NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A judge who found a man guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in an attack on two B.C. high school students says there is no evidence that Gabriel Klein’s mental health affected his ability to foresee the consequences of his actions.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court said Klein had no reason to harm the two girls at Abbotsford Secondary School on Nov. 1, 2016, and that his conduct was “incomprehensible.”
“His mental state at the time of the attack can have extremely little weight,” she said in delivering her verdict on Friday.
Defence lawyer Martin Peters had argued in December that Klein, who was 21 at the time of the attack, did not have the intent to kill 13-year-old Letisha Reimer when he walked into the school’s rotunda.
He urged Holmes to find his client guilty of manslaughter.
Peters argued there was reasonable doubt related to the murder charge because his client exhibited odd behaviour and mental distress beforehand, suggesting he did not intentionally plan to kill anyone.
He said in his closing arguments the Crown proved its case in the assault against the girl whose name is under a publication ban, and Klein should be found guilty on that charge.
Reimer died after being stabbed 14 times and her friend, who was also stabbed, suffered serious injuries.
Surveillance videos played by the trial dui lawyer showed Klein stealing alcohol from a liquor store and a hunting knife from a sporting goods store hours before the attack. Peters said his client committed the thefts because he wanted to get drunk and use the weapon to stab a police officer in hopes of triggering a suicide-by-cop scenario.
Holmes said Klein “adroitly stole bottles of rum from the liquor stole” and the knife, asking store clerks where the items were located and going directly to them. When he walked into the rotunda, he had the knife out of the packaging and under his clothing, the judge said.
She said Klein quickly moved to attack Reimer after her friend escaped.
There is “abundant” evidence showing Klein acted with “purpose and foresight” in the lead up to the attack, Holmes said.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia at a forensic psychiatric hospital in June 2017 and has been receiving treatment but was deemed mentally fit to stand trial.
Klein’s diagnosis of schizophrenia is “unchallenged,” said Holmes.
Sentencing has been scheduled for two days, starting June 1, when victim impact statements will be heard by the court. The sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with the earliest chance of parole set at 10 years.
Crown attorney Rob Macgowan said in his closing argument that Klein faked symptoms of a mental disorder after his arrest in order to be found not criminally responsible of the crimes and even told a psychiatrist who assessed him at a hospital that his lawyer would use that as a defence.
Holmes said there was no evidence that the strange behaviour and sounds exhibited by Klein in the hours before the attack indicated a mental condition, but that doesn’t mean they were “deliberately feigned.”
Dave Teixeira, a spokesman for Reimer’s family lawyer, said the family was relieved by the verdict.
“This is just one more step in the journey,” he said outside court.
He read a statement from Ellie Reimer about the loss of her daughter, which said: “The people who are serving the sentence are those of us who no longer have Letisha in our lives.”
Peters said his client will “have a life sentence, no matter what,” but Holmes will look at a Gladue report to address the number of years Klein has to serve before he is eligible for parole. The report reviews the circumstances of Klein’s upbringing and Metis heritage, Peters said.
Klein was born in Winnipeg and had a “troubled upbringing” with his parents separating when he was a young teenager, he said, adding that his client moved to Alberta and grew up in Red Deer and Edmonton.
Klein will be sent to the regional assessment centre when he is sentenced and his mental health will be evaluated, Peters said.
“I’m hoping that he obtains a disposition which keeps him in a psychiatric facility,” he said.
“He is schizophrenic. A mental health facility will be a far better setting for him.”
He said Klein is remorseful.
“It’s an extraordinary thing to kill someone and to have to live with that,” Peters said.
“And he does live with it every day.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2020.
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Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet has issued a public “ultimatum” for federal Liberals that he says could mean another election this October.
Blanchet told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday that, in addition to its earlier calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign for their roles in the WE Charity controversy, his party also wants Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, to step down.
If the demands are not met, Blanchet said, he will move a motion of non-confidence in the minority Parliament this fall.
“We should remove three persons from office, instead of two, because things are getting worse,” he said.
Watch: Trudeau says he expected perception issues with WE deal, but not conflict of interest
Blanchet reiterated that he feels Trudeau and Morneau “disqualified” themselves from their current roles because of the WE Charity controversy. Both men are facing ethics investigations for not recusing themselves, despite their family ties to WE Charity, from the government’s decision to award the group a since-scrapped deal to manage a $912-million student-grant program. The ethics commissioner is also probing Morneau’s repayment to the WE organization of $41,366 to cover travel expenses for family trips to Kenya and Ecuador in 2017.
Blanchet has upped the ante to include Telford in light of new questions about the management of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance emergency program, introduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide rent relief for small businesses. Though Ottawa tapped the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) to run the program, the Crown corporation outsourced the work to mortgage lender MCAP, where Telford’s husband, Rob Silver, is a senior executive. The contract is worth $84 million.
Trudeau’s office said CMHC independently chose to go to MCAP. A spokesperson for CMHC told The Canadian Press this week that it “did not have the internal capacity to stand up the program in short order.″
The Prime Minister’s Office also released letters showing Telford told the ethics watchdog about her husband’s job in January. She also set up an ethics screen guaranteeing she wouldn’t be involved in decisions that could benefit MCAP, even though she was advised by the commissioner that was not necessary.
Conservatives have called for the lobbying commissioner and House of Commons finance committee to investigate the deal, something they allege is another example of cronyism.
Blanchet said that it’s clear this government “might not be worthy of our trust anymore.” He said he has not had formal conversations with other opposition leaders to suss out their positions. With 156 seats in the House, Liberals would only need the support of the 24 NDP MPs to survive a vote of non-confidence.
Though Tory MPs have also called on Trudeau and Morneau to resign, they have stopped short of committing to taking down the government over the matter.
“My fear is that (Conservatives) might not want to go into an election, however severe their comments or their points against the government are,” he said.
Conservatives will pick a new leader later this month. Presumed front-runners Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole both pledged in early March to try to force an election as soon as possible, but backed off those plans in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
Blanchet suggested he wasn’t concerned about optics and safety issues involved in potentially forcing a vote during the pandemic.
“Which is more dangerous? A mismanagement of a crisis or taking the time to change the people who are managing the crisis?” he said. “And I’m not the one to impose an answer to that. But it is the job of the Parliament to do so.”
“I haven’t heard a lot of Canadians demanding an election right now but obviously, in a minority Parliament, Parliament gets to decide when it no longer has confidence in the government,” he said at the time. “Certainly the focus we have, moving forward, is trying to respond to help Canadians as best we can in the immediate.”
On Tuesday, the prime minister released a statement expressing “full confidence” in Morneau after a report from The Globe and Mail quoted unnamed sources as saying Trudeau was clashing with his finance minister over the country’s economic recovery.
With files from The Canadian Press
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s president swore into office a new Cabinet on Wednesday that includes two of his elder brothers and a nephew, after a landslide election victory last week.
The 26 Cabinet members include Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who also holds the finance, urban development and Buddhist affairs ministries. Eldest brother Chamal Rajapaksa is irrigation minister, and Namal Rajapaksa is the youth and sports minister in his maiden Cabinet portfolio.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also appointed his lawyer as justice minister. Ali Sabry appeared for Gotabaya when he faced court cases related to corruption as a top defence bureaucrat under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency.
A landslide election victory last week gave the Rajapaksas’ political party nearly the two-third majority of seats required to make constitutional changes that could strengthen dynastic rule in the country. However, analysts say any changes that unsettle the balance of power between the Rajapaksas’ respective offices could trigger sibling rivalry.
Five members of the Rajapaksa family are lawmakers— Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal, the eldest brother Chamal and his son Sashindra, and a nephew, Nipuna Ranawaka. Mahinda Rajapaksa has been promoting Namal as his heir.
Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Associated Press
@repost Child Law Lawyers
HONG KONG — Pamela Lam’s 6-year-old son fell in love with the Hong Kong protest anthem, ‘Glory to Hong Kong’, the first time he heard it, and he loves singing it, at home, in the shower, and sometimes on the streets.
Thanks to a sweeping new national security law, though, singing it in public is now risky. As China’s communist leaders tighten controls that many believe are stripping semi-autonomous Hong Kong of its freedoms, some families are considering moving away from the former British colony, but few can afford to.
After Britain announced in May that it would allow holders of British National (Overseas) passports extended stays and a path to citizenship, thousands of Hong Kongers rushed to renew or apply for them.
That may be an option for relatively affluent Hong Kongers, who often have been educated overseas and hold multiple passports, but not for most of its 7 million residents.
One in five Hong Kong families scrapes by below the poverty line in a city with one of the biggest populations of billionaires, many of whom are tycoons who carved out lucrative niches in manufacturing, trade, property development and finance.
“I’ve thought about moving to Australia, or the U.K., but we don’t have the financial ability to do it now,” said Lam, who has a BNO passport.
“We don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or the clothes on our backs, but there isn’t much room for more,” said Lam, a freelance designer whose family’s monthly income is about $4,300.
Most people in most countries either cannot or would not consider moving away to escape their governments. But many living in Hong Kong chose to escape the communist mainland or are descended from people who did.
Lam’s parents fled from China in the 1970s, seeking a better life free from political chaos and poverty. She joined peaceful mass protests last year and is among many younger Hong Kong residents who grew up counting on the enclave’s freedoms and hoping for greater, not less democracy.
Beijing promised Hong Kong 50 years of a “one-country, two-systems” arrangement granting the city its own customs territory and legal system after the 1997 handover. They are underpinned by western-style civil liberties, such as the right to public dissent, that are rarely allowed on the Chinese mainland.
Even moving to nearby Taiwan, a self-governed island democracy that China claims as its own territory, would be a stretch financially, Lam says.
In early July, Taiwan opened an office to help Hong Kongers interested in studying, working or starting a business to move to the island. The office said it had received over 1,000 inquiries as of July 27, mostly related to emigration.
For many families, it’s a “very tough life” in Hong Kong, especially if they have mortgages to pay off, said Paul Yip, a professor at the University of Hong Kong’s department of social work. He puts the number of Hong Kongers enjoying a Western-style middle class life and likely able to afford emigration at about 10% of the population.
It’s unclear how many in Hong Kong might be considering moving.
Hong Kong police say the number of people requesting a certificate of no convictions — often required to apply for visas — jumped 53% between 2014, the year an earlier round of protests called the Umbrella Revolution took place, and 2019.
As of December 2019, the number of people holding valid BNO passports was 314,779, according to the U.K., more than double four years earlier. Those who qualify can apply for visas enabling them and their immediate family members to live and work in the U.K. and eventually apply for citizenship, the British government says. However, they must show they have the means to support themselves in the U.K. for six months, and will not be entitled to public support.
As a freewheeling capitalist enclave, Hong Kong’s population includes nearly 732,000 expatriates in the territory.
Globetrotting bankers and other executives tend to arrive with a promise of tickets onward or back home already paid for. The more than 400,000 migrant workers who work in the city and send money home to families in the Philippines and Indonesia also usually have contracts providing them passage home.
But saving up enough to pack up and build a new life elsewhere may be nearly impossible for most living in a city where buying an apartment costs an average of nearly $32,000 per square meter and the median monthly wage is 18,200 Hong Kong dollars ($2,348).
It would cost between 10,000-15,000 pounds ($13,000-$19,000) for a family of three to relocate to Britain, including visas, flights, ground transport and deposits to rent an apartment, said Evgeny Pavlov, managing director for Mann’s Solutions, an immigration law firm based in Britain.
That’s excluding costs to move household goods.
Relocation inquiries to Pavlov’s firm have grown by five to six times in the past two months. Most were from young professionals, entrepreneurs or investors, he said.
The increase coincided with the enactment of the security law, imposed by Beijing after the mass protests that began last year, triggered by proposed extradition legislation that could have resulted in Hong Kong people facing trial in mainland Chinese courts.
The bill eventually was withdrawn after demonstrations escalated with demands for more democracy and government accountability, sometimes turning violent.
May Cheung, a divorcee in her 50s with two grown children, also dreams of moving away, to Taiwan. But since she earns just over 10,000 Hong Kong dollars ($1,280) a month working at a church, barely enough to get by, she is resigned to staying, but not to giving up on rights she cherishes.
She joined thousand of others in July 1 protests against the national security law and says she intends to keep demonstrating.
“What I know about this national security law is that it makes a totalitarian government even more totalitarian,” she said. “There is no freedom, you can see for yourself –- even speech is restricted.”
The government says the security law targets only a small number of people who engage in secessionist and subversive behaviour. But it has arrested scores of people. It also criminalized the popular protest slogan ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time’ -– a phrase included in the protest anthem. The education bureau has banned the song.
Lam worries that pro-democracy speech, and even her son’s singing of the song he likes so much he learned to say it in sign language, might be considered subversive and punished. She says she plans to educate her son about the issues they face.
“I believe that thought is free,” Lam said. “He may just be a child, but he has a sense of right from wrong.”
“We can’t be the first to cut ourselves off, or self-censor.”
Zen Soo, The Associated Press
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Popular Toronto nail bar says it was victim of racist tirade after woman refused to pay for manicure
A popular Toronto nail salon that just recently reopened following the COVID-19 lockdown says its employees became the target of a racist tirade after a customer refused to pay for her manicure.
Mike Duong owns Organic Nail Bar Blue Jays, located on Queen Street West near Spadina Avenue, and says he and his team had been working hard to open their doors safely after months of closure.
“We put a lot of effort into it,” Duong told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. “We were suffering during the pandemic. We were closed for four months. So paying employees, the rent, other financial responsibilities, there is a lot of pressure.”
On Sunday, a customer was in the middle of a premium, $80 manicure when the problems started, Duong said.
Video posted to Instagram shows a portion of the interaction between the customer, who CTV News Toronto has decided not to identify, and Duong’s staff. In the video, the customer can be heard complaining to the staff about the quality of the service during the manicure.
Vicky Luu, the store’s manager, alleges that the customer began asking for discounts and yelling at the staff. More than an hour into the manicure, Luu said the customer then left the store without paying for the service.
On her way out, Duong said the customer began hurling racist remarks at his staff and then yelled “Why do they let Asian people in our country?”
The business says the customer even posted a negative Google review of the business following the incident, which they say the customer later deleted.
Duong, who immigrated to Canada in 1991 from Vietnam and built up his nail bar business “from scratch,” said the comments are especially hurtful.
“It’s sad and upsetting,” he said. “We are trying to provide a service that society wants and needs. So mentally, emotionally, this incident has left us feeling very damaged.”
Duong said he is in the process of collecting evidence and plans to contact the police to press charges. The business says they have retained legal counsel and will be filing a lawsuit against the customer.
Communications provided to CTV News Toronto from the nail bar appear to show the customer explaining to the business that she was “pissed off” and responded to a potential lawsuit by saying “I don’t have a lawyer, I’m a millennial.”
“What are you going to sue me for, I have nothing, y’all are stupid,” the customer added.
@repost Marriage Separation
American man not allowed into Canada to visit dying mother because he isn’t considered immediate family
A group of about 5,000 strangers, divided by borders but united in their shared grief and frustration over rigid travel restrictions, are calling for changes that would allow loved ones to enter Canada while still adhering to safety measures put in place at the height of the pandemic.
But for Mary House Goldman, a 60-year-old Toronto resident, the regulatory changes may not come in time.
Goldman has been trying to help her 62-year-old brother cross the U.S.-Canada border so that he can say goodbye to their mother, who is currently in palliative care.
She told CTV News Toronto that last weekend, her 85-year-old mother had difficulty swallowing and was brought to the hospital. After a number of tests were conducted, it was determined that she has a “large mass” on the left side of her brain.
The family was told she had months, maybe weeks to live.
“Now it’s even more urgent that my brother comes here now,” Goldman said. “He would very much like to see my mom before she passes.”
Goldman said that her brother is an American citizen and has been living in relative self-isolation for months after undergoing a spinal cord surgery in February. She has been trying to contact officials at the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) as well as her local MP in order to get a travel exemption.
“It’s been tough for him, emotionally and psychologically, because he’s had to heal from a traumatic surgery without his family around him,” Goldman said. “Then he’s had to deal with the idea that my mom might pass and he may not get to see her before she passes. And he may not be able to grieve with us either.”
Under the current exemptions, which were put in place by the federal government in June, immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents can enter Canada. Those eligible under the exemption include spouses, common-law partners, dependent children and their children, parents, as well as legal guardians or “tutors.”
Committed partners who may not apply for common-law status, as well as adult children and siblings, are not included under the exemption.
Goldman is one of thousands who are asking the federal government to change those rules. She is part of “Advocacy for Family Reunification at the Canadian Border,” a group that has released a policy proposal and family reunification quarantine plan they hope will convince officials to make slight tweaks to the rules so that family members are able to see each other.
‘We are not asking for open borders’
“Advocacy for Family Reunification at the Canadian Border” was co-founded by 34-year-old Dr. David Edward-Ooi Poon after his partner arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport only to be sent back home to Dublin, Ireland.
Poon was living in Dublin when the pandemic was declared. The couple had contacted numerous embassies in order to ensure they would be considered as common-law partners and had the right documentation to travel. Poon said they were told there shouldn’t be any problems and that they would be exempt from the travel restrictions put in place.
In March, Poon travelled back to Canada with the expectation that his partner, Alexandria Aquino, who is a nurse, would follow in April.
That was the last time Poon saw her.
Aquino managed to get to Toronto Pearson Airport with her documentation–including a negative COVID-19 test, proof the couple had lived together and a specialized document saying she was exempt from the travel restrictions–but when she arrived, a border agent said that she didn’t meet their criteria for a common-law relationship.
She was told to get back on a plane that same day.
“That broke my heart,” Poon said on the phone, his voice shaking as he added that there are people so much worse off.
“She and I are lucky. I don’t, knock on wood, I don’t have cancer. She’s not a breastfeeding mother. But so many people are. And that’s why she and I co-founded ‘Advocacy for Family Reunification at the Canadian Border,’ because this is wrong.”
He mentioned the case of Sarah Campbell, who lives in Stratford, Ont. and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Her fiancé is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Poon said he has been denied an exemption to go see her.
Campbell, who as a Canadian citizen, could travel to the U.K. under federal rules but is stuck in Canada while she undergoes treatment. She had surgery last week.
Poon made it clear that the advocacy group does not want to open up borders to non-essential or “discretionary” travel. They just want to change the exemptions, with added public health measures in place, to ensure safe reunification of families.
“Our motto is: ‘We are not asking for open borders, we are just asking to come together,’” Poon said.
The group’s policy proposal, entitled “Love is not Tourism,” hinges on four specific changes that would allow foreign nationals to reunite with their families in a way that is both safe and accessible. Following the expansion of the definition of immediate family member, they propose the following:
- The Canadian family member must sign a legally-binding affidavit attesting to the familial relationship and taking legal and financial responsibility for the actions of the foreign national coming into the country. The group argues that this can be enforced by fines and/or incarceration if necessary,
- Foreign nationals must provide proof of health coverage or travel insurance to cross the border or the Canadian party will have to agree to be financially responsible for any health-related costs, such as taking a COVID-19 tests, they may incur.
- If feasible, the foreign national would take a COVID-19 test and if it comes up positive, they shall voluntarily and without question withdraw their application to enter Canada.
- The Order in Council mandating that foreign nationals need to come to Canada for a minimum of 15 days to allow for 14 days of self-isolation should be changed to allow for shorter visits, as long as the visitor remains in self-isolation for the entirety of their trip. However, the Canadian family member in contact with the foreign national would continue to quarantine for the full 14 days as a precaution.
The policy proposal argues that the current exemptions are discriminatory based on marital status and that the mandated 14-day quarantine period may not be feasible for many due to their economic situations or familial responsibilities.
Poon said he has heard very little from the federal government about his proposal, despite the fact that they have an official petition signed by 5,338 Canadian citizens or permanent residents expected to be presented to the House of Commons this week.
Is the plan safe?
The policy proposal was created in consultation with Toronto epidemiologist and assistant professor at University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information Colin Furness.
Furness said the proposal put forward by Poon “is very sound,” adding that there is always going to be an element of risk when crossing a border amid the pandemic.
“I think it’s a big blind spot,” he said of the government’s limited family exemptions. “I don’t think anyone made a conscious decision that non-common law spouses … can’t reunite, I really think they fell through the cracks.”
“I’m not going to say travel is safe,” he added. “But it’s not for me to say that family shouldn’t be reunited.”
The idea of having the Canadian family member sign a legally-binding document attesting to their relationship and taking responsibility that the visitor will follow quarantine rules is a game changer, Furness argued, and should encourage legitimate travel. He also added that the changes to the quarantine rules—allowing a foreign national to leave the country earlier than 15 days while the Canadian family remains in self-isolation—doesn’t seem like “a dilution” of the current policy and “maintains the spirit of what the 14 days is supposed to do.”
The ban on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States was first introduced in March and has been continuously extended every month. The previous extension expires on Aug. 21.
Furness said that because the Canadian government is deciding to keep borders closed on a month-to-month basis, they may not be looking at the long-term ramifications of keeping the border closed.
“If you’re thinking that way, you don’t need to make provisions for separated families because it’s only going to be a month or more,” he said. “ But the reality, the unspoken reality, is that this is going to be a year or more. And when you have that kind of timeline, you need to start thinking about hardship, hardship from separation.”
Decisions made ‘at the discretion of the border services officer’
According to a CBSA spokesperson, the final decision of whether or not someone’s reason for crossing the border is “non-discretionary” or whether a relationship is considered common-law, is “made by a border services officer at the port of entry with the information presented upon time of entry to Canada.
“We recognize that these are difficult situations for some, however these are unprecedented times, and the measures imposed were done so in light of potential public health risks and to help reduce and manage the number of foreign travel-related cases of COVID-19,” Rebecca Purdy said.
Examples of non-discretionary travel provided by Purdy include economic services and supply chains, critical infrastructure and health supports, safety and security, the safety of an individual or family, and “other activities at the discretion of the border services officer.”
For those claiming they are in a common-law relationship, the onus is on the traveller to provide proof such as a joint lease, shared utility bills or other official documents with the same place of residence listed.
“There’s no consistent method of screening,” Poon said.
The inconsistency and lack of clarity in terms of the family exemptions is why Goldman’s brother hasn’t simply shown up at the border in an attempt to come into Canada—although it’s not something they are ruling out.
“Basically, they say, ‘well it’s up to the border agent,’” Goldman said. “If you get a compassionate one, you get through. If you get a, you know, a hard-ass one, you’re not.”
“We’re about to put together the whole package for him because he has to come to the border with all the documentation proving his family.”
Poon said that not everyone can afford to try their hand at crossing the border, especially those who have to take a plane to get into the country.
“If flying in from anywhere else in the world you’re spending $1,000 to gamble at the border and that is completely inappropriate and is completely inequitable to those who do not have the financial resources.”
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