A B.C. Supreme Court justice has agreed with both Crown and defence lawyers that Abbotsford cop killer Oscar Arfmann should not have a hearing to determine his mental fitness at the time of the killing.
Justice Carol Ross ruled on Thursday that she would not be ordering such a hearing, meaning that Arfmann’s automatic sentence – life with no chance of parole for 25 years – will stand.
Ross convicted Arfmann, 67, on Oct. 10 of the first-degree murder of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson, but Arfmann’s defence had asked for a hearing to see whether he was “not criminally responsible” (NCR) due to a mental illness.
That hearing had been scheduled for Feb. 3 to 28, but in a surprise move on Jan. 13, defence lawyer Martin Peters declared there would be no need for such a proceeding, and Crown counsel agreed.
But the courts have the jurisdiction, in certain cases, to order that an NCR hearing be held regardless of the lawyers’ opinions.
Ross said, given all the previous witness testimony, the only new evidence could be that presented by Arfmann, and he has refused to testify.
She said he has also refused to acknowledge, during psychiatric assessments, that he killed Davidson on Nov. 6, 2017 and has refused to discuss the events of that day.
One psychiatrist said that although Arfmann was likely suffering from psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia at the time of the killing, he was “capable of appreciating the nature and quality of his actions at the time” of the offence, the judge’s ruling states.
In order to obtain an NCR ruling, a judge would have to believe that Arfmann did not have the capacity to appreciate his actions and know right from wrong at the time of the offence.
The final step in the proceedings takes place on Monday, when victim-impact statements are slated to be presented in court and other procedural matters will be dealt with.
Davidson was killed in the parking lot of a strip mall on Mt. Lehman Road when he was the first to arrive on scene after Arfmann fired shots two Fraser Valley Auto Mall employees who confronted him about a vehicle he had stolen from there two days prior.
Davidson was shot twice from behind, including once when he was face-down on the ground.
Arfmann was arrested not far from the scene after police chased him, crashed into the vehicle he was driving and shot at him.