Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

In surprise move, defence won’t call witnesses for accused in Abbotsford school killing

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

The lawyer for the man charged in the fatal 2016 stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary surprised the courtroom Monday by announcing he wouldn’t be calling any evidence in his client’s defence.

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’s trial began in B.C. Supreme Court on Oct. 1, but was paused throughout November and the start of December to allow another psychiatric assessment to be conducted.

The trial – which is being heard only by a justice, with no jury present – was expected to focus on Klein’s mindset on the day of the killings. His lawyer, Martin Peters, had suggested that he would argue Klein was “not criminally responsible” (NCR) for his actions due to mental illness.

Klein, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was previously been found unfit to stand trial on three separate occasions. The BC Review Board ruled in January of this year that he was fit and could stand trial.

The defence was expected to begin its case Monday, including evidence from the psych assessment. It was also previously hinted that Klein would take the stand.

But Peters said in court that he had received a “change of instructions” from his client, and the defence would not be presenting any evidence.

“The defence case is now closed,” Peters said.

Crown lawyer Rob Macgowan said the announcement came as a surprise.

Speaking outside of the courtroom, Peters said he could not discuss why there had been a change in direction and why other witnesses – such as psychiatrists – were not called to testify for the defence. He said those reasons are protected by lawyer-client privilege under the law.

Both sides now come back to the New Westminster courthouse on Monday to begin their closing submissions, which are expected to take two or three days.

Peters is expected to use the NCR defence in his closing arguments.

Macgown, who concluded the Crown’s case on Nov. 1, said in his opening submissions on the first day of the trial 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.

RELATED: Man charged in fatal Abbotsford school stabbing to use ‘not criminally responsible’ defence, trial hears

RELATED: Accused Abbotsford school killer found fit to stand trial

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Meet the 2020 Words on the Water authors

Eight authors for spring literary festival all have different backgrounds

Words on the Water returns for 19th year

March event expected to sell out, says organizer

Campbell River City Council postpones decision on Campbellton ‘entertainment venue’

Current liquor license doesn’t mesh with business plan, council says, wants ‘assurances’ for neighbours

Alcohol believed to be a factor in fiery crash in Campbell River

No one seriously injured, charges are being sought for impaired driving.

SD72 facing a shortfall of more than $1-million

Board will likely be asked to approve a draw on surplus to have balanced budget

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Off-duty Nanaimo Mountie takes down would-be ice cream thief

Suspect attempted to steal Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen location on Sunday

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

Nanaimo man hit with pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Was there a tornado on Vancouver Island Monday?

Suspected phone app glitch gives eerie warning

Work has started on Malahat Skywalk, expected completion in 2021

$15-million project expected to open in spring, 2021

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Most Read