Haliburton man Norman Hart will undergo a “professional assessment” before he is sentenced, after being found guilty of manslaughter in the July 17, 2019 death of his housemate Robert James Brown.
During a brief court appearance Nov. 15, defence lawyer Rob Chartier asked Justice Michelle Fuerst if he could have a one month stay so that his client could be analyzed. It was not revealed to the court what type of assessment was to be carried out.
Fuerst agreed to accommodate the request, setting another hearing for 9 a.m. on Dec. 10, where she expects Chartier to provide a status update regarding the assessment.
“We need to move on [with this],” Fuerst said. “… The file is aging, and it’s to no one’s advantage that that happens.”
Hart was not present at this week’s hearing, which took place virtually over Zoom. It was noted that he would not be expected to appear on Dec. 10.
At a previous hearing, on Sept. 7, Fuerst found Hart guilty of manslaughter after an incident at a rented house at 34 Highland Street. A dispute between Hart and Brown centered around a $500 cheque Hart had received from the City of Kawartha Lakes Housing Corporation.
“Norman Hart and Robert Brown got into an argument over how the money from the cheque would be split. The argument turned physical and Norman Hart, while … under the influence of alcohol and drugs, lost control and beat Robert Brown, causing multiple injuries, including serious head and chest injuries that led to his death,” said Rebecca Griffin, Crown prosecutor.
Following the beating Hart fled the scene, returning several hours later with Brown’s ex-girlfriend and another man. When they arrived, they found Brown lying on the floor in the hallway, “cold to the touch and obviously deceased.” Police were called and Hart was taken into custody.
In September, Hart pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, but guilty to manslaughter. His case will be back in court on Dec. 10.