POLITICS

Crown asks for fitness assessment of man convicted in Via Rail terror plot

07/16/2015 01:20 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Crown is asking for an assessment to determine whether a man convicted of plotting to derail a passenger train is fit to be sentenced.

Attorney Marcy Henschel told Chiheb Esseghaier's sentencing hearing on Thursday that the Crown will apply for a fitness assessment if the judge does not order one on his own.

Dr. Lisa Ramshaw, who did a psychiatric assessment on Esseghaier, testified earlier this week that she believes the Tunisian national is unable to participate in his sentencing hearing because he is likely schizophrenic.

Henschel said the evidence is reasonable grounds to undertake another assessment and to appoint legal counsel for Esseghaier, who has been representing himself with an appointed amicus curae.

The lawyer for Esseghaier's co-accused Raed Jaser said that if the assessment is ordered then the defence will renew its application to adjourn Jaser's sentencing.

Justice Michael Code said the matter was "quite difficult" and involved "some very complex issues."

Code is expected to deliver his decision on Friday afternoon.

Esseghaier and Jaser were found guilty in March of a terror-related conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a sentence of up to life in prison, and six other terror-related charges between them.