December 4, 2018 7:07 pm
Updated: December 5, 2018 7:49 pm

Drug use may help explain Salmon Arm convenience store arson

Watch Above: A Salmon Arm convenience store has been shut down for months since a bizarre arson last summer, and now we are learning drugs may have played a role in the blaze.

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A psychiatric assessment has been completed on a Shuswap man accused of arson.

A Salmon Arm courtroom heard Tuesday that the doctor’s opinion is that Kenneth Laforge was suffering from a psychiatric psychosis caused by crystal meth.

The Shuswap man in his late thirties is facing three charges in connection to an August fire where a motorist allegedly drove a vehicle into the Salmon Arm 7-Eleven, put gas on the vehicle and the store and lit a fire.

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READ MORE: Shuswap man charged with arson after convenience store fire

Laforge is accused of mischief, arson in relation to inhabited property and arson damaging property.

Crown counsel said the result of the psychiatric assessment was not enough for the prosecution to simply consent to Laforge being deemed not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder.

Now Laforge’s lawyer is deciding whether that’s an argument he will make.

READ MORE: Frustration mounting over crime wave in North Okanagan town

An arraignment hearing is scheduled for December 18 and a bail hearing is set for the new year. In the meantime, Laforge remains in custody.

Laforge had support in the courtroom, including family. One woman described him as incredibly kind and said the accusations were out of character for Laforge.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Man arrested for driving into 7-Eleven, pouring gas, starting fire

Meanwhile, more than three months after the fire, the burnt 7-Eleven has yet to reopen and is boarded up.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, police said the accused had no personal connection to the store that police knew of.

No one was hurt in the fire.

Watch Below: Witness video of the fire at 7-Eleven in Salmon Arm.

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