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Drunk driver fingers Shania Twain

Telepathic mind control defence

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Here's a top tip if you're ever pulled by the cops while driving your pickup truck down a busy Ottawa street while legless - you can try and avoid criminal charges by claiming that Shania Twain was helping you drive.

That's exactly what Matt Brownlee did - and a judge this week ruled that the 33-year-old "was not criminally responsible for his actions because he suffers from delusions that celebrities such as Twain are communicating with him telepathically".

The beak didn't take Brownlee's word for it, however, as CBC news reports. The judgement was based on "several psychiatric assessments" by experts at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital where he has been undergoing tests since last autumn.

Brownlee had pleaded not guilty to four charges, including "impaired operation of a motor vehicle and driving while disqualified".

The disqualification dates from 1996, when Brownlee was jailed for seven years and banned from driving for life when, while driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, he killed an Ottawa woman and her 12-year-old son.

During the latest court hearing, a psychiatrist testified that Brownlee suffers from "psychosis and mood disorders resulting from a brain injury caused by the 1996 car crash".

Brownlee now faces another assessment at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital, the result of which will determine how much of a risk he poses, and whether he should be "detained in hospital, released under supervision in the community, or given an absolute discharge". ®

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