The man charged with killing White Rock resident Bruce Ridout in an August 2014 altercation appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Thursday and asked to be found not criminally responsible for Ridout’s death.
The proceedings involving Jeffrey Caillé were described by court documents as an “NCRMD” application – not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.
About a dozen people attended the hearing Thursday morning – conducted in French at the accused’s request – most there for the victim.
Caillé, dressed in a grey shirt, stood and entered his not-guilty pleas to each charge, responding: “Non-coupable.”
Caillé – 22 years old at the time of his arrest – was charged with second-degree murder, one count of assault causing bodily harm and two counts of assault in connection to a heated altercation Aug. 10, 2014 that started near Ridout’s home in the 900-block of Ash Street.
Outside court, during a break Thursday morning, defence counsel Jonathan Desbarats told PAN: “The facts here are not disputed. The only issue at the end of the day is what the verdict is. Both parties are in agreement. It’s NCRMD.”
Desbarats said psychiatric reports were expected to be presented that afternoon.
“It’s an awful case,” he said.
Witnesses had reported seeing a man attacking a woman on the street outside the residence – smashing her head on the pavement – before a young woman with her dog yelled at the man and attempted to intervene. The passerby was threatened and allegedly had a knife thrown at her.
The attacker went inside the house where Ridout resided and was throwing knives and other objects off the balcony, a police news release stated.
Witnesses had told PAN that when another neighbour went inside to try to intervene, he discovered Ridout’s body and ran out of the house asking for assistance from someone who knew CPR.
While police did not release details regarding the cause of death, witnesses said Ridout was stabbed while coming to a woman’s defence. Two women were injured in the altercation that day.
The 61-year-old’s actions were described by some as heroic.
Mary Archibald, 24, was one of two women assaulted that day. She attended court Thursday and was scheduled to give a victim-impact statement.
Archibald told PAN outside court that she was Caillé’s girlfriend at the time of the attack.
She said she and Caillé did ecstacy about a week before the attack and he changed.
“Just one week, all of a sudden, he just wasn’t the same,” she said. “For me, I know that wasn’t him.”
Archibald said she “absolutely” agrees that a finding of not-criminally-responsible is appropriate.
“I miss Bruce with every part of me, but I don’t blame Jeffrey,” she said.
Caillé attended the hearing with his parents.
Outside court, after Thursday’s lunch break, his father told PAN in French that it would be better to go through defence counsel for any comment.
Six months after the incident, in February 2015, Caillé was released on a $100,000, no-deposit bail, with conditions that he live with his mother or father in Quebec. Prior to his release, he was being held at Port Coquitlam’s Colony Farms.
That same spring, following a French-language preliminary inquiry in Surrey Provincial Court, he was ordered to stand trial.
This week’s proceedings were presided over by Justice Patrice Abrioux.
If determined NCRMD, Caillé will be neither acquitted nor found guilty of the crime, and the case could be diverted to a review board.
According to Statistics Canada, NCRMD cases represent a small proportion of adult criminal court cases – fewer than one per cent of adult criminal cases processed each year.
Crown counsel Dan Loucks began presenting an agreed statement of facts Thursday. The hearing is scheduled for two days.