In May of 2011, William Joseph Tait was charged with a number of offences involving violence. Police records show Tait was not taking his medication. He had been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. Months later in November of 2011, Tait was again charged with more violent offences. Judge Peter Ross said the evidence was clear that Tait was incapable at the time of appreciating or understanding the nature and consequence of his actions. There was six month between these crimes.. no medication, mentally ill, no treatment, no responsibility!
The release of a 26-year-old New Waterford man now rests with a provincial review board after he was found not criminally responsible Friday for multiple offences. William Joseph Tait will be returned to the East Coast Forensic Hospital and the board must meet within the next 45 days to make an initial assessment of Tait’s mental health. After Friday’s sentencing hearing, Tait was remanded to the Cape Breton Correctional Centre for the weekend before his return to the Dartmouth hospital Monday.
Tait was first sentenced on charges of causing a disturbance and assaulting a police officer after his arrest last year at a doughnut shop. He received a sentence of one day in jail served by his presence in court. Prosecutor Diane McGrath explained to the court the strange circumstances involving the final two set of charges from incidents in May and November 2011.
The first set of charges, involving assault and threats and assault with a weapon, stem from a heated argument Tait was having with his girlfriend. In hearing the commotion, the landlord intervened and told Tait to leave the area. Tait instead fled inside the home but came running back out with a knife in his hand threatening to kill his landlord who was able to overpower Tait and hold him until police arrived.
McGrath said at the time of the offence, Tait was not taking his medication. He was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.
In November, 2011, Tait made contact with a friend requesting he be allowed to stay for a few days, McGrath said. The request was granted as the friend was concerned because Tait was highly agitated and described as running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
The friend showed Tait a pellet gun and the two talked briefly about the gun before the friend went to bed. At around 3 a.m., Tait left the home with the gun and, for some unexplained reason, wearing a pair of women’s white shoes accented with numerous red rhinestones. Witnesses described the shoes as not fitting Tait very well.
McGrath said he first stopped at a convenience store on Prince Street where staff noticed the gun when he bent over. Tait didn’t stay long in the store and staff said he was rambling. Tait then ventured to a nearby gas bar and told the duty clerk he would kill them if they didn’t put money, cigarettes and scratch lottery tickets in a bag. The clerk complied and Tait left returning to his friend’s home to show off his ill-gotten booty.
McGrath said video surveillance from both locations clearly show Tait as the culprit. As result of the two incidents, Tait was charged with weapons offences and armed robbery.
Defence lawyer Ann Marie MacInnes said her client has little memory of the crimes but does accept responsibility for his actions.
In passing sentence, Judge Peter Ross said the evidence was clear that Tait was incapable at the time of appreciating or understanding the nature and consequence of his actions.
Would anyone be criminally responsible had Tait actions ended in the death of someone?