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

Oak Bay deputy police chief and family cut Guatemala vacation short to return home

Belize border, punctured gas tank part of the adventure

Program makes a connection with isolated Victoria seniors

Phoning Seniors Together program lines up volunteers with seniors at Luther Court

West Shore businesses bring fitness online during COVID-19

At-home workouts offered to help community keep fit

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read