AChilliwack man's guilty plea to an aggravated assault charge was struck from the record Friday after he told the court his actions may have been involuntary.
Matthew David Alderman was charged with attempted murder earlier this year in connection with the assault of his roommate in a First Avenue home in January.
In July he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault. He was in court Friday for sentencing, but before the issue could proceed, Crown counsel Rebecca Beeny expressed concern that Alderman was denying the essential elements of the crime to which he had pleaded guilty.
In the Criminal Code, aggravated assault is defined as "wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the complainant."
Beeny said statements by Alderman in a pre-sentence report and a psychological report suggested he was denying that he had endangered the life of his alleged victim, as alleged by the Crown.
To resolve the issue, Judge Russell MacKay asked Alderman whether he had wounded, maimed, disfigured or endangered the life of his victim.
Alderman replied: "I believe that it is possible of the wounding element, maybe if involuntary acts would still make me guilty, then yes."
That response caused MacKay to strike Alderman's guilty plea and order a trial on both the aggravated assault and attempted murder charges.
"There appears to be a live issue not only whether any of these four modes of commission characterized this event, but also what exactly his mental state was," MacKay said. "He has indicated by his answer that his plea should be considered not guilty."
The reversal caused Alderman's lawyer, David Silverman, to ask to withdraw as council. He said he had received contrary instructions from his client and was "not satisfied that advice will be heeded."
Silverman was Alderman's second lawyer.
Alderman was given three weeks to find new council before his next court appearance.
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