The trial of Elijah George got underway this morning at provincial court in St. John's.
George — who is originally from Nigeria and has lived in Canada since last year — is charged with sexually assaulting a nurse and assaulting another nurse while he was a patient on the psychiatric ward of the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s in May.
Elijah George — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
He had been a patient there for about a month when he was arrested.
He's also charged with voyeurism for reportedly peeking under bathroom stalls of the women's washroom, which was outside the psychiatric unit.
The investigating police officers, Const. Kelsey Aboud and Const. William Rossiter were the first to take the stand.
Aboud testified that when she interviewed George following the initial complaint on May 23, he didn't say much.
"He wasn't very talkative," Aboud testified.
At the second interview days later, she said he spoke a little more, "but it was very limited."
After the lunch break, the trial was unexpectedly halted when George's lawyer Joan Dawson asked the judge to send George for a psychiatric assessment.
"I have concerns about his (mental) fitness," Dawson said. "The concerns are legitimate."
George had been laughing throughout proceedings in the morning.
Orr agreed and ordered that George undergo an overnight psychiatric evaluation.
Proceedings will resume Thursday, at which time the court will find out the outcome of the assessment.
George's bail hearing last spring was stopped midway for the same reason.
The trial had been set for two days.
Shawn Patten is the Crown prosecutor.