30-day psychiatric assessment ordered for April Dawn Irving

By Lara Fominoff @LaraFominoff on Twitter
February 11, 2019 - 1:37pm

LETHBRIDGE - A provincial court judge has ordered 59-year-old April Dawn Irving to undergo a 30-day, in custody psychiatric assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.

A bail hearing will be held upon completion of her assessment.

Clutching a thick file of paperwork and a pen while appearing via CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre Monday, Feb. 11, Irving also asked her lawyer Bjoern Wolkmann to present a list of several requests.

They included:

1)  A request for a single cell once again both at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre and at the Calgary centre when she goes in for testing, because of two alleged threats from staff, and one alleged death threat from a cell mate.

Irving told Justice Derek Redman she has filed an RCMP report, and police are now investigating. Wolkmann also asked the court for Irving to remain at Lethbridge Correctional Centre until she gets a bed at the Calgary facility.

2) A "course outline" of the types of tests, their contents and the procedures she will be subject to during her 30 days at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.

"I don't like to sign a blank cheque," said Irving to Justice Redman.

“Being university graduate etc. myself, I have a degree in psychology, everyone’s in agreement that I speak with them… I require that information,” she added.

The Crown agreed to ask for and get the testing outline, and to pass it on to her counsel.

3) To see an orthopedic surgeon for a knee injury she suffered after a car accident in Jamaica in 2017.

4) For the entire process to be expedited.

The Crown told Justice Redman that in 2014, an out of custody psychiatric assessment was ordered for Irving, but that it was never completed. It is now needed, to see if she is criminally responsible for her acts.

Irving is facing 13 counts of cruelty to animals, one count of causing suffering to animals and failure to appear in court.

She was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals in 2014, after five dogs were found dead on a property near Milk River, along with more than 200 neglected animals that were seized.
The animals that were alive, were found dehydrated, starving and chained to stakes. 

Justice Redman told the court that in “light of her fragile mental and physical state,” he would recommend Irving stay at LCC, and emphasized to her that all court matters are supposed to be expedited. He said he could not deal with her request for medical care for her knee.

She will be back in court March 13, 2019. 

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