Forensic psychiatrist determines man who vandalized Saskatoon churches isn’t mentally fit to stand trial

A judge is determining whether Amir Bozorgmehr is fit to stand for trial after being charged with vandalism after homophobic messages were spray painted over churches in May. Slavo Kutas / Global News

A forensic psychiatrist says he doesn’t think a man charged with vandalizing churches with homophobic remarks is mentally fit to be tried for his actions.

On Tuesday Amir Bozorgmehr was back in court for a hearing on whether he’s able to move forward with criminal proceedings.

The University of Saskatchewan’s Dr. Mansfield Mela met with Bozorgmehr twice in June for a total of five hours to determine if he met the threshold to stand trial.

Read more: Crown says ‘mental health concerns present’ in Saskatoon church graffiti case

From those meetings, Mela determined that Bozorgmehr displayed “a number of disparities between his abilities in order to stand trial.”

Mela diagnosed him with four different mental disabilities — delusional disorder, grandiose delusions, delusional disorder, and hallucinogen-infused disorder.

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When questioned about his report and meetings with Bozorghmehr, Mela said that the accused feels he was appointed by God and that he sees two different courts, the court of law and a court of divinity.

Mela added there is a threshold that needs to be met for people charged with crimes to determine whether they can be declared fit to stand trial.

That includes taking a close look at the condition of the individual, whether they understand court processes and how the system works, and whether they understand the consequences of the charges.

Read more: Man arrested again for allegedly spray painting more Saskatoon churches, police HQ

Mela said Bozorgmehr exhibited behaviour that questions whether he understands the consequences of his actions.

He noted Bozorhmehr felt that what he was doing was altruistic and that he was warning his neighbours about what he perceived as a threat.

Mela also said Bozorgmehr felt he would be found not guilty in this case because he was on a mission from God.

The doctor also noted Bozorgmehr’s brother sent a letter that says the man facing the charges is not the brother he remembers.

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Meta said the letter included things in Bozorgmehr’s personal life that had changed, including his wife leaving Saskatoon for Toronto and him dropping out of his PhD program.

He added Bozorgmehr used to use LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms, but has been sober for several years.

Read more: 36-year-old man charged after homophobic graffiti at Saskatoon churches, school

A Legal Aid lawyer who was appointed to represent Bozorgmehr for this hearing said he doesn’t believe he will be arrested or deported.

Bozorgmehr said earlier in the court process that his home country is Iran, but he’s been living in Saskatoon since 2012.

The lawyer said Bozorgmehr wants to stand trial to avoid spending time in a mental institute.

Bozorgmehr was arrested in May after several churches were vandalized with spray-painted homophobic messages.

After being released on several conditions, he was arrested again after officers caught him throwing rocks at Saskatoon Police Service headquarters.

At that time, he declined to have a lawyer, noting that Jesus or Allah is the ultimate lawyer.

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Earlier this year, he submitted a 550-page manifesto to the court — a document he wrote over four years that cites a doomsday scenario.

He mentioned the actions were a warning regarding that scenario.

On Tuesday, he submitted another 45-page document and noted another 20 pages would be sent through his legal representative.

The judge has reserved her decision on Bozorgmehr’s mental fitness until Nov. 30.

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