Accused attempted bomber’s trial on hold
By Sarah Bissonette
June 6, 2012
PARRY SOUND - The case of a former Parry Sound High School teacher charged in the attempted 1999 bombing of a vehicle in Seguin Township remains before the courts.
West Parry Sound Ontario Provincial Police arrested Joseph Arsenault, 45, on December 23, 2009 as he disembarked from a plane from South Korea, where he’d lived for several years until his Canadian passport expired.
On July 18, 1999, the West Parry Sound OPP was called to a Seguin Township home where the ignition of the homeowner’s vehicle was rigged to explode.
Three years later, on May 22, 2002, the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch completed its investigation and issued an arrest warrant for Arsenault. By that time he’d already left the country.
The accused’s three week-trial was set to start May 28, but it was held off with a request that his ability to properly defend himself at trial be determined.
On May 30, a superior court judge in Parry Sound agreed to a physiological assessment to determine whether Arsenault is fit to stand trial at this time.
The case will go before a superior court judge on July 3 to either set a date for the trial to continue or to officially postpone the trial until the accused is found fit to stand trial.
A person in Canada is unfit to stand trial if they can’t take part in their own defense due to a mental disorder, which includes an inability to understand what the possible outcomes could mean to them, or being unable to communicate with their lawyer.
Arsenault has been out of police custody since June 2010.
Arsenault taught math at Parry Sound High School from 1992 to September 1997 before heading to the District School Board of Niagara in December 1998 to March 2000, according to the Ontario College of Teacher’s discipline committee documents.
On August 11, 2009, his teacher’s certificate was reinstated after it was suspended for unrelated matters and he is considered as being in “good standing” by the college, according to its website.
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