Colin John’s murder trial has been halted pending a psychiatric assessment of John. (file photo)

Murder trial of Chemainus man halted pending psych report

Justice Warren said it was essential to ascertain Colin John’s level of fitness to stand trial.

The murder trial for Colin John, accused of killing a Chemainus man in 2016, came to an abrupt halt on Thursday.

At the request of John’s lawyer, Scott Sheets, Justice Lisa Warren has ordered a psychiatric assessment of John. The trial will resume next Wednesday once the assessment has been done.

Sheets told the court he was concerned about his client after learning about his behaviour while being transported from the jail in Victoria to the Duncan courthouse Thursday morning.

“He may have injured himself this morning,” Sheets said. “He banged his head 10 times against the steel cage in the transport vehicle. He was in a catatonic state on arrival here.”

A sheriff’s deputy brought into the courtroom to add more details said the police vehicle had to pull over en route because John was constantly banging his head.

“When he stopped [banging his head], the vehicle continued on. But when they got here he was crouched over and wouldn’t move,” the deputy said.

“He was like that for six to eight minutes. Eventually we had to move him and help him out of the van. Two deputies had to help him into the cell block.”

Justice Warren said it was essential to ascertain John’s level of fitness to stand trial.

“We have to determine whether he is capable of understanding the nature of proceedings and provide instructions to his counsel,” Warren said.

John is accused of the May 2016 murder of Derek Descoteau who died of stab wounds. He is also facing an attempted murder charge relating to a knife attack on Descoteau’s girlfriend, Janelle Guyatt who suffered serious injuries. Guyatt was hospitalized for more than two weeks and faces another surgical procedure in order to repair damage to an arm.

The trial began Monday in Duncan Supreme Court and five witnesses have taken the stand in the trial that was scheduled to last three weeks. Another nine people are on the witness list.

Witnesses have described a bloody scene at the house on Caswell Street in Chemainus in May 2016.

Next door neighbour Carl Wright was among the first to rush to Descoteau’s assistance, attempting to staunch the bleeding from a gash to the 20-year-old’s neck. While Wright tended to Descoteau and heard the fatally injured young neighbour say Colin had stabbed him, John, shirtless and covered in blood, walked up to them, knelt down and assured Derek that he would be OK.

Descoteau died on the way to hospital.

Neighbours also provided first aid to Guyatt before three ambulances and police arrived.

John was arrested on the scene and has been in custody awaiting trial for the last two and a half years.

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Kari Trott set to shine at Canada Winter Games

Trott is one of two Special Olympics BC figure skaters invited to the national event

BCHL: Bulldogs’ Hawthorne commits to NCAA Wildcats

20-year-old goaltender earns scholarship to play Div. 1 hockey next year

Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Port Alberni bear spraying suspect arrested in Coombs

Nanaimo resident facing 16 criminal charges after “well coordinated” RCMP effort

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Most Read