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Crown withdraws prison assault charge against Graham Veitch

Graham Veitch, 21, looks toward his mother, Joan, in the gallery as he leaves the courtroom in St. John’s Thursday. It was the first time since his arrest in December 2016 that Veitch was permitted to have contact with his mom, since he had been ordered to have no communication with her. After declaring Veitch not criminally responsible for the killing of Joan’s partner, David Collins, Justice Sandra Chaytor agreed to lift the no-contact order.
Graham Veitch. - Telegram file photo
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The Crown has dropped a charge of assault against Graham Veitch.

Veitch, who was last month found not criminally responsible for the death of his mother's boyfriend on account of a serious mental illness, had been charged with assaulting a fellow inmate at Her Majesty's Penitentiary last January, while awaiting his trial.

On Wednesday, prosecutor Mike Murray told the court he was withdrawing the charge — even though there was video evidence of the alleged assault — given Veitch's health.

Veitch had been charged with murder in connection with the death of 55-year-old David Collins at their home in Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove in December 2017. During his trial, two forensic psychiatrists testified Veitch suffers from schizophrenia and had been having delusional thoughts of Collins as a threat when he repeatedly struck Collins in the head with a hammer.

Defence lawyers and prosecutors agreed Veitch was not criminally responsible for the crimes, since he was unable to appreciate the nature and consequence of his actions due to his mental illness.

Last month, Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Justice Sandra Chaytor agreed, saying Veitch is in need of treatment, not punishment. She remanded him to the Waterford Hospital, where he will remain in treatment until he is deemed fit for release by a review panel.

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