A former student was stoned on magic mushrooms and nude when he broke into the home of Janet Hamnett and beat her terribly with a broom handle.
Matthew Brown was acquitted when a judge ruled he was not in control of his actions due to experiencing delirium after breaking into the professor’s house. Regarding Brown’s acquittal on charges of break-and-enter and assault with a weapon, the case is probably the only one in court history concerning a successful defense of severe intoxication while on magic mushrooms, noted prosecutor Matthew Block, who did significant research before the trial.
Brown was a student at MRU (Mount Royal University) and had captained its hockey team for multiple years, while the victim is a PR professor there. Brown shed tears as Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Michele Hollins read her determination out loud in the courtroom Wednesday morning. Sean Fagan, defense lawyer, explained this case and his client was distinctive. “It stood out in the fact that Matthew Brown is such a kind, non-violent man of integrity and character and for him to be charged with these offenses, which were so uncharacteristic for him, he was a pleasure to defend.”
Brown reaffirmed an apology to his victims outside the courtroom. “When I issued that apology during the trial, it came from my heart, and I meant it,” he expressed. Hamnett’s family, however, wasn’t feeling the outcome. “We didn’t want him to be severely punished, but we did want accountability,” Hamnett’s daughter, Lara Unsworth, spoke. “We wanted a lesson shared with society that it’s not OK to get that out of control and to hurt people. The person he is and how badly he feels has nothing to do with our disappointment; it’s the actions he took and that he’s not being held accountable for that, and I think they’re two separate things.”
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