Accused killer Colin John found unfit for trial

The man accused of killing a Chemainus man more than three years ago has been declared unfit to stand trial.

Colin John suffers from paranoid psychotic disorder which makes it impossible for him to communicate effectively with his defense lawyer, Justice Lisa Warren determined after a hearing into John’s mental state that lasted for several days.

The hearing, initiated by John’s lawyer, Scott Sheets, lasted more than a week and delayed the trial that began in November 2018.

John is charged with second-degree murder into the death of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau who died of stab wounds at a residence on Caswell Street in Chemainus in May of 2016. He is also charged with the attempted murder of then-16-year-old Janelle Guyant, Descoteau’s girlfriend. Guyant suffered series knife wounds but survived the attack.

Justice Warren took almost two hours to read her decision, a verdict that upset members of the Descoteau family and friends of the victim who have been attending court daily since the legal process began in 2016. Several spectators left the gallery in tears as Warren was reading the final paragraphs of her decision.

Warren said she relied heavily on the testimony of expert witness Dr. Stanley Semrau in making her ruling.

Semrau and other psychiatrists described how John was reasonably communicative when engaging in small talk but would shut down when the subject came to the alleged offence.

“His inability to recount the facts … not communicating the facts required to seek and receive effective legal representation, caused by paranoid psychotic disorder” means he is unable to conduct a proper defence, Warren said.

“This is very important, if not crucial to the outcome of this trial.”

John is expected to be transferred from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre to the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Port Coquitlam until a the court determines what steps are necessary.

The Forensic Psychiatric Hospital is a secure facility that treats people who have been deemed unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Just Posted

Memorable occasion

Usual large gathering at the Chemainus Cenotaph

Cougars sustain order on the volleyball court for eight games in three days

Hectic schedule for Chemainus junior girls brings noticeable improvement

Cast members are miracle workers in telling classic tale

Miracle on 34th Street brings the magic of the season to life thanks to some incredible performances

Carbon monoxide poisoning incident brings dangers of the gas to light

Chemainus adult and child go to hospital for treatment

Chemainus Cemetery Service

Rev. Michael Wimmer officiates in ceremony preceding Remembrance Day

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Most Read