An artist’s sketch depicts Gabriel Klein in court during his fitness hearing on April 19 at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. (Sketch by Sheila Allan)

Accused found unfit for murder trial over B.C. school stabbing

Gabriel Klein is set to appear before the B.C. Review Board again in mid-January

UPDATED: 9:40 a.m., Sept. 13

The decision to hold off a man’s second-degree murder and aggravated assault trial for at least four more months “isn’t surprising” but leaves the family of one of the victims “on a bit of a hamster wheel,” a family representative says.

Gabriel Klein, accused of killing one student and seriously injuring another in a stabbing at Abbotsford Secondary School, is unfit to stand trial, the B.C. Review Board has found in a disposition this week that offered nothing on the board’s deliberation on the matter.

“That was quite evident. The challenge the family has is they’re almost on a bit of a hamster wheel for the next little while, where this will now be in January … to see if Klein can get healthier. It just means the family has to come back in four months and then maybe three to six months after that and then maybe a year after that. There’s really no closure,” said Dave Teixeira, representative of one victim’s family.

“This is only phase one. All these hearings have nothing to do with guilt or innocence. This is everything to do with just is he ready for trial? … It’s conceivable that he would never get to trial. It’s also conceivable that he would never get to trial in 20 years. So it’s a very, very frustrating process.”

Teixeira noted there was some understanding from the family of the victim that Klein is seriously mentally ill.

“As much as it’s frustrating, it makes sense that someone who’s going to stand trial needs to be able to assist in their defence. There’s really no issue with that,” Teixeira said.

“I think what the family, and certainly myself and others get frustrated [with] is how difficult the process is. … It’s just a strange process. There’s no guide to it; B.C. Review Board’s own website doesn’t make it easy.”

Teixeira also sees some positive out of last week’s hearing, which deliberated on whether or not Klein was malingering, or faking or exaggerating his symptoms.

“They’re not just taking his word for it, they’re not just looking passively by. They’re actually being quite inquisitive. And to me that shows that a system is working.”

ORIGINAL: 8:30 p.m., Sept. 11

The man accused of killing one student and seriously injuring another in a stabbing at an Abbotsford high school is unfit to stand trial, the B.C. Review Board has found.

But Gabriel Klein will return before the board for another hearing on the matter on Jan. 15, 2019, according to Dave Teixeira, spokesperson for the family of one of the victims. The decision has not been publicly released, but Teixeira said it will be released on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing still too psychotic, doctors say

The ruling comes with little surprise — neither Crown nor defence argued that Klein is currently unfit to stand trial. That arose from evidence from two separate doctors, both of whom indicated Klein was not fit.

However, the doctors differed in their diagnoses. Klein’s treating psychiatrist at Colony Farm, where his hearing was held and where Klein is being held, told the B.C. Review Board that Klein was experiencing disorganized thinking. That thought disorder effectively makes it too difficult for Klein to concentrate on proceedings around him, Dr. Marcel Hediger said in last week’s hearing.

RELATED: Man charged in Abbotsford school stabbing found unfit to stand trial

He also diagnosed Klein with schizophrenia. While an independent doctor, Andrew Kolchak, focused more on Klein’s “severe” psychosis — disagreeing that Klein’s elusive mind was to the extent of disorganized thinking — he was more “conservative” in not also diagnosing Klein with schizophrenia.

Teixeira, too, noted some understanding from the family of the victim that Klein is seriously mentally ill.

Where the Crown and defence differed, however, was when the Review Board should reconvene. Crown suggested the matter return in four months — compared with the defence’s and Colony Farm’s suggestion of six months — pointing largely to the question of malingering, or faking one’s symptoms.

RELATED: No decision on Abbotsford school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

Kolchak noted in the hearing last week that there was some chance that Klein could be malingering, and there are tests psychiatrists can run to determine that. But he also noted that Klein’s psychosis was too severe at this time to provide an accurate result for that test.

Hediger told the board that Klein, who had previously refused medications, was now complying and taking those medications. But he said it could take three to six months for Klein’s mental state to stabilize, forming much of the basis for the defence’s suggestion of six months before another hearing.

Following the hearing, Teixeira addressed reporters, saying the family does want to see the matter move forward. But he was cautious about rushing into another hearing, before Klein’s had a chance to stabilize enough to head back to court.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Rossland looks to implement mail ballot voting

City said new procedure could make voting easier and more accessible for residents

Drugs, stolen bike and cheques seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into police custody during the search warrant

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Mountain Pineapple defers application for new cannabis store in Rossland

The application was originally going to be reviewed by city council on May 19

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Most Read