Psychiatric assessment ordered for accused Cornwall arsonist

The front entrance to the Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – A judge has ordered a psychiatric assessment for a Cornwall woman, accused of setting a vehicle and house on fire on St. Felix Street in early March.

Erica Brazeau, 26, was charged with two counts of arson, possession of incendiary material and breach of a court order.

The local fire department had to put out a burning car inside a carport and part of the outside of the home in the 200 block of St. Felix Street around 1:41 a.m. on March 3.

Her lawyer argued today (Thursday) that Brazeau wanted to go for a mental health assessment at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Center while she’s in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Center.

She’s been in custody since June 13 after she was picked up by police at a local bar for a breach of recognizance, accused of failing to remain in her home and for drinking alcohol.

The Crown attorney argued that the assessment was not needed as a doctor’s report was already on file showing that Brazeau was fit to stand trial. The prosecutor added that it was “jumping a step here” as assessments are usually ordered after a plea. No arraignment has taken place.

While Judge Gilles Renaud said he was “concerned about resources” at the mental health facility, he granted the request. The assessment would not preclude other issues from moving forward such as a bail review, Renaud added.

After Renaud granted the assessment, Brazeau said “thank you so much, have a good day,” from the prisoner’s box while she bowed with praying hands.

The case will be heard again in mid-August.

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