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

“Huge disappointment” as BCVT learns Northern Sea Wolf will not sail this summer

The Nimpkish is arrriving near-empty as frustrated travelers can’t get to Bella Bella for transfer

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Bella Coola enjoys 33rd Annual Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo

Sunny skies on Monday added a welcome touch to an otherwise damp weekend

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

Open water swimming from B.C. to Washington in 24 hours

The swim will take a full day, meaning Susan Simmons will be swimming in the black of night

Cigarette packs with graphic images, blunt warnings are effective: focus groups

Warnings considered effective flag ailments smoking can cause, like colorectal and stomach cancers

Canada’s title hopes quashed at Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco

On the men’s side, Canada was eliminated in the round of 16 as they were shut out by Argentina 28-0

‘We are doing the right thing:’ Protesters dig in at anti-pipeline camp

B.C. Supreme Court ruled in March that both the camp and a nearby watch house could remain in place

Astronaut drops in on Kraftwerk gig, plays duet from space

Alexander Gerst becomes an astronaut musician with live performance from International Space Station

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

UPDATED: Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

UPDATED: The Dog Creek wildfire has grown substantially over the past two… Continue reading

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

Most Read