An artist’s sketch depicts Gabriel Klein in court during his fitness hearing on April 19 at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Sketch by Sheila Allan)

Accused in B.C. school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

Decision will put hold on upcoming trial for Gabriel Klein

Accused killer Gabriel Klein has been found unfit to stand trial.

Justice Heather Holmes rendered her decision Friday morning in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

She said that although Klein, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, has moments of mental stability, there are times when his condition worsens, and it’s difficult to predict when this will occur.

The decision follows a two-day hearing, where evidence and lawyers’ submissions were presented to determine whether Klein’s mental health issues would inhibit his ability to follow the proceedings and/or communicate adequately with his lawyer.

The decision means that Klein, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, will remain at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, where he has currently been housed since August 2017.

The next step in the process is that the B.C. Review Board must hold a hearing within 90 days and review the court decision.

If Klein is still found to be “unfit to stand trial,” he remains at the psychiatric hospital, and a hearing must be held at least once every 12 months to see if there have been any changes.

He could return to court for trial in the future, if these periodic assessments of his condition determine that his mental-health issues have improved.

Earlier this week, Dr. Marcel Hediger, a forensic psychiatrist who has been treating Klein at Colony Farm, testified that Klein is schizophrenic, “intensely paranoid,” hears voices on a daily basis, suffers from “disorganized thinking” and experiences hallucinations.

He said Klein’s psychosis has worsened in the last week or two.

Hediger testified that Klein was placed in seclusion last week after he said that voices were telling him to rape and harm another patient.

Klein also believes that he is being monitored by the CIA, including through security cameras in his hospital unit, Hediger said.

Hediger also testified that although Klein has lucid moments and understands the court proceedings, it’s difficult to predict when his condition could flare up and make it difficult for him to stay focused.

His behaviour could also pose a risk to those in the courtroom, Hediger said.

The doctor said Klein is currently on a new medication regimen, but it could take up to six weeks for his body to adapt and for his mental-health issues to stabilize.

Klein is charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1, 2016. He is also charged with the aggravated assault of Reimer’s friend (who cannot be named due to a publication ban), who was 14 at the time of the attack.

Klein was scheduled to go to trial May 7, but the fitness hearing was held after his lawyer drew attention to his client’s worrisome mental state.

Just Posted

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Slippery suspect evades RCMP near Clearwater twice in one week

Anyone with information urged to contact RCMP or Crime Stoppers

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Thousands prepare to leave their homes at a moment’s notice

Northwest B.C. and Cariboo seeing most fire activity in province as crews battle 490 fires

Man Tracker Invitational returns to Clearwater

By Jaime Polmateer The fourth annual Man Tracker Invitational is taking place… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke fills North Thompson Valley – people advised to be mindful of their health

Many areas of the province are currently fighting active wildfires, with evacuation… Continue reading

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Woman missing after car swept away by mudslide near Cache Creek

A search is now underway for Valerie Morris, who has been missing since the afternoon of August 11.

Most Read