Mr. Arenburg, who entered court shackled and
wearing an orange jumpsuit, angrily accused
Judge Schroeder of acting against his best
interests when he silenced similar requests on
two previous occasions. He swore several times
during the encounter.
"Mr. Arenburg, we don't
use that kind of language in this court," Judge
Schroeder yelled, as additional armed marshals
entered the court and surrounded the
51-year-old. "I'm not going to let you use
The marshals whispered into Mr. Arenburg's
ear, apparently trying to calm him down. He
remained defiant throughout the 35-minute
hearing, during which he accused the judge of
"giving him the runaround" and not giving him
The hearing was scheduled to review a
psychiatric report finished late last week,
which concluded Mr. Arenburg is fit to stand
Mr. Jay told court he agreed with that
assessment when the two men sat down on
"As of today, I'm not so sure he is," he
In 1995, Mr. Arenburg gunned down Ottawa
sportscaster Brian Smith outside the television
station where he worked, killing him with two
shotgun blasts. The killing was the violent
culmination of a series of outbursts designed to
silence what Mr. Arenburg termed the voices in
After a rigorous period of treatment lasting
more than a decade, Mr. Arenburg was granted an
unconditional release in November 2006. His
success at the time was largely attributed to
his willingness to take the anti-psychotic drug
Olanzapine. Authorities now believe he had
discontinued that drug when he was arrested one
year later and accused of assaulting a U.S.
border guard during a failed attempt to cross
If indicted on a felony count stemming from
that incident, Mr. Arenburg could serve between
four and 20 years in prison.
On Monday, Judge Schroeder warned him that he
risked a "substantial" sentence if found guilty
of that assault. He then mulled the wisdom of
allowing Mr. Arenburg's case to go to a
potentially costly trial.
"It's a simple case. It's a case of assault,"
he said, wondering aloud if "the most
expeditious way to resolve this case is to
return him to his native land."
"This is a problem better handled by the
Canadian authorities," he said, adding "I'm
concerned about his mental state deteriorating"
if he remains detained.
Mr. Jay has been making a similar argument
since his client was arrested in November.
U.S. Attorney Aaron Mango said he was
unwilling to let Mr. Arenburg walk, however.
"I can't take that position at this time," he
said. "We are prepared to proceed with this
Now that he has been found fit to stand
trial, Mr. Arenburg is scheduled to reappear in
court in 10 days, where he will continue to be
represented by Mr. Jay.
Judge Schroeder denied Mr. Arenburg's request
to fire his lawyer, an event that would risk
derailing a fair trial, he said.
He vouched for Mr. Jay's competence and
encouraged the two sides to continue plea
negotiations, which began yesterday morning.
It was unclear why the former Atlantic
fisherman wanted his attorney gone in the first
"Every time I talk to him, he tells me lies,"
Mr. Arenburg said at one point during
yesterday's hearing. At another point, he
referred to Mr. Jay as "a jacket carrier for a
Mr. Arenburg also passed a written note to
Judge Schroeder requesting the removal of his
cuffs at hearings (the request was denied in
light of his "aggressive" behaviour), a pencil
and pen, an explanation of how U.S. authorities
got his Canadian medical records, the ability to
put questions to witnesses at trial, medication
to relieve his constipation, a haircut and beard
trim and money for his commissary.
"I've been to five different jails. My
stuff's gone, my clothes are gone, I don't even
know where the hell I'm going tonight," he told
the judge during the discussion the contents of
Outside court, Mr. Jay defended his client's
"That's a frustrated guy," he said. "He's
been sitting in the pokey since late November,
they took him down to New York City. They had
him in six different jails on the way down. He's
angry and I don't blame him frankly."
© Ottawa Citizen 2008