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Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor to represent himself, wants trial ‘as soon as possible’

A memorial for Red Deer's Dr. Walter Reynolds. Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Lauren Pullen / Global News

A man accused of killing a family doctor at a medical clinic in central Alberta last summer has been committed to stand trial.

Deng Mabiour, 54, was charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Dr. Walter Reynolds at the Village Mall Walk-In Clinic in Red Deer in August.

Read more: Man arrested after doctor killed in attack at Red Deer clinic​

Mabiour has had a number of unusual interactions with the court since his arrest and a judge ordered an initial five-day psychiatric examination to determine if the accused understood the charges against him. The judge extended it another month because Mabiour was refusing to co-operate with medical staff.

Last month, a psychiatrist found Mabiour fit to stand trial, despite his behaviour in court. He wasn’t given an opportunity to address the court Friday, but appeared via video from Calgary where he complained he needed a chair because he had leg pain.

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Read more: Man accused of murdering Red Deer doctor deemed fit to stand trial

Mabiour has indicated on a number of occasions that he didn’t want a lawyer, didn’t trust the Canadian justice system and would represent himself at trial.

Click to play video: 'Doctor killed in attack at Red Deer, Alta., walk-in clinic' Doctor killed in attack at Red Deer, Alta., walk-in clinic
Doctor killed in attack at Red Deer, Alta., walk-in clinic – Aug 11, 2020

That position didn’t change Friday at his appearance before Judge Gordon Yake, who ordered the duty counsel to speak to Mabiour.

“I tried to persuade him (about) the benefits of having a lawyer and I could not convince him there is any merit in obtaining a lawyer. One of the things he expressed… is that he didn’t think a lawyer would follow his instructions,” defence lawyer Murray Shack told the judge.

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The prosecution has decided not to seek a preliminary hearing in the case and instead go directly to trial.

Shack said Mabiour didn’t want a preliminary hearing either.

“He advised me that his interest is in going to a trial as soon as possible,” said the defence lawyer.

Read more: Red Deer doctor killed in clinic remembered as kind, funny, adored by patients

Prosecutor Bina Border expressed concern that Mabiour would be self-represented at trial and that a section of the Criminal Code would allow court to appoint a lawyer to a self-represented individual.

The judge said that’s not the case.

“That part of the Criminal Code, that I reviewed carefully, only allows me to appoint counsel in the event that the fitness issue remains before the court. I don’t have jurisdiction at this point to appoint counsel,” said Yake.

“I am compelled to commit Mr. Mabiour to stand trial on the charges … and to send him for arraignment to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Red Deer.”

Mabiour’s trial date is to be scheduled on Dec. 7.

Click to play video: 'Former colleagues remember doctor killed in Red Deer attack' Former colleagues remember doctor killed in Red Deer attack
Former colleagues remember doctor killed in Red Deer attack – Aug 11, 2020

Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two, was attacked with a weapon while he was working at the clinic on Aug. 10. He died later in hospital.

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One witness told media that she was in the waiting room when she heard cries for help and saw a man with a hammer and a machete.

RCMP have said the crime was not random and the two men knew each other through the clinic, although they have not said if Mabiour was a patient of Reynolds.

Mabiour is also charged with assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer.

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