January 17th, 2021

Lawyer for man who stabbed girls says psychosis caused memory ‘inconsistencies’


By The Canadian Press on January 13, 2021.

This photo from the RCMP's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team's Twitter feed shows Gabriel Klein taken just hours prior to a deadly attack at Abbotsford Senior Secondary in 2016. Final arguments are scheduled to being today over the criminal responsibility of a man who fatally stabbed a student and wounded another at a high school in Abbotsford, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Twitter-@HomicideTeam

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. – A lawyer for a man convicted of stabbing two high school students in Abbotsford, B.C., says his client didn’t have the capacity to understand what he did was wrong because of a mental disorder.

Gabriel Klein was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in March for the 2016 attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and injured her friend.

The court has heard Klein has schizophrenia and his lawyer Martin Peters is arguing in the B.C. Supreme Court that he should not be held criminally responsible for the crimes.

Peters says in closing arguments that Klein believed he was stabbing a witch and a zombie with maggots coming out of its back, not two girls.

The Crown alleges Klein’s recollection and testimony about what happened has been inconsistent and unreliable, however Peters says that Klein’s mental disorder affects his memory.

Peters says there is general agreement among expert witnesses that schizophrenia and memories arising from psychotic events cause deficits in working memory.

“Inconsistencies, contradictions and imprecision in recollection of psychotic episodes is not unusual and expected,” Peters says.

Klein joined the final arguments via video after the court was adjourned in the morning because he said he was ill.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021.

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