea.

Palumbo pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal harassment and to breaching a court order.

The former Ottawa doctor will now undergo a psychiatric assessment at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. He will be back in court on Oct. 18, either to face sentencing or to be found not criminally responsible.

Palumbo's lawyer, Gary Barnes, said his client got no satisfaction from getting to see and listen to Twain.

"He feels terrible. He upset the lady he loves. Who's not going to be sorry about that?"

The trial has been underway for two days in a Toronto courtroom.

Palumbo had earlier interrupted Twain's testimony for the second straight day while the Canadian superstar was testifying via video link from an undisclosed location in Europe.

Palumbo jumped to his feet to say he didn't know Twain had received his letters.

The outburst came as the country star was telling the court about numerous letters she said Palumbo had written to her, including one she described as "scary."

Palumbo was charged with criminal harassment and not complying with court orders to stay at least 500 metres away from her. The court heard he got too close to the singer during the Juno Awards.

Twain also said that Palumbo arrived outside her Muskoka-area cottage in both a boat and a Lamborghini, showed up at her grandmother's funeral, and sent her flowers in Switzerland.  

On the first day of the trial on Thursday, Palumbo interrupted the proceedings to say he was guilty — but the trial continued.

"Eileen, you can trust me. I'm going to plead guilty," he blurted out, using Twain's former first name.

Despite the admission, the trial continued into its second day.