Colin John’s murder trial has been halted pending a psychiatric assessment of John. (file photo)

Murder trial of Chemainus man halted pending psych report

Justice Warren said it was essential to ascertain Colin John’s level of fitness to stand trial.

The murder trial for Colin John, accused of killing a Chemainus man in 2016, came to an abrupt halt on Thursday.

At the request of John’s lawyer, Scott Sheets, Justice Lisa Warren has ordered a psychiatric assessment of John. The trial will resume next Wednesday once the assessment has been done.

Sheets told the court he was concerned about his client after learning about his behaviour while being transported from the jail in Victoria to the Duncan courthouse Thursday morning.

“He may have injured himself this morning,” Sheets said. “He banged his head 10 times against the steel cage in the transport vehicle. He was in a catatonic state on arrival here.”

A sheriff’s deputy brought into the courtroom to add more details said the police vehicle had to pull over en route because John was constantly banging his head.

“When he stopped [banging his head], the vehicle continued on. But when they got here he was crouched over and wouldn’t move,” the deputy said.

“He was like that for six to eight minutes. Eventually we had to move him and help him out of the van. Two deputies had to help him into the cell block.”

Justice Warren said it was essential to ascertain John’s level of fitness to stand trial.

“We have to determine whether he is capable of understanding the nature of proceedings and provide instructions to his counsel,” Warren said.

John is accused of the May 2016 murder of Derek Descoteau who died of stab wounds. He is also facing an attempted murder charge relating to a knife attack on Descoteau’s girlfriend, Janelle Guyatt who suffered serious injuries. Guyatt was hospitalized for more than two weeks and faces another surgical procedure in order to repair damage to an arm.

The trial began Monday in Duncan Supreme Court and five witnesses have taken the stand in the trial that was scheduled to last three weeks. Another nine people are on the witness list.

Witnesses have described a bloody scene at the house on Caswell Street in Chemainus in May 2016.

Next door neighbour Carl Wright was among the first to rush to Descoteau’s assistance, attempting to staunch the bleeding from a gash to the 20-year-old’s neck. While Wright tended to Descoteau and heard the fatally injured young neighbour say Colin had stabbed him, John, shirtless and covered in blood, walked up to them, knelt down and assured Derek that he would be OK.

Descoteau died on the way to hospital.

Neighbours also provided first aid to Guyatt before three ambulances and police arrived.

John was arrested on the scene and has been in custody awaiting trial for the last two and a half years.

Just Posted

Report of gunshots leads to discovery of man’s body in Campbell River

Police conduct investigation in the south end of Campbell River

Community garden offers learning experience for all

Cedar Elementary converts former playground site into community garden

Wind warning issued for Campbell River

Wind could reach speeds of up to 70km/h: Environment Canada

‘World-class’ dinner on offer at NIC’s The Bistro

Meal prepared by Culinary Team BC as tune-up before 2020 World Culinary Olympics competition

RCMP Emergency Response Team called in to arrest man at Black Creek General Store

42-year-old Campbell River man facing numerous charges

VIDEO: U.S. officials refute British couple’s ‘accidental’ border-crossing claim

Authorities say couple was arrested after illegal entry from B.C., with $16,000 and marijuana

Two RCMP vehicles vandalized in Duncan over long weekend

Local Mounties asking for help in finding culprits

Fire response at Trans Mountain Burnaby tank farm could take six hours: audit

Site doesn’t have mutual aid response agreement with Burnaby fire department

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Suspect hits woman with pipe, jumps into waiting truck in downtown Nanaimo

Police say victim believes ‘vicious assault’ was an attempted purse-snatching

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

Most Read