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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino and Ucluelet distilleries step up with hand sanitizer

Mass supply delivered to emergency operation centres in Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and Port Alberni.

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Affordable housing project advances in Tofino

Proposal includes 72 units and three duplex townhouses with secondary suites.

Tsunami waves, earthquakes and COVID-19: What if the worst ‘worst’ case scenario hits the Coast?

“All the basic principles still apply here, in terms of community response.”

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read