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

Qualicum Beach society goes to bat for insect eaters

Two bat houses built to monitor population in Heritage Forest

Parksville reopens portion of wetland

City undertakes review, remediation of liability concerns

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Vehicle knocks out Parksville power pole

Traffic single lane heading southbound

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Friends and family playing huge role in search for Vancouver Island man

Volunteers from the public join forces with SAR crews

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title.

Central Vancouver Island man dies in single-vehicle collision

Pickup truck with three occupants went off the road near Port Alberni

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

B.C. Lions bring back 6-time all-star offensive lineman Jovan Olafioye

He was acquired by the Montreal Alouettes last year.

Whitecaps rally for 2-2 draw with FC Dallas

Vancouver climbed out of a two-nil hole to tie FC Dallas 2-2

B.C. VIEWS: Making sense of climate policy

Flood and fire predictions have poor track record so far

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

Most Read