Colin John has been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Derek Descoteau in 2016. (File photo)

Hearing into mental state of accused in murder case continues in Duncan

John charged with second-degree murder in death of Derek Descoteau

The hearing to determine the mental fitness of Colin John in his second-degree murder trial went into a second day at the Duncan courthouse on Aug. 8.

Both the prosecution and defence attorneys in the case spent the first day of the hearing asking questions of a psychiatrist who interviewed John about the case and his state of mind.

John is charged with the May 2016 murder of 20-year-old Derek Descoteau and attempted murder in connection with an attack on then-16-year-old Janelle Guyatt, Descoteau’s girlfriend, at a residence in Chemainus.

Stabbed several times, Descoteau succumbed to his injuries en route to hospital.

Guyatt survived the attack, but suffered knife wounds.

The trial began in November 2018, and 14 witnesses were called to testify over several weeks.

The prosecution wrapped up its case in early December, but defence lawyer Scott Sheets was given permission to seek a psychiatric assessment of his client prior to opening his defence of John.

It’s unknown how long it will take the fitness hearing to wrap up and when, or if, the trial will continue.

Questions around John’s mental state were brought up earlier in the trial.

Justice Lisa Warren, who is presiding over the trial, which has no jury, halted the trial for several days in November when she ordered that John undergo a psychiatric assessment.

Warren called for the assessment after John began banging his head against the steel cage in the transport vehicle on Nov. 22 and was in a catatonic state when he arrived at the courthouse.

After the assessment was completed, John was deemed fit to continue the trial, and the prosecution’s case resumed several days later.

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