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John hearing in 2016 Descoteau murder extends into the new year

Experts testifying on both sides of the not criminally responsible angle
It’ll now be January and February dates at the Duncan courthouse for the Colin John hearing. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The ongoing hearing to determine whether Colin John might have grounds to be found not criminally responsible in the May 2016 murder of Derek Descoteau in Chemainus is a continual source of frustration for Brenda Smith and her family.

The hearing was supposed to wrap up after two weeks in BC Supreme Court in Duncan at the insistence of Justice Lisa Warren, but got extended again due to witness scheduling issues.

“We are all frustrated,” said Smith, Descoteau’s mother. “It feels like it’s never going to end.”

The dates for the continuation of the hearing are Jan. 9, 2023 (all day), Jan. 10 (2 p.m. start), Feb. 6 (all day), Feb. 7 (2 p.m. start) and Feb. 8 (all day).

John pleaded guilty last November, 2021, to the murder of Descoteau and a downgraded charge of aggravated assault in the stabbing of Janelle Guyatt, Descoteau’s girlfriend. Guyatt survived the attack but has required numerous surgeries over the years to deal with her injuries.

Related story: Accused pleads guilty to murder of Chemainus man Derek Descoteau

During the pre-sentencing report phase, John’s lawyer Scott Sheets eventually made a not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder application that led to the hearing.

Expert testimony has been heard on both sides and John took the stand himself for two days, but the hearing is yet to be concluded.