A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled a homeless man can’t be held criminally responsible for a fatal stabbing two years ago because he was suffering from a mental disorder.
David Van Den Brink was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Wells Gallagher, who was killed in Langley on June 1, 2015.
Justice Austin Cullen says in a written decision released Monday that the “disturbing and tragic event” involved Gallagher being attacked without any apparent provocation or reason.
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The decision says the two men were homeless and knew each other, and a psychiatrist found Van Den Brink believed God was telling him to kill Gallagher and drink his blood in order to gain powers.
An agreed statement of facts in the case says Gallagher died of knife injuries to his scalp and neck, including a 24-centimetre gaping wound on his neck.
It says Van Den Brink had blood on his hands, nose, lips and around his mouth when he was arrested near the crime scene.
Cullen’s decision says four psychiatrists have assessed Van Den Brink since the death and all have concluded he suffers from schizophrenia.
“None of what the accused did with respect to the victim was rooted in reason,” the ruling says.
“It had all the (signs) of being based on a serious break from reality compromised of a bizarre belief system which precludes a finding that the accused was capable of separating moral right from moral wrong through any rational evaluation.”
Cullen has ruled Van Den Brink is not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder and he will be held at a psychiatric hospital until the B.C. Review Board hears his case.
– The Canadian Press
• See related story from July 2015: UPDATED: Charges in Langley City stabbing