Fitness hearing takes place for Michael Nehass

Michael Nehass was in court this week pleading for help. He wants someone to listen to him, someone to believe him and people to stop calling him crazy.

Michael Nehass was in court this week pleading for help.

He wants someone to listen to him, someone to believe him and people to stop calling him crazy.

“I’m making these claims and you’re telling me I’m crazy,” a clearly exasperated Nehass told the court.

The 30-year-old was before a judge twice this week as part of a hearing to decide if he’s fit to stand trial.

Territorial court judge Michael Cozens will make that ruling Friday.

Nehass, who often spoke for himself in court, believes top members of a powerful Freemason society have infiltrated key positions in all parts of the Yukon government.

He insists that these court proceedings are an attempt by that group to keep him quiet about what he knows.

He’s adamant he was forcibly sterilized while in jail. He says that jail officials are implanting nanochip mind-control devices into inmates and that he has been poisoned.

He says that as a young man he witnessed aboriginal women being forced into human trafficking.

Nehass repeatedly argued he couldn’t be ruled delusional because no one has looked into his claims to prove they’re not true.

Nehass was arrested in December 2011 and is facing charges including assault and forcible confinement. He has been charged with additional crimes since arriving at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

Local civil liberties advocates have suggested that Nehass is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being held in segregation for long periods at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre.

It recently came to light that he was brought naked and shackled into a video court appearance last January.

His father has since filed a human rights complaint claiming his son has been held in solitary confinement for 28 months.

The Department of Justice has denied these claims but won’t speak specifically about Nehass’s case, claiming privacy concerns.

They say the longest anyone has been held in segregation at one time is just shy of four months.

“I’m not crazy, my rights are being wronged,” Nehass said before insisting he’s being “locked in a box 24/7” and “just started getting my human rights” after news of his situation was made public.

A 1999 study by the Correctional Service of Canada found that spending 60 days in solitary confinement is “individually destructive, psychologically crippling and socially alienating.”

A representative with the United Nations has suggested that no one be held in segregation for longer than 15 days.

In court Nehass insisted he has been passing psychiatric evaluations since he was young until now.

He says he’s been diagnosed with ADHD. The court also heard he has been diagnosed with a conduct disorder and questioned about possible fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe met with Nehass most recently.

The psychiatrist told the court Nehass is delusional but stopped short of saying whether that means he is unfit to stand trial. That’s up to the judge, he said.

“Even very ill people can put their preoccupations aside,” he said.

For someone to be fit to stand trial, he or she must be able to understand the nature of a trial, the possible consequences and must be able to communicate effectively with his lawyer.

Nehass insists he can do all those things.

Lohrasbe told the court that when Nehass can keep focused, it is quite possible for him to form “situational alliances” with someone like his lawyer.

The doctor agreed Nehass seems to understand what the legal consequences of a court case could be.

But Lohrasbe testified he hasn’t seen any evidence that Nehass sees that this particular case has anything to do with his actions and not a government conspiracy to keep him from telling the public what he knows.

In his closing arguments yesterday, prosecutor Leo Lane said it’s not enough for Nehass to be able to explain the legal process in general terms. He needs to be able to participate in a meaningful way and have a rational understanding of the situation he is in.

If Nehass is found to be unfit his case will be passed over to the Yukon Review Board, which will decide what happens next, how Nehass is treated and when, if ever, he is able to stand trial.

When the judge stepped away from the courtroom for a moment, Nehass turned to the group of people gathered in the gallery to watch the proceedings.

“Nobody is looking into anything I am saying. Nobody,” he said. “I’m trying to reach out to you guys. Please help me… I’m dying, I’m drowning in corruption… I’m a human being, I don’t deserve this.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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