Crown challenges accused’s fetal alcohol diagnosis in trial

Jordan Kovic is charged with attempted murder in 2019 snowmobile attack

The attempted murder trial of Jordan Kovic, accused of attacking a man with a snowmobile in 2019, began in Iqaluit on Monday, Aug. 22. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

A Crown lawyer in the trial of a man accused of attempted murder contested the man’s fetal alcohol spectrum diagnosis during cross-examination Wednesday.

Jordan Kovic was 19 when he was charged after a Dec. 27, 2019, incident in Iqaluit where he allegedly ran over another man with his snowmobile.

Kovic has admitted to the attack, but says he did not intend to kill the man. To prove someone is guilty of attempted murder, the Crown needs to prove there was a specific intention to kill.

Monty Nelson, an expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder testified Tuesday that he believes Kovic didn’t intend to kill the man he’s accused of attacking. 

Kovic has been diagnosed with the disorder twice in his life — once in 2012 and again in January 2022, by Nelson.

Nelson had testified Kovic likely could not intend the long-term consequences of his actions, like the injuries he caused to the man he attacked or the possibility of being brought into custody.

Crown lawyer Emma Baasch questioned Nelson on his diagnosis, pointing to other possible diagnoses for Kovic.

She looked at Kovic’s school records as indicators of someone who was struggling academically, though he was doing well in school in his early life.

Kovic’s medical records also show that he was prescribed risperidone, an antipsychotic drug used to treat mood or mental disorders.

Nelson said Kovic also met the criteria for other disorders, such as conduct disorder and an antisocial personality disorder, but said that in diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, that information is excluded from his diagnosis.

“The antisocial features are paramount to the way Jordan operates,” Nelson explained. 

Baasch also noted discrepancies in Kovic’s two diagnoses. She said he scored “exceptionally well” on visual tasks in 2012, but performed poorly when Nelson assessed him earlier this year.

Nelson said fetal-alcohol spectrum disorder tests are interpreted differently between adults and youth, and Kovic was a youth when he was tested in 2012.

The trial will pause until the Crown’s cross examination of Nelson continues on Sept 22.

Kovic is set to testify during the week of Dec. 5.

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