Landon Webb’s parents give up guardianship as N.S. suspends Incompetent Persons Act
The Nova Scotia government suspended the Incompetent Persons Act today as the parents of Landon Webb gave up guardianship of their 25-year-old son.
Webb had been fighting to overturn his “mentally incompetent” status under the act, saying it infringes on his rights and freedoms. The act allows a parent or guardian to prove that a person has a “mental infirmity” that renders the individual unable to manage his or her own affairs.
The government told the Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Tuesday that the act violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and suspended it for a year until the province redrafts the laws. The court accepted that decision.
“Let’s not get into an argument of how he gets free,” Justice Jamie Campbell then told the court. Campbell said not to “bother with the lawyer stuff,” and to just tell Webb that he is free.
Webb is also now seeking $25,000 in compensation from the province, citing his treatment under the act.
Webb was in the Halifax court to argue the act limited his rights as a person with intellectual disabilities. His parents, Brenda and Darrell Webb, did not attend the hearing.
The judge questioned Susanne Litke, Landon Webb’s lawyer, and the province on if they believed the entire act was invalid, or just sections of it.
Jeanne Desveaux, lawyer for the parents, said the case was tried in the media. The last thing they wanted was their son in custody, their lawyer said.
Landon Webb’s lawyer argued he was held against his will and subjected to random searches, and could be arrested at any time, so should be compensated.
The judge interjected to suggest the parents were doing their best — Webb’s lawyer said the problem was the tools they used.
The judge also discussed the possibility of Webb’s story opening the “flood gates” to other suits.
His parents had argued he functions at the level of a 10- or 12-year-old, but Webb disagreed, and wants to be free to live a normal life.
His case attracted attention last October after he left a rehabilitation centre for several weeks, was found safe in Edmonton and returned to Nova Scotia, where he told local media that he is not incompetent.
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