Closing statements to begin in trial of man charged with Abbotsford school stabbing

Closing statements to begin in trial of man charged with Abbotsford school stabbing

Defence lawyer expected to argue that Gabriel Klein was ‘not criminally responsible’

Lawyers in the trial of the man accused of the 2016 fatal stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary begin closing submissions today (Monday) in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

Closing statements are expected to last two or three days. The justice could decide to render her verdict on the day that submissions end or set aside a later date to do that.

Gabriel Klein, 24, is charged with the second-degree murder of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer on Nov. 1, 2016, and the aggravated assault of a 14-year-old girl (whose name is protected by a publication ban).

Klein was expected to take the stand last Monday, but in a surprise move, lawyer Martin Peters told the court that he would be calling no evidence in his client’s defence.

He could not discuss the reasons for that decision, due to attorney-client privilege.

This meant that neither Klein nor any other witnesses took the stand for the defence, and the trial then moved to the next stage – closing submissions.

The Crown goes first, and then the defence responds.

The defence is expected to argue that Klein is not criminally responsible (NCR) for the crimes due to a mental disorder.

Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan had said in his opening submissions on the first day of the trial on Oct. 1 that neither side is disputing that Klein stabbed the two girls.

The issue to be determined is whether Klein had the capacity to appreciate his actions and know right from wrong at the time of the offence.

Klein, who was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia, was found unfit to stand trial on three separate occasions before the BC Review Board ruled in January of this year that he was then fit.

An individual who receives an NCR ruling falls under the mandate of the BC Review Board, which conducts an assessment to determine whether he should be detained in a hospital, discharged in the community under certain conditions, or discharged without conditions.

Watch for more later today.

READ MORE: No defence witnesses in trial of man charged in killing of Abbotsford student

READ MORE: Man agitated in hospital ER two days before Abbotsford student fatally stabbed, court hears

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Vikki Hopes | Reporter

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