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

Judge to decide Friday if fatal B.C. school stabbing suspect is fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein could have trial of Abbotsford case delayed because of mental health issues

The judge in the hearing to determine whether accused killer Gabriel Klein is fit to stand trial will give her decision on Friday morning.

The ruling is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m. in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

The decision will follow proceedings that took place yesterday (Wednesday) and today.

Dr. Marcel Hediger was the only person to testify. His evidence yesterday in court included that Klein is schizophrenic, “intensely paranoid,” hears voices on a daily basis, suffers from “disorganized thinking” and experiences hallucinations.

He said he believes that Klein will have difficulty in “sustaining his ability to closely follow trial proceedings” throughout the four to eight weeks that the trial is expected to take.

Hediger also testified that Klein is currently undergoing a new medication regimen and it could take some time for his body to adapt and stabilize.

In today’s proceedings, lawyers for both sides gave their submissions.

Defence lawyer Martin Peters said his “salient concerns” are whether Klein is able to “conduct a defence” and whether he is able to communicate with his lawyers.

He also is concerned that Klein will be unable to follow the proceedings for an extended time.

Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan said the question facing the judge is whether it is “more likely than not that there will be times during the trial that Mr. Klein will meet the criteria for unfitness.”

The judge’s options include declaring Klein either fit or unfit to stand trial, or she could decide to adjourn the fitness hearing to a later date. This would allow more time for Klein to adapt to his new medication treatment and have further assessments to determine his suitability to stand trial at that time.

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

The International Snow Science Workshop goes virtual

The livestreamed event will include speaker sessions, poster presentations, and panel discussions

Twlefth annual Columbia Basin Culture Tour showcases local artists

Artists from throughout the Elk Valley will be participating in the event August 8 and 9

Elk River Alliance encourages volunteers to ‘bring their own bubble’ and help clear invasive species from Elk Valley

Invasive species haven’t taken a break due to the pandemic, and the Elk River Alliance hasn’t either.

ICBC stats show Fernie, Crowsnest Highway the most likely locations for collisions in Elk Valley

Drivers most often have collisions in Fernie and along the Crowsnest Hwy. according to ICBC stats

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

B.C. group renews call for protection of newly discovered glass sponge reefs

DFO says public consultation will play heavy role in future protection measures

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Most Read