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A lawyer for a man convicted of stabbing two students in Abbotsford says his client failed to understand what he was doing wrong about a mental disorder.
Gabriel Klein was convicted in March of second degree murder and aggravated assault for the 2016 attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and injured her friend.
The court has heard that Klein has schizophrenia and his attorney Martin Peters is arguing in the New Westminster BC Supreme Court that he should not be criminally responsible for the crimes.
Peters said in his closing arguments on Wednesday that Klein believed he was going to stab a witch and a zombie with maggots, not two girls.
“Klein did not appreciate the nature or quality of his actions. Klein certainly did not know that the consequences of his actions were the fatal damage to Letisha Reimer and the maiming of (her friend),” said Peters.
Klein testified that he followed the instructions of the voices in his head and believed that stinging monsters was “fair”. He told the court that he also failed to understand the moral ramifications, a claim supported by at least one expert review, Peters said.
“Mr. Klein had no control over himself at the time of the crime. He lacked the ability to rationally decide whether his behavior was right or wrong, as others in the community would judge the morality of his actions,” Peters said.
Heather Holmes, Associate Chief Justice, sentenced Klein in March and Peters announced that the sentencing was due to begin in September that Klein wanted to pursue the argument that he was not criminally responsible.
At the hearing, Klein looked on the case for the first time, but during his cross-examination he found it difficult to remember what he said to whom, when, and details of the days leading up to the attack.
He regularly answered questions with “I don’t remember” and contradicted the answers he had given shortly before.
Klein was diagnosed as delusional, among other things, while he was in custody and awaiting trial, Klein testified.
The Krone claims Klein’s memory and testimony of what happened was inconsistent and unreliable.
However, Peters said that Klein’s mental disorder affects his memory.
Experts generally agree that schizophrenia and memories due to psychotic events cause deficits in working memory, Peters said.
“Inconsistencies, contradictions, and inaccuracies in remembering psychotic episodes are not uncommon and are expected.”
Peters also admitted that Klein offered different reports to experts who rated him. However, he argued that among these inconsistencies there were also broad similarities.
For example, Klein repeatedly said that he went to the library to contact his mother, that he saw some form of monster, and that he heard voices advising him to kill just before the knife was stabbed. The similarities suggest that Klein shouldn’t be dismissed as unreliable, Peters said.