I can't believe he got away with it. This is just stoopid.
'Shania Twain' defence works in drunk driver's favour
Last Updated Tue, 28 Mar 2006 08:47:03 EST
One of the most notorious drunk drivers in the Ottawa area has been found not criminally responsible on his latest impaired driving charges because of a mental disorder that makes him believe female celebrities are controlling his actions.
Matt Brownlee was arrested last October after police spotted a pickup truck speeding along a busy street in downtown Ottawa.
Matt Brownlee believed singer Shania Twain was helping him drive.
The 33-year-old man told psychiatrists that he knew the legal repercussions of his actions, but believed singer Shania Twain was helping him drive.
Brownlee pleaded not guilty to four charges, including impaired operation of a motor vehicle and driving while disqualified.
On Monday, the judge drew on several psychiatric assessments in ruling that Brownlee was not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffers from delusions that celebrities such as Twain are communicating with him telepathically.
Ten years ago, Brownlee was given a seven-year prison sentence and barred from driving for the rest of his life after he killed an Ottawa woman, Linda Lebreton-Holmes, and her 12-year-old son while driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit.
Earlier in March, a psychiatrist told the court that Brownlee suffers from psychosis and mood disorders resulting from a brain injury caused by the 1996 car crash.
Brownlee has been undergoing a series of assessments at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital since last fall.
Another assessment of how much risk he poses to the community could see Brownlee being detained in hospital, released under supervision in the community, or given an absolute discharge.