Closing arguments were expected to begin Wednesday morning in the “not criminally responsible” (NCR) hearing for the man convicted of the 2016 stabbing of an Abbotsford teen.
But the proceedings in BC Supreme Court in New Westminster have been delayed until 2 p.m. after Justice Heather Holmes was told that killer Gabriel Klein, who was in the courtroom, was sick.
Holmes asked that Klein be removed and taken back to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, where he is being held.
“My concern is that nobody should be in the courthouse, let alone the courtroom, if they’re feeling ill,” Holmes said.
Klein will now appear via video at the proceedings Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday. Closing arguments were expected to conclude Thursday, but could now carry into Friday.
Klein was convicted in March 2020 of the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer, 13, at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1, 2016 and of the aggravated assault of her 14-year-old friend (who can’t be named due to a publication ban).
The NCR defence was not used during his trial, and his sentencing hearing had been scheduled to take place in September of this year. Instead, families of the two girls were informed a week ahead that Klein had been granted an NCR hearing.
The proceedings – held over nine court dates – began Nov. 9, and presentation of the evidence concluded on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
Klein testified on the first day of the hearing that he stabbed the two girls in the high school rotunda because he thought one was a zombie and the other was a witch.
The courts previously heard that Klein was diagnosed with schizophrenia and delusions. He was at first found unfit to stand trial, but was then found fit in January 2019.
An NCR ruling means that a judge believes an individual did not have the capacity to appreciate his or her actions and/or know right from wrong at the time of their offence.
Individuals who receive such a ruling fall under the mandate of the BC Review Board, which conducts an assessment to determine whether the person should be detained in a hospital, discharged in the community under certain conditions or discharged without conditions.
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