Another hearing scheduled for man accused of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein appears Tuesday before BC Review Board to see if he’s still unfit to stand trial

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

Another hearing is scheduled to take place this morning (Tuesday) to determine whether the man accused of fatally stabbing an Abbotsford Senior Secondary student in 2016 is still unfit to stand trial.

Gabriel Klein is slated to appear before the BC Review Board at the Colony Farm Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam starting at 9 a.m.

Klein, 21, was charged with the second-degree murder of Letisha Reimer, 13, and the aggravated assault of a 14-year-old girl (whose name is protected by a publication ban) on Nov. 1, 2016.

He was first declared unfit to stand trial in April 2018 by a B.C. Supreme Court justice, who heard evidence that Klein had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was “intensely paranoid,” heard voices on a daily basis, suffered from “disorganized thinking” and was experiencing hallucinations.

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

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

The B.C. Review Board was then required to hold a hearing within 90 days to review the court decision.

That hearing was held in July 2018, at which time the board said it couldn’t make a decision and adjourned the matter to get a second opinion on Klein’s mental state.

The board again reviewed the matter in September, at which time it heard that Klein was continuing to hear voices and was having severe hallucinations.

In a decision a few days later, the BC Review Board determined Klein was still unfit to stand trial, and they scheduled the next hearing to take place today (Jan. 15).

If Klein is still found to be unfit to stand trial, he remains at the psychiatric hospital, and a hearing must be held at least once every two years to see if there have been any changes.

He could return for trial in the future, if these periodic assessments determine that his mental-health issues have improved.

It’s also possible that, at some point, he could be found permanently unfit, in which case the charges would be stayed.

At one point, the BC Review Board banned the publication of Letisha Reimer’s name, but that decision was reversed in December following an application by The Abbotsford News.

More to come after today’s hearing …

RELATED: Publication ban lifted on Letisha Reimer’s name

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