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.

Just Posted

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Alberni university zeroes in on disability and poverty

BY MIKE YOUDS SPECIAL TO THE NEWS The road to poverty can… Continue reading

Celebrate cycling in Port Alberni during Bike to Work and School Week

Numerous ‘celebration stations’ are planned for May 28 to June 2

Ahousaht welcomes massive Surfrider Canada conference to Meares Island near Tofino

“It was the first time we’ve all come together.”

Alberni RCMP kept busy with 170 calls over May long weekend

Detachment answers calls from fatal vehicle crash to man with a gun, trailer thefts

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Most Read