Judge orders psychiatric test for man in baby-custody case

The man and his wife were arrested after a three-day police standoff in Halifax


HALIFAX -- A Nova Scotia judge has ordered a psychiatric assessment to decide if a man involved in a lengthy police standoff last month is fit to stand trial or represent himself. Judge Reg Kimball made the ruling after what was supposed to be a bail hearing turned into hours of convoluted arguments from accused Larry Finck, who peppered his comments with Latin legal terms almost never heard inside a courtroom, demanded a private phone in his cell and called the justice system a cabal.

"We had a chance. I had nothing against you.

"I don't care if Peter Pan is on the bench, I'm asking for judicial integrity," the man said said.

When warned he could be sent to a forensic hospital for testing, the 50-year-old man responded, "that would hide things nicely, wouldn't it?"

He and his 41-year-old wife, Carline VandenElsen, are accused of holding police at bay in a three-day armed standoff last month, trying to thwart a Children's Aid apprehension order for their baby.

Some media outlets have refrained from identifying the couple because the case involves a child apprehension order.

They were charged with unlawful confinement, obstructing justice and violating a child apprehension order.

The man is also charged with pointing and firing a 12-gauge shotgun at four peace officers, careless use of a firearm, and unlawful possession of a weapon for which he had no permit.

The man's long speeches in court have become the norm since the couple's arrest on May 21, the last day of the standoff.

On Monday he complained of a "cabal-like" conspiracy by authorities.

He said he's been denied access to pencils and paper and not allowed to speak to his wife.

When the couple came back yesterday, the man again argued he'd been denied access to paper and pencils to represent himself.

He also said he couldn't talk to lawyers on the phone privately, and still wasn't allowed to talk to his wife.

But Burnside jail deputy superintendent Paul Martell told the court he's received daily handwritten requests from the couple, all written in pen.

Both have spent time in solitary confinement; the woman for a hunger strike that's now over, and the man because he smuggled cigarettes into the no-smoking jail.

Martell said the woman has been unco-operative with jail staff, refusing once to pump breast milk for the baby.

He also said she had refused to get dressed for her first court appearance and had to be dressed and carried to a waiting van by staff.

His testimony prompted her to call Martell "that slanderous character."

In the end, she sat down and told Kimball she would no longer participate in the bail hearing.

She will be back in court Friday to determine whether she'll have her own bail hearing next week.

The man will be back in 30 days, after his psychiatric assessment.



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