Man pleads not guilty and not criminally responsible in murder case

As the trial of 40-year-old Samnang Kong was set to get underway, the court was busy dealing with his plea and COVID restrictions.

After a morning delay, Kong pleaded not guilty to second degree murder and not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

In May of 2019, Kong’s friend, 55-year-old Issara Norindr, was found stabbed to death in a second floor apartment at 165 Connaught Ave. in east London.

After entering the plea, Kong told the court, “Yes, I was suffering from schizophrenia.”

Normally the accused are seated in the body of the courtroom for a trial but Kong was appearing via zoom because of a COVID outbreak where he’s being held at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre.

His lawyer, Jeff Conway says it’s not ideal for a trial to proceed in this manner.

“Especially in something this serious, there’s a lot of interaction and body language that goes on in a trial and it’s critical that everybody be able to communicate with everybody especially a lawyer and their client,” says Conway.

“Everybody involved was making efforts to get him there but there’s still the worry about COVID that could lead to the whole courthouse or courtroom and staff being shutdown and having to adjourn the matter,” Conway added.

A psychiatric assessment has been ordered for Kong.

More should be learned about this case later this week because the Crown and the defence hope to have the accused in the courthouse on Friday after his isolation period is over.

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