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Mental-health assessment ordered for Lethbridge man charged in care-home killing

During his first appearance in Lethbridge Provincial Court, Wesley Red Young Man's lawyer said her client doesn't know why he's in jail. During his first appearance in Lethbridge Provincial Court, Wesley Red Young Man's lawyer said her client doesn't know why he's in jail.
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LETHBRIDGE -

A man accused of killing a fellow resident at a Lethbridge care home will undergo a mental-health assessment.

During his first appearance in Lethbridge Provincial Court, Wesley Red Young Man's lawyer said her client doesn't know why he's in jail.

Red Young Man, 51, is charged with assault and manslaughter in the death of Kenneth Hale, 78.

Lethbridge police say Hale was assaulted on Dec. 26, 2022, by another resident at St. Michael's Health Centre.

Hale died of his injuries on Jan. 3, but police weren't involved until after an autopsy was completed on Jan. 6.

Red Young Man's lawyer told court Thursday her client suffers from cognitive dementia.

"It's a hard thing to process through," said Doug King, a justice-studies professor at Mount Royal University.

"It is in many ways for the Crown, I think, because they have a decision of, do we press a charge? Every bit of compassion may be telling them not to, but they have to follow through with the process."

The judge ordered a mental-health assessment to determine whether Red Young Man is fit to stand trial.

In a statement, Covenant Health, the operator of the centre, said, "We are aware of the investigation and are collaborating with police services."

Specific questions about how the assault was handled and reported went unanswered.

Senior advocates in Lethbridge say people shouldn't jump to conclusions about what happened.

"Was it a breach of policy procedure? Was there enough security? Was there enough staffing in place? Were the patients in an appropriate setting – either one or both?" said Rob Miyashiro, executive director of the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization.

"So, until we know those kinds of things, I really don't think people should jump to conclusions and that the one person shouldn't have been there."

Miyashiro added most care centres strive to have a safe, secure place for their residents.

"This is something to learn from as well," Miyashiro said.

"Is this something that could be avoidable? Is this something that happened and there was almost no way to predict it? Then you just have to figure out the best way to predict these kinds of things."

Hale leaves behind a wife of 58 years and two children.

They declined an interview, but in his obituary, they thanked the staff at the home for their "compassion and affectionate care."

The matter has been put over until March 24, when the report from the mental-health assessment will be shared. 

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