Rosato's lawyer calls for special court

If Kingston had mental health court, actor's case would have been done in a week, his counsel says

Aug 18, 2007 04:30 AM

Staff Reporter

KINGSTON–Tony Rosato's lawyer is calling for a mental health court to be established in Kingston like the one at Toronto's Old City Hall.

Had Rosato, an actor from Toronto, been sent to a mental health court, his case "would have been done about a week after it started," instead of moving through the courts over a two-year period, Daniel Brodsky said outside court.

The case has moved "like a snail with arthritis," he said, adding the "garden-variety harassment case" should have been handled quickly.

Rosato, 52, who is charged with criminally harassing his wife, Leah, and has been diagnosed as certifiable by a prison psychiatrist. He has been kept at the Quinte Detention Centre since his arrest in 2005 while a succession of eight defence lawyers has handled his case.

"I'm going to make a suggestion about how not to have this happen in the next case," said Brodsky, adding he'd like to see mental health courts in every jurisdiction. "You can't have it in every city but close enough so that if some case looks like it's falling off the rails (because of mental health issues), then it should land in mental health court."

Brodsky said he plans to stick around Kingston after Rosato's case concludes to see what he can do to get it going.

Rosato was arrested by Kingston police after repeatedly complaining that his wife and daughter had been replaced by impostors. He has been diagnosed with Capgras syndrome, a disorder characterized by the belief that people close to him have been replaced by substitutes.

Rosato's case focuses on mental health issues and a violation of his Charter rights, Brodsky said.

"Everybody thought that Rosato was crazy because he walked into court and was hollering that his constitutional rights were being violated. But you know what? They were," he said.

Brodsky will argue that Rosato's case should be dismissed because his Charter rights were violated. He has filed an application stating the case should be dismissed for unreasonable delay and abuse of process because the Crown could have sent Rosato to hospital to await trial, rather than a detention centre.

Assistant Crown attorney Priscilla Christie told the court the case "is not about unreasonable delay."

Brendan Crawley, spokesperson for the attorney general's ministry, has said the case was delayed because Rosato had fired his lawyers or else they quit.

"It's a case about Mr. Rosato exercising his Charter rights," Christie said. "It keeps him behind bars. That's the tragic irony of this case."