Matthew Raymond, the “Fredericton Shooter”, has been found not criminally responsible for the deaths of four Fredericton residents in 2018. The verdict, reached by a four-day jury deliberation, closes a lengthy trial which spanned over ten weeks.
Raymond, 50, admitted to shooting two individuals and subsequently shooting two responding police officers, yet pled not guilty at trial. There was no denial by the defence that Raymond had committed the acts in question. The defence argued that Raymond was “not criminally responsible” by reason of mental disorder.
Raymond, who had no history of mental illness, was diagnosed with a mental disorder after the shootings had occurred. Two psychiatrists testified that Raymond suffered from schizophrenia and a third diagnosed Raymond with a delusional disorder.
The defence argued that this undiagnosed illness caused Raymond to be unable to appreciate the nature and consequences of his actions, while the prosecution argued instead that the shootings were the culmination of weeks of planning and a willing mind.
Ultimately, the jury sided with the defence. The not criminally responsible verdict was read in court as family members of the victims sobbed.
Alexandra Youssef, a second-year law student at the University of New Brunswick, is employed as a law student at Gorham Vandebeek, the law firm representing Raymond. Youssef is confident that the correct verdict has been reached in this case.
“The jury had a difficult job, but they did it properly and ultimately came to the responsible verdict in a tragic case,” explained Youssef. “The NCR (not criminally responsible) verdict means that Mr. Raymond will get the treatment he needs while the system and processes in place continue to ensure that there is no danger to the public.”
Raymond will now remain in jail until a hearing is held to determine his supervision and treatment which, by law, must occur within 45 days. While confined, Raymond will be subject to regular reviews of his condition until the New Brunswick Review Board determines he no longer poses a significant threat to public safety.
The verdict of NCR means that Raymond will be confined indefinitely while receiving treatment for his mental illness. Youssef understands concerns that Raymond will be released in the near future but believes they are unfounded.
“There are many misconceptions regarding the law surrounding mental health and NCR,” said Youssef, explaining that an individual who is found NCR is not released until they are no longer deemed a threat. “The paramount consideration is public safety.”