A man charged in a random shooting in the Chilliwack River Valley who was repeatedly been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial has been found fit by a BC Supreme Court judge.
At last assessment in September 2020, Justice Martha Devlin deemed that while Peter Anthony Kampos was still having delusions regarding the justice system, he was getting better at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.
And at a hearing in BC Supreme Court in New Westminster on Thursday (March 11, 2021), Justice Devlin decided, based on the input from psychiatrists, that Kampos can now stand trial.
Kampos is charged with shooting Cameron Rose while Rose sat in his car in the Chilliwack River Valley on March 25, 2017. Rose was hit in the shoulder, and managed to escape the scene, driving down the road only to find military personnel on an exercise who helped him.
Kampos is charged with attempt murder with a firearm; discharging a firearm with intent to wound/disfigure; and intentionally discharging a firearm into or at a place, knowing that or being reckless as to whether another person is present in the place.
His trial began in Oct. 9, 2018 and the Crown wrapped up its case on Oct. 18. Defence was expected to begin soon after that, but Kampos’s lawyer Mark Swartz told the court he had mental health concerns about his client.
Swartz said he’s been told Kampos is waking up “almost forgetting his first name” and Kampos referred to the witness box as “the penalty box.”
“He also indicated his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs,” Swartz told the court.
Kampos’s mental health was in question for some time having been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in Kamloops years before.
Crown counsel John Lester said after the fitness hearing in BC Supreme Court in New Westminster on March 15, 2019 that the treating psychiatrist determined Kampos was fit for trial, but the psychiatrist retained by Crown said he was not.
Since then, Kampos has been reassessed from time to time. The second most recent assessment in late September found that Kampos was improving, getting closer to mental fitness enough to stand trial.
The process for determining fitness under section 2 of the criminal code outlines three tests, that: the accused understands the nature of object of the proceedings; that he or she understands the possible consequences of the proceedings; or, they are able to communicate with counsel.
It is on this latter test where Kampos was still delusional, the judge found in September.
While Kampos still has some delusions regarding evidence being hidden from him, Devlin determined on March 11 that he met this latter test at this time and he is scheduled now for a pre-trial conference on April 1.
Between now and then, however, it’s possible the Crown and defence will negotiate a resolution to the case with some sort of guilty plea, possibly an application by defence that Kampos be deemed not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder.
He has already spent considerable time in custody, if most of it not in pretrial jail but at the forensic hospital in Coquitlam.
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