Judge finds Nanaimo man not criminally responsible for death

NANAIMO – Aaron Roger Harvey was on trial for second-degree murder of his father in February 2013.

A Nanaimo man charged with second degree murder in the death of his father in February 2013 has been found not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

Aaron Roger Harvey, 27 at the time of the incident, suffers from schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder and was suffering delusions, believing his father Roger Harvey, 69, was an agent of former U.S. president George Bush and poisoning him. He stabbed his father to “prevent being poisoned again.”

In her ruling, Judge Mary Humphries said there was no doubt on all the evidence that Aaron Harvey suffers from a major mental disorder, had been deeply delusional for many years and was suffering delusions when the incident occurred. She accepted that within the context of his delusions, Harvey believed he acted in self-defence and was rendered incapable because of his mental disorder, of knowing his actions were morally wrong.

The matter was referred to the B.C. Review Board for a disposition hearing and Harvey will remain at the forensic psychiatric hospital at Coquitlam. The board will review his illness on an annual basis after its initial decision.

Jackie Gaudet, Crown counsel, said while there is always the possibility Harvey could be released – dependent on his long-term prognosis and risk of being a danger to himself and the community – it wasn’t likely based on his illness.

She said his beliefs were based completely on a delusional belief system that was part-and-parcel of his major mental illness.

“This is a very sad case and Aaron Harvey was a very, very ill man and it’s a tragedy for the father but it certainly is the right decision, in the Crown’s opinion, that he should’ve been found not criminally responsible,” said Gaudet.

Harvey’s family members seemed satisfied with Humphries’ ruling and despite the tragedy, were relieved Aaron Harvey didn’t harm the public. Caroline Harvey Boersma, Roger Harvey’s eldest daughter, said her brother was a ticking time bomb.

“It was just a matter of the situation. I think, for my dad, because of the love that he had for [Aaron] it would’ve been so devastating for him to experience the fact that his child would’ve hurt someone else.

“The guilt for him would’ve been just overwhelming, so I guess that’s why we would say that this is a best-case scenario, unfortunately,” she said.

Aaron Harvey appeared in Nanaimo Supreme Court Friday via video link.

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