Colin John’s murder trial has been halted pending a psychiatric assessment of John. (file photo)

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

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read