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Posts Tagged "high"

8Oct

Witnesses say man accused in high school stabbing wanted to go home, call mother

by admin

Six witnesses who have now testified at the trial of a man accused of fatally stabbing a student at an Abbotsford high school in 2016 all told the court Gabriel Klein said he wanted to go home to Alberta, and talk to his family, in the days leading up to the attack.

Klein is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer, and aggravated assault in connection with the stabbing of another student at Abbotsford Senior Secondary who survived. He has pleaded not guilty, and the Crown has said while it’s not being disputed that he was the attacker, Klein intends to raise the defence of not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.

Kylee Evanuk, who was part of the security team at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on Oct. 30, 2016, testified she saw what she described as a “peculiar sight”: a man laying face-down in the waiting room on top of a large green knapsack.

“He looked like he was in some kind of pain,” Evanuk said. She told the court he eventually told her he was really sick, he needed to contact his mother, and he wanted to go back to Alberta. Evanuk testified the man she later heard being referred to as “Gabriel” was clutching his abdominal area and “scrunching” his eyes closed. She told the court the man said: “I just need to get help, I just need to get better.”

Evanuk testified she let him try to call his mother on her phone, but there was no answer. She also told the court she went to talk to hospital staff about the man, and says she was told he would be fine and that he wasn’t suicidal. Evanuk testified she later recognized the same man on Nov. 1, the day of the stabbings, being brought into the hospital in cloth restraints on a stretcher surrounded by police.

A hospital social worker, Faye Reglin, testified she was asked to find a shelter for a patient named Gabriel Klein on Oct. 30, 2016. She told the court she was called by an emergency room doctor who had assessed Klein for scratches to his arms and hands from handling chickens. When asked by Klein’s lawyer if she saw his hands and arms, Reglin said no. She testified she was also unaware Klein had been complaining of swelling in his spine.

Reglin told the court Klein appeared calm, not agitated, and made good eye contact. She first testified he was sitting upright in the exam room, but then clarified under cross examination it was more accurate to say the hospital bed was in an upright position beneath him.

Reglin also testified Klein told her he wanted to go back to Edmonton, and added his money and ID had been stolen. Reglin said she contacted the Lookout shelter and got him a taxi. Reglin testified she later identified Klein as the man who was brought into the hospital on Nov. 1, at the request of a police officer.

Under cross examination, Klein’s lawyer Martin Peters asked Reglin if she was concerned Klein was released from hospital and two days later the stabbings occurred. She eventually responded: “Based on my assessment that I completed of Mr. Klein, I did not have any concerns from my perspective.”

The court also heard from three workers at the Lookout shelter, who testified they dealt with Klein on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. All three told the court Klein said he wanted a bus ticket to go home, and wanted to contact his family.

Andrea Desjarlais testified she had spoken to his mother and she had asked he only contact her by email, not by phone.

Another shelter worker, Hilary Cave, testified she gave Klein directions to the public library attached to the high school, so he could use a computer there to email his family.

Desjarlais testified on Nov. 1, Klein became “verbally aggressive,” questioning why she wouldn’t put a call through to his mother and wanting a bus ticket, which she told the court would have taken a couple of days to get. She testified he left her office and she heard a big bang and an echo, and said it sounded like he hit the locker outside. She then told the court staff heard banging coming from the washroom and it sounded like the door was being hit from inside.

Cave testified after hearing a loud noise she opened the bathroom door after getting no response, and saw Klein staring into the mirror. She told the court he didn’t answer her.

The workers testified Klein cleared his belongings out of his locker and left.

Under cross examination, Desjarlais testified she was concerned Klein was experiencing psychosis. When asked by Klein’s lawyer, Cave testified she doesn’t remember whether any mental health services were made available to Klein during his time at the shelter.

Earlier this year, the BC Review Board found Klein fit to stand trial. Last year, the board heard he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had been hearing voices.

In January, the accused’s lawyer reported his mental state had improved significantly, and there was a change in his medication.

The trial continues Wednesday.

 

 

7Oct

Murder trial begins for man accused of stabbing Abbotsford teen at high school | CBC News

by admin

The screams of a 13-year-old girl echoed through a New Westminster courtroom Monday as the second-degree murder trial began for the man who stabbed her at an Abbotsford high school in 2016.

There is no doubt that Gabriel Brandon Klein is the man who wielded the knife that ended Letisha Reimer’s life.

But Crown prosecutor Robert Macgowan told Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes that Klein — who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia — will argue he should be found not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder.

Klein, who looks considerably heavier than in a photograph of him released by police shortly after the attack, stood in the prisoner’s dock as the second-degree murder charge was read into the record along with an aggravated assault charge involving a second student. 

He blurted out the words “not guilty” both times.

The 23-year-old wore green pre-trial sweats and heavy framed glasses and looked down as Holmes asked to see the video of the stabbing twice.

The day ended in a lockdown

The six-second video, filmed by a student on Snapchat, takes the camera to the edge of a balcony looking down into the Abbotsford Senior Secondary School rotunda.

Klein can be seen making a stabbing motion. He stands up and steps back, throwing the knife away.

A memorial outside Abbotsford Senior Secondary School in 2016 in the days after 13-year-old Letisha Reimer was killed. The man accused of her murder is on trial in B.C. Supreme Court. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

It was the first video shown in the trial, which is happening without a jury.

“Tuesday, Nov.1, 2016 was a school day at Abbotsford Senior Secondary that began much like any other,” Macgowan told the judge in his opening statement.

“The day ended with the school in a lockdown and two female students being rushed to hospital with serious stab wounds. Tragically, one of them, 13-year-old Letisha Reimer did not survive.”

The identity of the other victim, known as EI, is protected by a publication ban. Macgowan said EI survived but was left “both physically and psychologically traumatized.”

About a dozen people sat in the courtroom, and one young woman walked out before the video of the stabbing was played.

In order to establish that he was not criminally responsible for his actions, the onus will fall on Klein to prove he was either unable to appreciate his actions or that he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.

‘He was very matter of fact’

Macgowan began explaning the Crown’s evidence by laying out the sequence of events that took place in the hours and days before the attack, starting with Klein’s appearance two days earlier at the Huntingdon Border crossing in Abbotsford.

A Canada Border Services Agency officer was among the first witnesses. Krysten Montague was on duty when U.S. border patrol officers brought Klein in for crossing the border illegally.

Abbotsford Senior Secondary became a crime scene in November of 2016 after Gabriel Klein stabbed two girls, killing one. He is arguing that he should be held not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Montague said he claimed to have been looking for work on a farm when he accidentally strayed across the line. He was clean cut and made eye contact but had no identity papers. 

She said he claimed to have come to Vancouver from Alberta to visit cousins. He was homeless.

“He was very matter of fact in answering the questions,” Montague said.

“He seemed well spoken, He didn’t seem nervous. He was not uncomfortable with the situation.”

Montague said Klein was allowed to leave after about 20 minutes. She said she offered to help him find a place in a local homeless shelter. She said she later saw him walking along the road in town.

Pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m.

According to the Crown, Klein was later admitted to the emergency room of an Abbotsford hospital where he was treated, released and directed to a homeless shelter where he spent the next two nights.

The day before the stabbings, video cameras caught Klein going in and out of the local library, which was directly connected to the high school at the time. He could be seen talking to a woman as she exited.

A makeshift memorials appeared at Abbotsford Senior Secondary in the days after Letisha Reimer died of stab wounds. The man who stabbed her is on trial in B.C. Supreme Court. (CBC)

Macgowan said police tracked Klein’s movements through a series of CCTV cameras on the last day of Letisha Reimer’s life.

He could be seen walking into a liquor store and slipping two bottles of rum into his camouflage backpack. And minutes later, a camera found him walking through the parking lot on his way to the sporting goods store, Cabela’s.

Holmes and the people in the public gallery watched security video from Cabela’s, which showed Klein calmly walking to the hunting section and picking up a Buck knife. He walked out of the store without paying, box in his hand.

The same knife was entered into evidence by the lead homicide investigator in the case. He held the box at an angle so the judge could see the weapon inside.

In all of the videos leading up to the attack, Klein appears calm, walks determinedly and occasionally interacts with store clerks.

Macgowan also introduced a video taken by police in the hours after the attack in the high school.

The rotunda where the stabbings took place was by then empty of students, papers strewn on the ground alongside Klein’s backpack. Yellow police tape hung from the handrails and a video screen still displayed a message to students.

Letisha Reimer was pronounced dead of blood loss at 3:05 p.m. Nov. 1 — hours before police filmed the aftermath of the attack that killed her.

She was stabbed 14 times. Macgowan said it was an admitted fact that Klein caused every one of her wounds.

29Aug

High school should prioritize accessibility, B.C. mom says | CBC News

by admin

Maya Bosdet says she’s excited for the beginning of classes next week because it means continuing a family tradition of attending high school at Claremont Secondary, in Saanich, B.C.

But a tour of the school this week has her concerned the building won’t be accessible enough to meet her needs as a wheelchair user.

A previous visit to the school revealed a lack of ramps and an unreliable elevator. Maya also says the door to the accessible bathroom is really heavy, while the lock and light are situated too high for her to reach.

Maya has a rare genetic disease called mucopolysaccharidosis, which causes sugar molecules cells to build up in her body. She has joint pain, a dislocated hip, and regularly sees specialists and undergoes surgery. 

Accessibility problems

Lisa Bosdet, Maya’s mother, said the pair took a tour of the school in June and were disappointed to learn that the “archaic” elevator regularly breaks down, the desks are too high, and there aren’t any wheelchair ramps.

Bosdet said the elevator is currently being repaired, but is still concerned it will be unsafe.

“We expressed lots at that tour about what we saw [were issues],” she said. “I don’t want [Maya] to have to ask a friend to take her to the bathroom at 14 years old.

“I feel like it’s a basic human right for her to be able to use the bathroom.”

On a second tour of the school this week, the pair said they found not much had been improved for the start of the school year.

Bosdet said Maya’s therapists expressed concerns to the school staff about the lack of accessibility, but the response was that it would cost too much money.

CBC was not granted access to the school, and requests for interviews with school staff were declined. 

Maya Bosdet says Claremont secondary is the school her father went to, and the closest to her home. Her mother is adamant that accessibility issues at the school won’t stop her from attending classes there. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

A B.C. government document says the school was built in 1961.

Justina Loh, the executive director of the Disability Alliance B.C., says that was long before buildings were designed with accessible features. 

“In the last few years accessibility has become more of a buzzword and more important … especially as our population ages,” Loh said.

‘Most of my friends are going to this school’

Maya said she doesn’t want to attend another high school because Claremont is close to her home. 

“My dad went here,” she said. “Most of my friends are going to this school.”

She added that her friend, who also uses a wheelchair, attends the school with a caregiver who helps him move around and use the restroom.

Maya said she wants to maintain her independence.

Dave Eberwein, the superintendent for the Saanich School District, said while retrofitting an older building isn’t easy, “that doesn’t mean we don’t make them accessible. All of our schools are accessible.”

“Our goal is to, within reasonable amounts, accommodate all … students’ needs in each building,” he said, adding that things such as a light switch that’s too high, or a door that is too heavy, can be fixed relatively quickly.

He noted, however, that “sometimes it’s just not physically possible to install every accessibility [measure] in every building [because it’s] just not going to fall within our budget.”

‘We need to progress’

Bosdet said it seems accessibility issues often don’t take priority in a school’s budget, and the change needs to come from the higher ranks in the school district. 

“It’s almost 2020, and I really believe we need to step up now … We need to progress,” she said. 

She’s adamant that Maya will not attend another school.

“I resist changing a school because … the path I’d rather take is speak up and get them to make these changes so [my daughter] can have a choice.

“We’ll find a way to make it work.”

30Jan

B.C. moves to stem high rate of overdose deaths by recent inmates

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People stand over 2,224 wooden stakes — representing the number of confirmed overdose deaths in B.C. over the last three years, many of them painted with names of overdose victims — at Oppenheimer Park in downtown Vancouver last September. Canada’s opioid overdose crisis is primarily about illegal street drugs and not legal prescriptions, says commentator Susan Martinuk.


Wooden stakes at Oppenheimer Park in downtown Vancouver in 2018 represent the number of confirmed overdose deaths in B.C.


DARRYL DYCK / CANADIAN PRESS files

British Columbia is launching a project aimed at reducing the number of overdose deaths by inmates recently released from correctional facilities.

A coroner’s death review panel last year found about two-thirds B.C. residents who died of an illegal drug overdose over a 19-month period had recent contact with the criminal justice system.

The panel said that between January 2016 and the end of July 2017, 333 people died within their first month of release from a correctional facility.

The Health Ministry says in a news release that five new community transition teams have been set up in Surrey, Prince George, Kamloops, Nanaimo, and Port Coquitlam to help people with opioid use disorders get treatment.

The teams consist of a social worker and a peer who has used drugs and may also been incarcerated to work with a person who’s been released to help provide needed support.

Lynne Pelletier, with B.C. Mental Health and Substance Use Services, says people in the justice system are some of society’s most vulnerable, yet they are the hardest to reach in the current overdose emergency.

“Integrating correctional care with community-based care gives us an opportunity not just to prevent overdose, but also connect to health services and possibly change the trajectory of their lives by addressing some of the social and economic realities that brought them to us in the first place.”

Dr. Nader Sharifi, medical director for Correctional Health Services, says about 40 per cent of people in corrections facilities are getting treatment for opioid use disorder.

He says people are at a heightened risk when they leave a facility and don’t have access to a physician.

“There are barriers to continuing the treatment they start with us. Clients are facing stigma. They might have no income and no fixed address. It’s not as easy as visiting the nearest doctor’s office,” he says in a news release.

The community transition teams began connecting with their first clients this month. The Provincial Health Services Authority says it hopes to scale up the project next year based on results of the service.

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5Dec

South Surrey high schools crack down on lunch delivery apps

by admin

Packed bag lunches might sometimes fail to inspire, but at least the high school principal won’t complain about them.

The same can’t be said for the food delivery apps that are growing in popularity at some South Surrey high schools.

In recent weeks, the administration at Semiahmoo and Elgin Park secondary schools have had to impose restrictions on apps like Skip the Dishes, as deliveries from local restaurants became more disruptive.

“The day we started noticing it, I think we had five deliveries within about an hour — and it was all outside of lunch,” said Semiahmoo principal James Johnston. “So we started really watching for it more and more.” 

Johnston said students were asking their teachers if they could leave class to use the washroom or get something out of their lockers, but in fact they were picking up food delivery.

“Some of our teachers would notice it was taking maybe 10 minutes for them to come back, and some of the students would even come back with their food,” he said.

That’s when it became a problem.

Dozens of students getting daily lunch deliveries

At Semiahmoo Secondary, there’s a large group of students who take part in daily lunch deliveries organized on Chinese language app WeChat.

But Johnston said that hasn’t been a disruption — the deliveries are well-organized and students, often in the dozens, meet the driver just off school grounds during the lunch break.

At nearby Elgin Park Secondary school, the same service only recently came to principal Jeff Johnstone’s attention. He noticed a huge group of students in the parking lot, and rushed out, assuming students were involved in a fight.

But when he got close, Johnstone realized a delivery driver was distributing dozens of lunches and taking payment.

According to Elgin’s principal, between 50 and 80 students get lunch delivered each day. He spoke with the delivery service and they agreed to do their business just off school grounds. 

Johnstone complains about the garbage and food waste he notices with the delivery, but he said it’s not a huge concern. He said fewer problems have arisen with apps like Skip the Dishes, but he worries his students aren’t adequately tipping drivers.

Ban draws variety of views from students

Back at Semiahmoo Secondary, students have mixed reactions to a recent ban on Skip the Dishes deliveries.

“A couple weeks ago they put an announcement and it was super serious,” said Ben Rodericks, a Grade 12 student. “And it ends up that the guy on the speaker goes, ‘No more ordering Skip the Dishes. This is a huge problem at our school right now.”

Rodericks said the students used to order the food to one of the side doors and try to sneak it in, but school officials “caught on really fast to that.” 

Ratik Kaushal, a friend of Rodericks, said all the students are trying to do is eat. 

“I just think it’s outrageous that they’re trying to regulate such things,” Kaushal said.

Grade 11 student Pill Kiang admitted the disruption had gotten bad before the ban. 

“The problem with Skip the Dishes is they don’t get the location that specific,” Kiang said. “It’s hard to communicate with no phone calls.”

Kiang regularly takes part in the organized group order through WeChat, but hasn’t relied on Skip the Dishes. He said he noticed dozens of orders arriving at the school each week.

CBC News requested an interview with Skip the Dishes, but the company declined, replying with a brief emailed statement instead. 

“We aren’t aware of any specific issues with deliveries to high schools,” the statement read. “However, we believe that schools and principals can be empowered to set the rules related to food deliveries as they deem appropriate.”


Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker




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