Evaluation requested for man accused of killing his father
The 22-year-old man accused of killing his father in the city’s first homicide of 2008 was once diagnosed with bipolar disorder, his lawyer said.
Elliot Benge made his first appearance in the second-degree murder of Pierre Benge in Mental Health Court at the downtown courthouse yesterday. His attorney Felix Weekes, along with defence attorney Doug Baum, asked Justice Hugh Fraser for an adjournment until Monday in order to retain a psychiatrist privately from the Royal Ottawa Hospital for an assessment. Weekes said his client previously had a bipolar diagnosis.
Crown attorney Donna Eastwood said she’d intended to call on the court’s in-house psychiatrist, Dr. Brad Booth, for his assessment, but deferred it because defence will be seeking its own assessment.
“A lot of complexities will be sorted out in the next week,” said Baum.
Pierre Benge was found without vital signs at 86 Somero Private on Monday. His son, Elliot, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder.
Two of the accused’s sisters, both dressed in black coats, entered the courtroom prior to their brother’s appearance yesterday. His twin sister tried to offer Benge a glass bottle of juice in the prisoner’s box, but the officer refused.
Benge, a young man of medium height and build, wore a slightly dazed expression but was composed as he entered the prisoner’s box wearing an untucked blue dress shirt. He spoke quietly with Weekes while Baum spoke to the judge.
Before Benge left the prisoner’s box, his twin sister waved to him and his older sister blew a kiss. Benge gave a slight wave back.
Leaving the courtroom, the sisters split up to avoid media. “We want to be left alone,” one woman told photographers. “It’s a difficult time.”
“They want to remain as anonymous as possible,” Weekes explained. “They’ve lost their father and now they’re here for their brother.”
The lawyers said the family had previously lost a sister.
Baum said Benge is “holding up pretty good, considering the circumstances.”
Benge was taken to the Royal Ottawa Hospital yesterday.