Dad of overdose victim has mental health issues, lawyer argues
Spending hours trying to revive his dead baby, including an attempt to fashion a home-made defibrillator, is evidence a Calgary man has mental health issues, his lawyer said Thursday.
Defence counsel Joan Blumer said Jonathan Hope should be examined by a psychiatrist to determine if he was insane at the time he failed to properly care for his daughter.
Justice Earl Wilson questioned whether there was sufficient reason to believe Hope may have been not criminally responsible at the time of his daughter’s methadone overdose.
Wilson said he saw no indication of the “cognitive dysfunction” doctors who earlier tested Hope suggested may exist, in the evidence called at his trial.
But Blumer said her client’s reaction to discovering little Summer Hope unconscious and not breathing in their Southwood-area home was proof enough.
“This was a man who was apparently administering artificial respiration on a child for hours after she was deceased,” Blumer said.
“This is a man who pulls a plug out of the wall ... and applied that to the child,” she said.
“That in my view is not normal behaviour.”
Wilson convicted Hope and his former wife, Lisa Guerin, of failing to provide the necessaries of life after their 16-month-old daughter died April 29, 2006.
The dad told emergency responders he awoke the next day around 9 a.m. and desperately tried to revive her until he spoke to a relative four hours later, who then summoned medical help.
During the course of his attempt he cut an electrical cord from a lamp, stripped the ends and tried to shock his daughter back to life.
Blumer said a brain injury suffered by Hope years earlier may have impacted his ability to appreciate the consequences of his conduct.
“That lead him to the bizarre things (he did) after the death of his daughter,” she said of the earlier injury.
She said Wilson should send Hope for testing to determine his mental state at the time.
The judge will hear submissions from Crown prosecutor Ken McCaffrey, who is opposing the application, on Monday.